These are Trunk Clutter Corner Stabilizers.

What are they? Well, these are four corner items that you can position around grocery bags, bottles of pop, boxes, just about anything. These stabilizers will keep your bags and bottles from rolling around into all the corners of your trunk or the back of your SUV or even your metal bed in a truck. These will not stabilize bales of hay or 5 gallon buckets of paint---but you could build something to support that large stuff; it would probably be taller, stronger, etc.

Why make these things? In my wife's car she has a bag of stuff that needs to go to Goodwill. However, she forgets to take it by Goodwill. Well, this bag has tipped over many times and stuff is everywhere. Then there is the container for the winter chains in the trunk, etc. Throw all that together going around corners, accelerate and brake and you have a mixture of clutter in your trunk that you have to clean up AGAIN!! So, my brain started thinking of how to prevent this.

Take a look at this photo. How would you like those bottles of pop rolling out of the grocery bag and all over the back of the trunk. Then you get home and the kids want a drink of pop. Well, you know what will happen as soon as you open that 2 liter bottle...... These stabilizers will hold your pop stabile, so they can be opened when you get home without having the pop all over the place.

That is what Trunk Clutter Corner Stabilizers will do for you!!!

Step 1: Brain Storming a Design

Initially, I had talked to my son who had something like this that he had bought some time ago. What he had gotten worked well in a VW but not so well in his car. So, he looked elsewhere and came across something similar in plastic which looked nice, but they were over $30.00 plus shipping.

Well, I thought I could make something like that out of wood for a fraction of the cost. My drawing shows a size I selected, you can vary the size. I made these stabilizers from wood that was left over from some other project.

Now for the "convenience" of the plastic ones on the internet and you have the money, then go for them. However, I believe they use Velcro on the base, so you would not be successful using them in the metal bed of a truck. Plus, you will have something "you made" and you can modify my design and sizes to meet your wishes. Such a deal and your labor is "free".

Step 2: Measuring, Cutting, Gluing, and Screwing Components

The components consist of a base which will support the wood "walls and corner" of the stabilizer. Also, the grocery bag or the can of paint (or whatever) will sit on most of this base, which holds the stabilizer firmly in position. In this case I made it out of 1/4 " hardboard (what I had available, you could use 1/8" too) and I cut 7"X7" squares (X4). To make the walls and corner, I had 1"x6" pine board in the shop, so I used that. I cut one piece 6 1/4" long (X4), the other 5 1/2" long (X4). These two pieces will form the core of the corner wall of this stabilizer. The last thing you need to cut are two 1"x1" wood supports (actually they end up being 3/4"x3/4", so not to have any overhanging wood) (X4). These are just to provide a bit more support. I had some 1"x2" stock laying around so I ripped it in half and then cut to length. I did all my cutting with a hand saw and drilling using a manual hand drill. I did this to show anyone that you can build these with just hand tools, no power tools. Things could go much faster if you have a table saw, miter saw, power sander (belt or random orbital), and/or power drill.

Once all the components are cut, then it is a matter of assembly. You can see in the one photo how those components make up the stabilizer. The hardware that was used includes: Yellow glue (carpenter's glue), 2"coarse threaded screws to hold the corner together, 1 1/4" coarse threaded screws to hold the wood supports in place. The sequence was to dry fit everything to make sure you have everything and to plane or sand any pieces that were too rough/oversized. Next apply glue to the 1'X6" boards that form the corner and position carefully. Clamp carefully so they do not slip out of position. Let the glue that has extruded on the edges dry for 10-20 min until it is rubbery, then trim with an Exacto knife or a chisel. Next, drill and counter sink for one 2" screw toward the upper part of the boards (screw goes through longer board and into the edge of the shorter board that is abutted to the longer board). Screw 2" screw into that pre-drilled hole until tight closure occurs. Then position carefully and glue boards to hardboard platform, clamp tightly and check to make sure nothing moved with the clamping. Allow glue to set according to directions. Again, remove excess glue after 10-20 min once it gets rubbery. Once glue is set then go back to the corner and add the wood support on that corner where the screw was placed and glue and clamp the wood support so that it is the mirror image to the shorter board. Once dry, then pre-drill and countersink two holes through the wood support, the one board and into the end of the other board. This is to provide a large amount of support and strength to that corner. Screw 2" screws to seat completely. Then take the the other two wood supports and glue and clamp at the opposite end of the boards from where the corner has been created. Once dry, then pre-drill and countersink two holes. Screw 1 1/4" screws to attach support to board. You have just completed one corner of the stabilizers. Repeat this on the other three corners to make up the complete set.

Note: The 1"x6" boards are not screwed to the hardboard. If you apply the yellow glue properly and clamp well, then that glue should provide a strong bond for this part. If you would like more "insurance" you can screw the hardboard to the boards with either length of screws. Just be careful with the countersink and the depth in the 1/4" hardboard.

