Introduction: Cardboard Home Desk Organizer

About: Instructables user. Software Engineering student. Maker Space enthusiast.

I build this organizer for 2 reasons: because my desk was a bit messy and I wanted to try this simple technique, that doesn't imply a lot of cuts to interlock parts - cutting by hand is quite hard and time/money consuming.

It's not visually finished because I was more interested in the functional part, but I intend to give it a coat of spray paint.

So: it has 2 functional slide out drawers of various sizes and depths, multiple spaces for desk supplies, a custom space for a clock and a hidden space under the clock - I renounced to this hidden space during the build but it's doable in a 2.0 version.


So, the supplies - as usual: cardboard, cutters, rulers, pencils, glue (I used wood glue), pieces of paper (to reinforce different parts), brown packing tape.

Step 1: Design

I started by doing a design in 3D to have a better understanding of the whole thing. Even so I made a few mistakes - but, all in all, I'm glad - it gave me a chance to learn and if I'll make an improved version (and I think I will, it's gonna be just the way I want it).

As you can see I left out the round lateral parts. Even though they look nice, they would have been way too deep.

I still wonder, after a number of builds, how strong and versatile cardboard is. Incredible material, and people throw it...

Step 2: Parts

After the design was done, I colored all different parts in order to better visualize them, them put each part separate so I'd know the dimensions and how many pieces of each element.

Gluing parts to each other, without interlocking slots, made the build easier, they're all more or less cardboard rectangles.

Step 3: The Bottom

I started with the bottom.

The initial idea, and I went with it, was to be over a part of my desk where there a lot of cables. So it would have to stand over the cables, but not on them, so I raised the bottom 30 mm from the desk.

The green parts are the legs and the purple one is a transversal strengthening piece for the blue parts.

Step 4: Side Compartments and Back Piece

I started with the side compartments and back piece so that the whole thing would have a resistance structure to hold itself together and because next would come the drawers.

Step 5: Drawers

Next I assembled the bottom drawer, put a transversal piece for the upper drawer to sit on. That way each drawer can be opened independently, just like your nightstand.

In order to open the drawers I designed them in such a way that when they're both closed, they form a circle - no handles needed.

Step 6: Hidden Compartment and Clock Compartment

As you can see in the 3D image I calculated the diameter of the clock and created the top middle compartment to fit it. But the clock turned out to be heavier than I thought so I put in the "hidden compartment" (which I gave up in the end, thought it still exists, just permanently closed) a vertical support, which did the trick and held the clock - one little piece of cardboard - crazy, huh?

As for the hidden compartment (love them) the idea was for the clock to be taken out and the yellow and lime green parts to be taken out as a whole, leaving the secret stash in plain view.

The top tray is perfect to lie my headphones and exactly in the middle of them a cup full or writing utensils - never waste space, right?

Step 7: Final Thoughts

In the end, after finishing it, I realized that even though I didn't have brown "nature" paper sticky tape I could have used brown packing paper and wood glue instead of white paper.

Also, if you look just below the clock you can see that I put all around its compartment a piece of brown duct tape, I was careful and it's almost invisible and very resistant.

So even though I pressed more on the functional part I'm sure, design wise, that it can be made to look store bought, but that will be for v 2.0.

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