Please tell me that you have “that drawer” in your kitchen. You know, the one that you use constantly and is also a complete disaster. And every time you open it you think, “Ugh, I should really organize this drawer!”
In our kitchen, we actually have 2 of “that drawer” – the cooking utensils drawer and the silverware drawer.
We use these two drawers every single day in our home. And every time I open them I think “Ugh I really need to get these drawers organized!”
Before we moved into the house, I had plans to buy drawer organizers and create the perfectly organized system. Every time I saw drawer organizers in a store I was tempted to buy them, but I was always worried they wouldn’t fit perfectly.
Finally, I decided that the best idea was to make my own custom wooden drawer organizers.
I’ve seen some beautiful kitchen organization inspiration with perfectly fit drawer organizers and everything item in its place. Most of the time, these inspiration ideas are from custom kitchen designs with custom drawers. And, as you know, anything “custom” normally ends up being really expensive.
Well, for this project, forget what you know about “custom,” because these wooden drawer organizers were super budget friendly and the results were amazing! Let me show you how we did it.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
DIY Custom Wooden Drawer Organizers
- Unfinished Poplar boards (2.5” x 1/8”)
- You can find these at Lowe’s
- Loctite (Clear Dry)
- Measuring Tape
- Miter Saw
- or handsaw
- Square Tool
Before you start, first you need to figure out what items will go in your drawers.
For our cooking utensils drawer, we emptied everything out and organized the items by type. Using some trial and error, we selected one item of each “type” and placed it into the drawer to get an idea of where we wanted things to go. This helped us to visualize where the compartments should be in each drawer.
After figuring out where we wanted each “type” of item to go, we placed all of the items back into the drawer in their compartment location. Here’s the layout we came up with for our cooking utensils drawer.
The silverware drawer was grouped in an obvious way – by forks, spoons, and knives.
Next, you need to measure around the items in your drawer to figure out how big each compartment of your organizer will be.
We found that the best way to do this was to measure the largest item in that compartment and add in some additional space. We also took into account the thickness of our boards which was ¼”.
It’s helpful to grab a piece of paper and draw a sketch of your drawer organizer plan. Then, as you are measuring, you can jot down the measurements on your sketch.
After your sketch is complete and you have all the measurements, it’s time to cut out the pieces of the drawer organizer.
Before we started cutting, we first made our cut list. A cut list is basically what it sounds like – a list of all the sized pieces that you need to cut. When making a cut list, be sure write down the largest pieces first and then the small pieces after. That way when you are cutting, you don’t run out of wood.
Using our cut list and working one piece at a time, we marked the length needed using a pencil and the straight edge on the square tool.
Then we lined up the edge of the saw with the pencil line to make sure we were getting an exact cut.
After making each cut, we measured the piece to also make sure the length matched the length on our cut list. Then we repeated this process – measure, mark with pencil, cut, measure – for each piece on our cut list.
This is kind of a slow process, but it is worth it to make sure all of your pieces fit perfectly, just like custom drawer organizers would.
Once we had all of the pieces cut out, we brought everything into the kitchen and dry-fit them into the drawer.
We used a pencil to mark all of the places where a board intersected another board. That way we could assemble to pieces outside of the drawer and would know where to put the Loctite glue.
Here is the dry-fit layout of the silverware drawer.
We used our pencil markings and the sketch that we made earlier to glue the boards into place and create the compartments.
We let each piece dry for a few minutes so that it wouldn’t fall apart. Then we moved the compartments into the drawer and used the Loctite again to glue the compartments to the sides of each drawer.
Some of the pieces had to be glued individually once the main compartment structure was in place.
Every drawer layout will be different, so the best way to assemble the dividers is to place the largest component first and then build onto the structure from there.
Here’s the finished silverware drawer.
And here is the finished cooking utensil drawer.
Amazing! These turned out exactly how I imagined! Perfectly fit custom wooden drawer organizers.
Now there is a compartment for everything and each item has a designated place. We decided to keep the wood unfinished because it makes the dividers look like they came with the drawers, just like a custom design.
Just for fun, here’s a little before and after comparison of the cooking utensil drawer.
These custom drawer organizers are perfect for kitchen drawers, but can also be used in so many different places in your home. I’ve got so many ideas for where I could use them in the future. And, because you create the layout, the options are limitless.
Let me know in the comments if you try out this project!
Oh, and if you are looking for some kitchen utensils to fill up your custom drawer organizers, check out Amazon! They always have great deals on kitchen items. Here are some of my favorites:
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