Step 3: How to Keep Stabilizers in Place

This next part is what makes the stabilizer become a stabilizer. One manufacturer uses Velcro to hold their product in place. You have to buy the Velcro (Industrial Strength, 2" wide and 5 ft long for $7.97 at Walmart). As you know there are two pieces to the Velcro and you will use only the "hook" portion (firm feeling and more rigid). You will not use the soft and fuzzy part of the Velcro. I think this would hold well against the felt like material in the trunks of cars and in the back of SUVs. However, it would not hold at all on a metal bed of a truck.

So, my idea is to find something that grips on the felt and also on the metal bed of trucks. I have some old Grip Liner for lining kitchen shelves and it seems to work just great. Initially finding it was a concern (I could not remember where we got it) because what we found first looked similar but was thinner and had little grip. The one photo shows the white liner on edge against the old liner (green) that we had. You can see the difference in the height of the liners. The white liner was at Walmart and does not work very well and you can see it is quite thin. The thicker liner is the one you want; that additional thickness makes for more "cushy" feel and grabs better. We finally found it at Kmart for $5.49 for a bunch. Look at the photo with the white liner on edge and the black liner next to it. See the difference? The black came from Kmart and is 20" wide and 4 ft long. See the photo of the item name. Then look at the photos where we put the green on two of the stabilizers and then the black on the other two.

To put the grip liner on is simple. I cut out the liner to fit most of the bottom of the stabilizer. Then I masked off the sides of the stabilizer with masking tape and newspaper so not to get everything sticky. Then I used an aerosol adhesive spray (you can get this in the craft section of Walmart, Kmart, or at any craft store). Follow the directions for a permanent bond and the liner goes on the bottom. Within a few minutes you are ready to test your stabilizers.

Step 4: Proof Is in the Puddin'

Once I got the liner pad glued to the bottom of all four stabilizer corners I tested them out first in our car (see first photo) with the felt like trunk liner. I used two stabilizers that held "stuff" against the side of the trunk. Driving around and turning many corners for several days, that stuff did not budge!! The sack of Goodwill clothes stayed upright and in the bag. Then I took these same two corners and put them in my truck bed and had them hold a box up against the tailgate. Well, I drove 32 miles on a rough gravel road and another 40 miles on freeway. The photos are after getting home. One side moved about an inch. The other corner drifted about two inches from the tailgate. That was great, in my opinion, because without those stabilizers I usually have stuff on all the corners of the truck bed.

The "pop" photo shows the stabilizers painted and holding the bottles of pop. I just used some light beige aersol paint that I had on hand. I may well paint them with gloss black because I think they would really look nice in black. The next photo is just an example of how these four stabilizers could be used to work. All four together keeping things from rolling around or use two stabilizers to hold something up against the trunk wall and then the other two can hold something else. You can be creative on what all you can do with these.

My final photo shows the Trunk Clutter Corner Stabilizers displayed for a variety of views or angles to see how they are built and you can even stack them!!

So there, Proof is in the puddin'. I am very pleased with the grip of the liner pad on the bottoms of the stabilizers. Now how long that liner will last, time will tell. However, it is not a big cost item to replace if needed.

Total cost of this project was the $7.97 for the Velcro (which I did not use--will probably return it) and the $5.49 for the grip liner from Kmart, plus tax. The rest was extra stuff I had around the house. If you were to buy anything, maybe a 2'x2' sheet of hardboard (or use pegboard) at the big box store (you could make all your friends these stabilizers with this size of hardboard). Then a 1"x6" board----an 8' pine board would only be probably $6.00 or so. So, for anywhere from $5.49 to $12-15.00 you would have enough wood to build probably eight or twelve of these Trunk Clutter Corner Stabilizers. I plan on making at least two more sets on my table saw, sander and power drill. I will make them like a production line. The slow part of the process is gluing the pieces together, but this is one of the most important steps to get a strong stabilizer.

Another option would be where you might need the 4 corner stabilizers but then a couple of stabilizers between two corners. That could use the same size hardboard but just one piece of 1"x6" pine, glued well, and then here I would run 2" or 2 1/2" screws through the hardboard (countersunk carefully) into the pine to provide as much strength to that pine board which will not have that perpendicular piece of pine to provide the strength through physics (angles). Obviously, if you are supporting " long items you may just make two of the stabilizers really long (example would be instead of 7"x7", cut 7"x18" or whatever length on that one side).

This is an easy project that can be done over several nights, 30 minutes here, and 20 minutes there. Have fun.

Why so long? You have to wait for the glue to dry. The glue is really what gives you the strength to these stabilizer, so don't short cut on this.

Voted! Hi, I use a plastic crate but your idea is better. Adjustable and easier to store. Thank you for sharing and for your thorough research!

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