Picture of Quick, Cheap, and Easy Tool Organizer

While in the process of setting up my new shop, I needed some way to organize and store a bunch of small hand tools. A length of PVC pipe and a few screws solved the problem.

Comments/suggestions and ratings are always welcome, and almost always responded to.
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Step 1: Fabricate Components

Picture of Fabricate Components
Using PVC (or ABS) pipe of a diameter appropriate for your storage needs (I used 1-1/2") cut sections with one square end and one sharply angled end.

I cut the sharp end at 62 degrees because that is the steepest angle my saw can be set at.

Making small tick marks on the base of the saw itself and aligning the pipe to them (rather than measuring every individual piece) greatly speeds up the process. Cut each end of your pipe at the angle, reset the saw to square, and then cut off the sections. Repeat.

A note on using salvaged pipe- if the pipe has been around for a while, it may be a little brittle. When you are cutting pipe with a power saw, it may shatter. Take appropriate precautions.

Step 2: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

Using a punch, nail, or awl, make a divot about 5/8" up from the point of the pipe section and start a wood screw into it.

Make a level mark on the wall to align the points to. Screw each piece to the wall, snugging the screw up firmly.

Step 3: Utilize

Picture of Utilize

Fill er' up!

A few notes:

Experiment with sizes.

If you are putting anything edged in the holders, you should cram a piece of foam in the bottom of them, as part of the screw is exposed inside.

I did this against a fairly rough wall (painted OSB). Smoother walls may require a dab of hot glue at the top of the angled cut to keep the holders from rotating. On the OSB, even with some heavy cold chisels in them, mine stay put well.

"Nesting" the holders against the row above adds a lot more stability, too.

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gwairbrush2 months ago

I absolutely detest pegboard. I installed it my garage (before i knew better). Hooks would come out with the tool you grab and invariably get lost. Plywood and a screw...BOOM done! PVC can be cut to hold darn near anything.

W MichaelC2 months ago

I came across the pvc idea on pinterest - i must say it is far superior to pegboard and rings. i wanted to further this idea by color coding the pvc sections for easier to type identification - perhaps paint them or use colored tape around the top

soubal2 years ago
For something a little safer & cleaner to cut the PVC with, use a cutting disk designed for metal or masonry in your mitre saw, rather than a timber blade.. ie use an abrasive disk (like a big version of what you'd normally use on an angle grinder) rather than a toothed sawblade. That way there's nothing to 'catch' on the brittle PVC and break it up.
aeray (author)  soubal2 years ago
Agreed. If I had a dedicated metal-cutting chopsaw, I would use it. I don't want to use an abrasive blade in my saw, though, because I don't want to get abrasive bits all over the same saw I use for trim/finish carpentry.
Cool! Curious tho, why so many plumbbobs?
aeray (author)  ArtsyFartsyGirl3 years ago
I think you are looking at the chalklines, which are shaped like plum bobs, but don't work well for that purpose. From left to right: Thick black, for heavy permanent lines, like on concrete foundations; thin black, for precision permanent lines (used most frequently); red, for permanent corrections of black lines; blue, for temporary lines that need to be erased eventually (like wall lines on a concrete slab that will be exposed, or on beams and logs); white, for lines on tar paper for roofing, or for handrail lines on staircase walls that already have the finish paint on them (it wipes right off).
If you use powered concrete dye, the chalk lines become permanent.
Hi, thanks for your reply. I used to paint commercial signs, sometimes on walls and i've used those chalklines, but I guess my old instructor probably referred to them as plum bobs and it stuck. I have used it to make sure of a vertical line too. My instructor said everyone has some astigmatism, and I know I surely do. I can look at the edge of a building sometimes and see a curve! Guess I'd make a horrible carpenter! lol!
Bosun Rick3 years ago
Like most DIY'ers, I have multiples of most tools, and thought about using PVC pipe to store my surplus sockets in. making a pipe for each size, I could just cut a small opening at the bottom, (sort of like the picture of the dowel rod storage)and pull out the desired socket, use it, then drop it back in the top of the tube when finished.
Taking it a step further, connect the tubes in a circular pattern, and set them up to rotate like a 'lazy susan' type thing. This would take up less wall space, but more benchtop area. Has anyone tried this?
RangerJ3 years ago
I like this. Very good idea.
Have you noticed any issues with the top of the holder pulling away from the wall due to the weight of whatever is in it? (No screw keeps it against the wall at the top, only the bottom.) Either way, this is a great idea and much more efficient than merely hanging tools from a pegboard... I'll be sure to implement it. :)
aeray (author)  twilightrider4 years ago
Nope, haven't had.a problem yet, and some of them are really loaded down.
bvsmanya4 years ago
good storage idea.better if mounted on 3/4" plywood board and attached to the wall.
aeray (author)  bvsmanya4 years ago
The wall itself is plywood, OSB really.
guy904 years ago
Great idea, somewhat heavy duty as well- which will definetely come in handy for storing craft blades!
up_creek4 years ago
Great idea! I've been trying to think up a way to store my screw drivers in a neat and convenient way (besides drilling holes in wood and sticking them in, which makes them top heavy and wobbly). I'm going to implement your idea, but on a large piece of plywood, to make it movable. I'm constantly rearranging my garage layout so I rarely attach things to the walls.

