Introduction: Making Drawer Dividers

Picture of Making Drawer Dividers

After completing my tool chest with 10 shallow drawers it became very clear that I would need compartments in the drawers to hold the stuff in an organized manner. I started of making dividers for the topmost drawer and then would add dividers to the remaining drawers based on needs.

Step 1: Overall Design and Cutting the Drawer Divider Strips

Picture of Overall Design and Cutting the Drawer Divider Strips

The top drawer would be used mostly for storing fasteners (screws, nuts and bolts, etc.) so decided to go with many small compartments. The drawer was divided into two large compartments by a support strip that ran from left-to right to support the drawer bottom.

The front compartment would be divided into 102 smaller compartments by using 16 vertical strips and 5 horizontal strips.

The rear compartment of the drawer would be divided into 22 compartments by using 10 vertical strips and 1 horizontal strip (as shown in the figure).

The strips would have slots cut to allow the strips to notch into each other (second part of the figure) creating the compartments.

I cut 1 inch wide strips from freecycled white Pergo flooring on my table saw. To cut the slots into these strips I had to take a pause and build a cross-cut sled for the table saw (separate instructable).

Step 2: Cutting the Slots in the Drawer Divider Strips

Picture of Cutting the Slots in the Drawer Divider Strips

I had to cut 1/2 width slots into the drawer divider strips that I had made out of the laminate flooring materials.

I marked the location of the slots in one of the strips and then taped the other strips to this with masking tape so that in one go I would be able to cut slots in the others trips at the same time.

To cut the slots I placed the cross-cut sled onto the table saw, raised the blade to the proper height and then started cutting the half slots.

At the end of the process I had all the pieces ready for installation into the front half of the drawer.

Step 3: Installing the Divider Strips Into the Front Drawer Compartment

Picture of Installing the Divider Strips Into the Front Drawer Compartment

Before installing the strips, I cleaned the drawer bottom with a moist rag to make sure that the hot glue would stick.

I placed the horizontal (left-to-right) strips in approximate position and then anchored these in place with a vertical slotted strip on the right and one more on the left.

I applied hot glue to the bottom of the remaining vertical strips and inserted these into the mating slots of the horizontal strips.

I removed the first two vertical strips, which were not glued, applied hot glue and re-inserted them in.

The horizontal strips were not glued but were held by the downward pressure of the many vertical strips which were glued to the drawer bottom.

Step 4: Installing Divider Strips Into the Rear Compartment of the Drawer

Picture of Installing Divider Strips Into the Rear Compartment of the Drawer

Cleaned the back half of the drawer bottom and then directly hot glued small vertical strips to the drawer bottom about 4' apart. Used a square to keep them perpendicular to the large drawer divider.

Once the vertical strips were in place, I attached a long horizontal strip with hot glue.

Finally hot glued the remaining vertical strips behind the long horizontal strip to complete the rear of the drawer.

I now had 102 small compartments in the front of the drawer and 22 larger compartments in the rear of the drawer for a total of 124 compartments.

Already started storing screws as you can see in the pictures!

Step 5: Filling the Compartments ...

Picture of Filling the Compartments ...

Started collecting all the fasteners stored in various locations, sorting them and placing them in the compartments in the drawer.

Having all the screws, nuts, bolts, hooks, etc. in one location is definitely going to make it easier to find stuff when I need it and also prevent me buying new stuff just because I cannot find a specific fastener.

Am going to wait on making dividers for the next 9 drawers in my drawer chest; till I figure out what needs to go where.

Have posted a quick youtube video on the drawer dividers.


josuchav (author)2017-07-16

Needed this for a rock collection box for my kid. Thanks!

BeachsideHank (author)2016-03-28

Back in the '80's, used printer's trays were popular items repurposed as display coffee tables, I made a few and sold them, lotsa fun to make too.

abizar (author)BeachsideHank2016-03-29

Yes, those drawers and cabinets were incredible. They were built like tanks to handle the weight of the lead letters and used read wood. Would love to get my hands on a whole cabinet. Another great find were old dental cabinets, lots of fold out drawers and compartments. Am hoping to make a portable biology lab based on the dental cabinet (see image).

SherylinRM (author)abizar2016-07-31

I do hope you make this.

Would love to use it for my jewelry :)

abizar made it! (author)SherylinRM2016-07-31

I did make a better quality version of my tool drawer chest for the wife. Better wood, better finish, used pre-made spherical wooden fence-post tops as feet. Drawers have black felt lining ... Top 6 drawers she uses for jewelry (she loves jewelry!). One of the drawers is for her fashion watches. Bottom drawers are underwear, etc.

SherylinRM (author)abizar2016-08-01

Cool :)

However if you ever do a version with the rotating drawers give me a shout as I think they look real cool.

And I have no doubt you have the skills to do it also :)

Thanks for you reply :)

BeachsideHank (author)abizar2016-03-29

You got me on that one, I've never seen a cabinet quite like it before, I do think a machinist would very much like that design as well.

Jesper75 (author)2016-07-22

Hi Abizar. Wonderful chest, and beautifully built. I'm a big fan of shallow drawers too. Making dividers like yours is tempting, but for my drawers I started to make small boxes like Marius Hornbergers does in his video. I think I will recommend this for your next drawers, even though it is a bit more work.

I like the boxes, because you can take them out and put them more conveniently where you work. But the best part is, that is is easier to re-organize things. For example if you find that the cell you are using for something is getting too small, it is easy to take the box out and pour the stuff into a larger box. I made boxes of 5x5 cm and 10x5 cm. Plan is to always keep side lengths multiple of 5 cm, so new boxes always fit in with the other boxes.

abizar (author)Jesper752016-07-23

agree. Had seen Marius video a while back and did like the idea. Mathias Wandelhad done something similar. But building a hundred plus boxes scared me! Will try it for one of the drawers and post an update. BTW, a significant advantage of really wide drawers is that you find things more quickly as compared to opening many small drawers. Maybe I should have tried the 8 ft wide drawers!

Jesper75 (author)abizar2016-07-23

You are right. I made this rack of "small parts boxes", that is seen in many places on youtube. At first I was really happy about it, but I have come to realise that I'm always pulling alot of boxes out of the rack, before I get to the right one. So yes, a wide drawer and with full extension slides would be much better. I do think I will have a go with the dividers, as I have an idea that they might actually be better if the stored parts are a little bigger, or come in fewer numbers.

badly_bearded (author)2016-04-15

This is neat!

Got to make something like this and finally get my workshop organised.

Thanks for the 'ible.

Basho317 (author)2016-04-06

Nice work, This one is now on my "to do" List.

Many thanks.

AbsoluteJaguar (author)2016-03-29

Great that this can be done so neatly on the table saw, I was considering borrowing a laser cutter to complete a similar idea.

abizar (author)AbsoluteJaguar2016-03-30

Laser cutter is not a bad idea, though it will need a big deck for 4 feet wide strips. And i think it might be quite a bit slower to finish the cutting.

Yonatan24 (author)2016-03-30

WOW! So many dividers!

I wish I had your huge drawers :)

abizar (author)Yonatan242016-03-30

Size matters!

momoluv (author)2016-03-28

Great job!

abizar (author)momoluv2016-03-28

Thanks! Wife is already dropping hints on making dividers for her jewelry chest.

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