Introduction: How to Make an Organizer Box for Storing Screws

Picture of How to Make an Organizer Box for Storing Screws

Organizing screws and nails (or anything else for that matter!) can be rather frustrating, and I really wanted to get rid of my old plastic cases that were rather impractical and cumbersome. So I decided to build a nice big box, full of cubbie holes, and then to build lots of small boxes to fit inside the large one. I used my box joint jig that I built for the table saw, however you could use any method to construct the boxes. Let's go over how I created this project!

Step 1: The Big Box

First of all, I needed to create a large box. I used 1 x 6 pine boards.

These are the sizes I used:

  • 2 @ 28 inches
  • 2 @ 19 1/2 inches

To connect the pieces together, I decided to use my box joint jig which I built for my cross cut jig for the table saw (video is out now!). If you don't have a box joint jig, you could any construction method you want (butt joints, pocket holes etc...)

I wanted 1/2 inch box joints so that's what I cut on the jig.

I also cut up a total of 5 shelves out of 3/8" pine at the length of 20 inches, because I included material for 1/4" dados.

I cut dados for five shelves on the 19 1/2 inch long side pieces on the table saw, taking multiple passes to get the 3/8" width, however you could certainly use use a router instead. I cut the dados at 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15 ".

Step 2: Big Box Glue Up

Picture of Big Box Glue Up

Once I had all my pieces, I glued everything up, inserting the shelves in the dados and clamping everything in place for drying.

Step 3: Little Boxes

Now, to fill up this big box, I'm going to make a ton of little boxes, and I'm using the bandsaw to resaw some material, and the miter saw to cut to size.

I'm making 36 boxes to fit the big box, so totally I need the following cuts:

  • 72 @ 5 x 1 1/2 x 3/8 "
  • 72 @ 3 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 3/8 "

I'm using the variable box joint jig again, however this time I'm going for 1/8 inch joints. What's really cool about the jig is that you can make the joints any size you want and you don't need a dado stack (video above!)

I cut six pieces at a time, making sure to stack three of them offset, and then it was simple a matter of cutting a ton of box joints on all the wood!

Step 4: Semi Circle Hole

Picture of Semi Circle Hole

I wanted a hole in the side of each box so you could grab it easily. So I set up a jig on the drill press with a 1 1/8" Forstner bit to create a semi circle in each piece. That worked out great and was a lot faster and easier than cuttng the hole on the bandsaw or something like that

Step 5: Gluing Little Boxes

Picture of Gluing Little Boxes

Once I had all the pieces cut up, the only thing left was gluing all of the 36 boxes together. I used small clamps to keep the boxes in place as the glue was drying. This was a lot of boxes, and I did it all in a couple of batches!

Step 6: Dividers

Picture of Dividers

I waited with cutting up the dividers until this point, because each one was slightly different so it was easier to measure and cut as I went along. The dividers measured 5 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 3/8 in general, however it's better to not cut up all 30 at once, but to measure and cut for one row at a time.

I decided to simply glue and clamp in the dividers for the box.

Step 7: Sanding & Bottoms

Picture of Sanding & Bottoms

Once all the boxes were glued, I sanded each one to get them nice and smooth.

Next, bottoms. So I used 1/8 of an inch plywood that I cut out, pre-drilled and nailed in with little finishing nails. I also chamfered the edges.

Step 8: Finishing the Boxes

Picture of Finishing the Boxes

When it came to finishing the large box and the tiny boxes, I used an HVLP sprayer and with polyurethane. I was so happy to use the sprayer because this would have taken me all night to do by hand, and now I did it in a few minutes.

Step 9: Installing

Picture of Installing

I decided to put this box on a French cleat wall, so I installed a 45 degree French cleat plywood board at the back and then I slipped it onto the wall. I made a whole other instructable about installing the French cleat wall and all the organizers, so check that out here: How To Build a French Cleat Organizer

Once the large box was in its place, it was time to fill up all the little boxes with screws and nails. I emptied my plastic cases and organized everything in the wooden boxes.

Step 10: Conclusion - Watch the Video!

