Simple Desk Organizer





Introduction: Simple Desk Organizer

About: I'm Mike and I make crazy things at Instructables HQ in San Francisco. Follow me and try a few of my projects for yourself!

Keep your desk organized with this simple DIY project that uses plastic pipes from your hardware store. This desk organizer can be customized to suit your particular desk needs, and can be expanded if you ever need more room.

Store big things, little, things, weird shaped things, anything! This quick afternoon project is quick to come together, and keeping your area organized means you can spend more time making and less time looking for the right tool for the job.

Ready to get organized? Let's make!

Step 1: Supplies

This simple desk organizer can be made with any plastic pipe, so it doesn't really matter if it's ABS or PVC. I chose ABS since it's what they had pre-cut lengths of at my local hardware store. Most home centers have an off-cuts or pre-cut section, allowing you to buy smaller sections of pipe without having to purchase an entire 12' length.

I found a few different sizes of pipe: 3/4", 1", and 2". The exact sizes will depend on your design, but having a variety leaves you plenty of options.

Aside from pipe you'll also need a method to determine angle (speed square, protractor, angle gauge), a saw, a marker, and some really strong adhesive.

Step 2: Mark Your Angle

After some trial and error I determined that 60° was the optimal angle to cut my pipes at. This angle allowed items to be slipped into the pipes, but was at a steep enough angle to keep things mostly upright.

I set 60° on my angle gauge and set the gauge against the side of the pipe, then made a mark at an arbitrary short length of pipe. Since these pipes are meant to be different lengths I just eyeballed lengths between 2-6".

The pipes were clamped down to a sturdy work surface and carefully cut with a handsaw.

Step 3: Deburring

After sawing the lengths of pipe they needed to be deburred. I used the rough side of a file to remove the majority of the plastic burrs from the ends of the pipe, then switched over to the fine side of the file to create a nice smooth edge.

Step 4: Arrange and Bond Pipes

With the ends cleaned up the pipes can be turned so the angled side is facing downward, then the pipes can be arranged in whatever array you desire. Experiment with a few different arrangements to determine what works best for you.

When you're happy with the arrangement I used some E6000 to permanently bond the pipes together. To make spreading the glue easier I squirted a small amount onto some scrap paper, then use d a scrap piece of wood as an applicator to apply a smear of glue to where two pipes were touching.

Step 5: Adjustments

There's a small time window after applying the glue where you can make any small adjustments before the glue sets. Check to make sure that the angled end of each cut pipe is making solid contact with your work surface - any gaps here will be noticeable and may require you to sand the entire bottom level.

Once your pipe array looks good allow the glue to dry completely.

Step 6: Cut Out Base

A base isn't necessarily required, as pens can easily stay inside the pipes, but I think it finishes the piece off nicely and encloses the pipes in case the organizer gets moved accidentally and the pens don't all slip out the bottom.

I used a scrap piece of thin plywood as my base. Placing the pipe array on top of the plywood I carefully traced around the outside of the pipes, ensuring to get into all the nooks. After removing the pipe array I checked the outline and filled in any gaps.

Step 7: Cut Out Base

Following the outline with a coping saw the base was cut out from the thin plywood.

After the entire outline was cut out the edges were cleaned up with sandpaper.

Step 8: Glue Base to Pipes

Using more magic E6000 I glued the base to the pipe array. Since this glue is pretty strong I only needed to use a little around the perimeter of the pipe array to create a solid bond between the pipes and the base.

Step 9: Paint

To give the desk organizer a uniform look I decided to paint it matte black. Painting the base to match the pipes was an easy choice, but the paint also helped to mask any scratches or printing on the ABS pipes. I coated the entire pipe organizer with 2 coats of paint, then let it dry completely before filling it up with stationary.

Step 10: Stock With Stationary

Your desk organizer is complete! Stock it up with all your pens, markers, scissors, and other daily desk detritus to keep your workspace organized!

There's no end to the variations possible, so let your creative side loose!

Have you made your own simple desk organizer? I want to see it!
Share a picture of your version in the comments below and get a free Pro Membership to instructables!



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16 Discussions


2 years ago

i totally love this idea and am goig to make them for the guys at christmas time

This looks like a simplish project that I may try

Very Nice. I would maybe run a mouse sander around the edges to get it a little closer to the pipes, but that's just an aesthetics thing. add some hooks on the back to hang on fabric cubicle walls.

cool, very cool

Hmmm, That's a really good idea! My problem is that I made one out of an old drill motor but this looks way better

All right!

This is exactly what I need except that it is going to be hung on the wall as my desk square footage (inches) is at a premium.


If I asked you very nicely to make me one, could I

then tell you very nicely that stationary should be Stationery!!

E for envelopes is an easy way to remember.


2 years ago

I use a larger version of this in my garage for storing all sorts of long things that won't fit anywhere else - I'm talking about lengths of threaded studding, copper pipe, aluminium profiles.

All you need to do is scale up the pipe size to soil pipe size (100-mm or 150-mm) - fill the gaps with smaller pipe like 68-mm rainwater downpipe or 42-mm waste pipe - I screw the pipes together then bracket it down on a plywood base.

I did try strapping the pipes together, but it wasn't stable - I might try expanding foam to fill the gaps next time.

On the rainwater theme, lengths of half round or "square" gutter makes a large scale kitchen draw organiser to hang from the garage roof for all those difficult items like timber battens, copper pipe etc.

1 reply

Great idea - both of you. My workshop bench is a mess, and so's my desk. This is perfect for my ceramics studio too! So many possible locations this would work


2 years ago

Looks cool that mate, well done and thanks for sharing :)

That's awesome and incredibly simple!


2 years ago

useful ! :)

Oh wow I have some PVC pipes in the garage, this idea is quite useful! thanx!