Small Hardware Storage Bins





Introduction: Small Hardware Storage Bins

About: My name is Troy. I'm a Mechatronics graduate studying Mechanical Engineering. I like to make things and spend time outdoors (especially SCUBA diving). I am a Community Manager for Instructables.

Every home shop has small parts that need to be sorted in one way or another. Some people use drawers, others use cheap flimsy bins purchased from big box stores. I was looking for something more. I like the ability to see where something is before opening it. Building off that and the french cleat idea, these simple small parts bins were the result. They are more sturdy than most things found at a reasonable price while being able to locate what I need at a glance.

Step 1: Rip Sides

Rip the sides of the bins to the same height. I selected 2 1/2 inches tall for all of my bins.

Step 2: Rip Dado

Using a flat tooth blade, rip a dado the thickness of your stock for the bottom of each bin. Each dado should start 1/8 inch from the bottom of the side.

Step 3: Cut Sides and Back

Wanting bins of varying width, I used my crosscut sled to cut backs of varying sizes. These sizes include: 2, 3, 4, and 5 inches.

Once I had all the backs cut, I cut up the remaining boards to form the sides. These sides are all 4 inches in length.

Step 4: Cut Bottoms

Each bin will have a different size bottom depending on the size of the bin. Measure each bin from dado to dado to know what size to cut.

Step 5: Group Pieces

Match the corresponding sides, back, and bottom into individual piles. This will show any extra parts that need to be made before moving on to assembly.

Step 6: Assemble

Apply wood glue to the dados as well as the back seams of each bin. Use 5/8 inch brad nails to hold everything together until the glue dries. Use four on the back and one on each side toward the front to hold the bottom in the dado.

Step 7: Sand Flat

Using a disk or belt sander, sand the front face of each bin flat.

Step 8: Cut and Glue French Cleats

Cut french cleats just shorter than each box. Glue and hold each one in place with spring clamps until dry. Depending on how many spring clamps you have and how many bins you are making, you may need to do this in more than one batch.

Step 9: Make Backer Board

While the french cleats are drying, make the backer board that will hold all the bins. Make this the size that will accommodate the bins in the order you like. Cut these french cleats so that when attached the to bin they are tall enough to support the bottom of each bin while fully engaging the cleat.

I spaced these out so there is a quarter inch of clearance between each bin above and below. This will keep the majority of the sawdust out while allowing for easy removal of the bins.

Use spring clamps and whatever other heavy objects you have to glue the cleats down. Once dry, use a crosscut sled to square up the edges.

Step 10: Cut Clear Acrylic

I had some old acrylic laying around the garage that was pretty beat up from an old project. Cutting it into pieces just larger than each bin gave it new life.

Step 11: Attach Front

Clamping the piece of acrylic, drill four holes just smaller than the nails you plan on using. Then drill clearance holes through the acrylic. Lasly, drive four nails to hold the front in place. I found doing this in batches made it much quicker.

Clean up the edges of the acrylic using a belt sander.

Step 12: Bin Pull

Each bin needs a pull to help remove it from the wall easily. Cut enough 1/2 inch dowels to a half inch in length. Using a makeshift table on the drill press, drill holes that will allow short screws to hold them from behind.

Step 13: Drill Clearance Holes

This step would have probably been easier to do before attaching the acrylic to the bin (in step 11), but doing it in this order will ensure that it is centered on the bin. Drill a clearance hole in the center of the bin that will hold the pull created in the previous step.

Use a stubby screwdriver to attach the pulls to the bins.

Step 14: Attach to Wall

Locating the studs, attach the backer board to the wall and load up your bins!

I opted to build a small shelf above the bins to keep sawdust out of the top row.

Have you built any storage bins yourself? What changes would you have made to your own project if you were to make it again?



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    I think the acrylic would get scratched pretty quickly from sharp screws. Perhaps glass could be better, but it would be hard to cut, and would shatter if it fell?

    Also, how about some earthquake protection? :)

    2 replies

    i made this screw caddie with your suggested mods so now i dont need to think about earth-quacks anymore.

    I was reusing old acrylic that was already scratched so not a problem for me. It's a shop project so most people won't care as long as it works. If there's a earthquake I don't think they would fall off (more likely the stuff on top of the shelves will). Even still, a couple of screws on the floor are going to be the least of my concerns.

    use a razor knife to score it then snap it like glass place dowel under the score and put pressure on both sides until it breaks quick easy with no mess you can cut glass the same way just use a glass cutter

    I actually cut mine on the table saw and didn't have any troubles. But my saw blade is quite new.

    A laser cutter is really the answer for all of the cuts in this project. Would knock it out perfect in no time.

    Personally, I've found acrylic cuts well with a bandsaw, or even a coping saw if you're careful.

    What are French cleats and what do they do?

    1 reply

    I love it! Thanks for sharing :-)

    Great storage idea; I will be building this right away!

    You could drill the center of the first acrylic face in place for each size bin, and use a sharpie to locate the location on face #2. Then stack the remaining faces for each size, clamp and drill them (including nail holes) all at the same time.

    We hit an antique store last week end. We found what appears to be an old army cabinet. It has 36 compartments about 4x3" and about 8" deep. There are locking lids on each box for the compartments. It was $25, which was a steal. I have been thinking about making something like that out of steel. I can easily cut the parts on the CNC plasma table, but would probably have to make some new fingers for the finger break to bend the tabs sharp enough to hold the boxes.