For a much better perspective make sure to watch the video that goes over the build of the large box, the small boxes, as well installing a French cleat wall system to hang the box on!


el_duderino (author)2017-08-31

Very cool. A suggestion I might add it to put a french cleat on each "little" box so you could hang what you're using on the wall and get them off the work surface.

RomVil (author)2015-11-30

pretty cool i like that

dsh1001 (author)2015-08-27

Very good Instructable! You make it look easy. As a possible addition, I thought it might be nice to get some of that adhesive ruler material and stick it on the top of the track that your carriage is running on. That would give you a visual confirmation of how many inches/turns in case you lose count. The round cutouts on the fronts of the drawers look great but I also like the idea of using some clear polycarbonate so the contents can be seen. Maybe if the cutout were larger and the polycarbonate put on the inside of the drawer, To make a sort of window in the cutout) you would have a nice big cutout with clear polycarbonate in it to see the contents. I think that might look really nice. My Jenny and I have some projects posted on our site if you are interested.

slangerga (author)2015-08-21


Outstanding! One question, can you provide some more info on the box jig? I would like to make a variable size box jig also. Thanks, stuart

darbinorvar (author)slangerga2015-08-25

Hi Stuart, the video of the box joint jig is up now!

darbinorvar (author)slangerga2015-08-24

Thanks! I am just about finished with that video, should be out tomorrow. So make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel to get notified.

VinnyL1 (author)2015-08-20

Nice Design! I've been throwing ideas around for around the same size wooden storage box. I like the simplicity and partial inside viewing you get using a semi circle as a handle. However I always have to complicate things, so I'm thinking of 86'n the circle and adding a Plexiglas window to get a complete view of the contents. I have a few ideas of tacking on a simple handle; haven't picked one yet. As much as I wanted all wood drawers, for my current application a user friendly viewing window, should prove worth the extra effort.

darbinorvar (author)VinnyL12015-08-24

I was thinking about using a plexi-glass front too. Where do you get that usually?

VinnyL1 (author)darbinorvar2015-08-24

I would start with a google search to try see if you have a local source that just sells plexi & regular tempered glass. I believe home Depot,Lowes, and the Tractor Supply all carry it. What sort of variety and price they stock in your area IDK. The thickness and quality you should get is dependent on what you intend to store in your drawers. Off the top of my head I can't recall the various grades. However if you have heave nails or screws in a drawer with cheap plexi; it's going to get marked up pretty fast from slapping the front a few times upon opening.

cnc_teacher (author)2015-08-20

It's great to see a young lady doing a woodworking project. I've tried (unsuccessfully) to get my daughter interested in woodworking for a long time now.

darbinorvar (author)cnc_teacher2015-08-24

Thanks, my goal is really to get more girls interested in building!

dlindstrom (author)2015-08-20

Another method for cutting a half circle is to use a hole saw and a scrap piece clamped to the back of the piece you are cutting. This will serve as a guide holding the hole saw in place. I had to do this to enlarge some existing door knob holes.

darbinorvar (author)dlindstrom2015-08-24

Cool tip, thanks!

espdp2 (author)2015-08-20

Awesome build. With all my little rugrats to keep up with, I'd never have time to build this, but I still love it.

darbinorvar (author)espdp22015-08-24

Thanks! (author)2015-08-20

Great work, great results! It has the look of a quality piece of furniture.

Thanks Greg, I appreciate the comment!

leia99 (author)2015-08-20

hi darbinover,this is the first time i have watched one of your videos and i'm highly impressed,i loved the french cleats idea....thank you...

darbinorvar (author)leia992015-08-24

Thanks for watching!

privatier (author)2015-08-20

nice work, well documented. I suggest wearing hearing protection when cutting all those joints. Since the joints do not have to be very strong, I would use a biscuit jointer: much faster, and the tool is useful for many other projects.

darbinorvar (author)privatier2015-08-24

Thanks, I do use small ear plugs when I cut, you just can't see them in the video.

darbinorvar (author)2015-08-24


Bill WW (author)2015-08-21

Very nice and well done, Darbinorvar. I admire your quality work. But, hey, I saw your shop, you are organized. This sort of thing comes naturally to you. To the rest of us, me especially, organizational skills are a challenge.