Again, great idea!
aeray (author)  up_creek4 years ago
Thanks. If you made an A-frame out of the plywood (like a sidewalk sign, but bigger) and figured the angles correctly, the pipe pieces would stand straight up. Just a thought.
up_creek aeray4 years ago
Good thinking. Could then use some hinges and string (hemp) to make the A frame fold-able/collapsible, with a handle (hemp again), for even more move-ability (even storage, if you're not using them constantly). I like it.
kodikos4 years ago
Great idea!
aeray (author)  kodikos4 years ago
Thanks. Give it a try.
dublinrun4 years ago
Instead of hot melt glue to secure the top, you can drill a larger access hole on the front of the pvc, then a smaller hole on the backside for another screw to secure the pvc from moving. Ex: Drill a 7/16' or 1/2" in the front for the driver bit and screw head, and a 1/4" for the screw. This should anchor it very well.
aeray (author)  dublinrun4 years ago
If you look to the lower right of the angled tool holders, I used the method you describe to mount holders for utility knives. It works well, but it wasn't necessary (in my case) for the angled holders.
les_smith4 years ago
What kind of blade do you use on the miter saw, to cut the pvc?

aeray (author)  les_smith4 years ago
I just used a fairly dull "framing" blade. The important part is to cut fairly quickly. If you cut too slowly, the PVC tends to melt, stick to the blade, and bind a bit. It doesn't hurt the saw or the blade (it can be cleaned off easily), but it hinders cutting. Different blade diameters and saw speeds will affect this; make a couple of test cuts first to find the optimum speed.

On the job site, plumbers are always "borrowing" my saw to cut pipe, and they express no blade preference, leading me to believe that anything will work.
divalea4 years ago
Why four chalk lines? ^__^
aeray (author)  divalea4 years ago
Ha! Five actually. From left to right: Thick black, for heavy permanent lines, like on concrete foundations; thin black, for precision permanent lines (used most frequently); red, for permanent corrections of black lines; blue, for temporary lines that need to be erased eventually (like wall lines on a concrete slab that will be exposed, or on beams and logs); white, for lines on tar paper for roofing, or for handrail lines on staircase walls that already have the finish paint on them (it wipes right off).
Good thinking.
I could take it a bit further if you don't mind.
Instead of screwing the pipes onto the wall directly, I would have screwed them on a 3/4x2 and then making a French cleat mount them to the wall, this way you could also move things around, change position or remove and replace with new ones.
I agree, but the board that they were mounted to would have to be wider than the cut face of the pipe (just guessing, about 3-1/2" wide) but great idea, nonetheless.
vincent75204 years ago
WOnderful !…
Nice, neat, creative, cheap and nicely designed !…
All I ask from an instructable …
Maybe I'll borrow the idea, maybe not … but I got the best : pleasure looking at it !
aeray (author)  vincent75204 years ago
If you do implement it, post pics.
I will
gserrano7014 years ago
Nice, simple and clean, great thinking.
aeray (author)  gserrano7014 years ago
Thanks. Not really thinking, though, I just paid attention to what popped up in my head and implemented it efficiently.
CrLz4 years ago
Clever idea, very good!
rimar20004 years ago
Very clever! I will Cut&Paste it!
aeray (author)  rimar20004 years ago
Gracias, senor!
SWV17874 years ago
This was my first thought when I read your title. a PVC pipe Dowel storage solution.
PVC Dowel Holder.JPG
aeray (author)  SWV17874 years ago
If you look in the lower right-hand corner of the last photo, you may be able to make out my "long auger-bit" storage... If you've got it, post it. The Zeroth Law says...
foobear4 years ago
that's wonderful! I can't believe they stay up with only one screw on the bottom though... but it seems to be working. nice idea
aeray (author)  foobear4 years ago
The cut is fairly rough because I used a fairly dull "framing" blade, and the OSB wall is relatively soft, so the rough edges of the pipe bite in (especially with a coat of latex-based paint on the wall). The stacked/adjacent/nested configuration also stabilizes things a lot.
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