Nice box joints, too. I like to use them also, see no need to go to the fancy-schamsy dove tails.

darbinorvar (author)Bill WW2015-08-24

Thanks Bill!

NickS21 (author)2015-08-21

You are the coolest woman I have yet to see. Great Job.

darbinorvar (author)NickS212015-08-24


Marchon1 (author)2015-08-21

Great idea and instructions. I am going to try this. I may use cardboard for the little boxes though.

darbinorvar (author)Marchon12015-08-24

cardboard would be a great material, or foam board. i have tried making boxes with that and it works great.

rmellis (author)2015-08-22

Nice project. Nice details, pictures and explanations. I just finished sorting all my screws, nuts, washers, pins, clips, etc into used small clear peanut jars and placed them on a section of shelf so I would be organized for my next project. Now an organizer will be my next project ha ha ha... Well at least my parts are already sorted.!!



darbinorvar (author)rmellis2015-08-24

Thanks, organizing stuff can be relaxing too!

gcheintz (author)2015-08-24

Nice! If someone doesnt have access to a tablesaw, how would u make the jigsaw-joints? Im trying to figure this out myself. I want to make a stable connection that doesnt require too many tools and still look nice, its not so easy!

PS: Heja sverige!

darbinorvar (author)gcheintz2015-08-24

Thanks! You only need a handsaw, a chisel and some glue to make box joints. It is not difficult, just a little time-consuming.

Wheatridge (author)2015-08-21

Absolutely a great project. Where were you when I needed one back in 1975. I bought a metal rack that came with cardboard boxes and replaced them wityh my copy in hardwood of some sort. here is a picture of my project.

billbillt (author)2015-08-21

Thanks for this... Very well done and very useful.... Very well done...

ralphlevan (author)2015-08-20

I use some hot melt glue to glue one of the screws onto the face of my drawer so I know what's in it. It makes finding the right screw a lot faster. I have other drawers where that isn't possible and I end up looking through half of them each time to find what I'm looking for.

momoluv (author)2015-08-14

I love this. Nice tutorial, good pictures, well done.

darbinorvar (author)momoluv2015-08-18


tantris (author)2015-08-18

The way I like to cut semi-circles (for people who don't have a drill press):

Cut the cicles with the forstner bit ( or hole saw, door making kit, etc.) before you cut the board, then cut it in half. Not quite perfect (half a kerf short of perfect) but good enough.

MrMxylptlyk (author)2015-08-14

Nice. I need to do something like this for my resistors and capacitors!

darbinorvar (author)MrMxylptlyk2015-08-16

Thanks! Actually, I was thinking that too - maybe I need to make another, smaller version.

dmwatkins (author)2015-08-14

Looks great!

darbinorvar (author)dmwatkins2015-08-16


vrDrew (author)2015-08-14

Outstanding instructable!

I love seeing how different craftspeople go about solving construction challenges using the equipment they have available to them. Clamping a hand-held belt sander in a vise, for instance. Its truly impressive what can be done in a small space and with a limited budget.

And projects like this fill my head with ideas of ways I can use the techniques and ideas in my own projects.

Thanks for sharing.

darbinorvar (author)vrDrew2015-08-16

Thanks! Actually, the belt sander works surprisingly well in the vise - however I'm thinking about building a disc sander eventually with an old motor I have, that would be cool.

mopsiok (author)2015-08-15

That is the most thought-out organizer I've ever seen! The french cleat system seems to do the job very well :). I would totally use it when I finally get my own workshop. Thank you very much for sharing...

P.S. Love your box-machine, too :D

darbinorvar (author)mopsiok2015-08-16

Thanks for the very nice comment, I appreciate it!

tstevens-1 (author)2015-08-15

You did an excellent job. Very professional looking. Thanks for sharing with us.

darbinorvar (author)tstevens-12015-08-16

Thanks so much!

at7 (author)2015-08-15

That was absolutely awesome, Darbin. Makes me wish I was as organized as you. Every time I clean up my shop, it only stays organized until the next project. I look forward to watching more videos. GREAT JOB!!

darbinorvar (author)at72015-08-16

Thank you for the nice comment!

About This Instructable



Bio: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check ... More »
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