Cosmetic Carousel




Introduction: Cosmetic Carousel

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A rotating caddy for all your cosmetics, keeping them organized and all within reach.

I made this cosmetic carousel for my friend, Cali, whom has a very large collection of makeup and needed a better way to organize all the different types. This tiered carousel rotates and can be modified to suit all kinds of cosmetic preferences. The bottom has larger openings for nail polish, the middle and top row are for lipstick and lip gloss, and the top area has an array of smaller openings for eye liners of different sizes and a tray to hold any larger items.

I designed this carousel to be laser cut from 3/8" plywood, the risers between the layers utilizes a kerf bending technique described here. I've included the digital file I used to make this cosmetic carousel, which has openings that fits a wide array variety of polishes, glosses, brushes, and loads of lotions and potions that are needed while getting ready.

Maybe you're more of a brush girl, or have an extensive nail polish collection; Whatever your preference, the cosmetic carousel keeps things tidy and can be customized to suit your style.

Ready? Let's make!

Step 1: Measure

Before designing I needed to get some measurements of what I would be working with. Not wearing makeup myself, I was astounded to learn that every manufacturer has their own particular shape of cosmetic packaging, even items that were from the same manufacturer were slightly different in some dimension.

Grouping cosmetics in nail polish, lip stick, lip gloss, and pencils I took measurements with calipers and chose an average size for each type that would accommodate most brands.

Step 2: Computer

Using CAD software I started by making circles for each type of cosmetic I wanted to store, then made an circular array. I started with an arbitrary number of circles for each at first, then through iteration decided on the maximum number of openings for each and the diameter of the carousel.

I made a small reference circle in each piece to register the alignment when they were stacked on top of each other, keeping the tiered tower straight.

The curved riser between the tiers were made using a very clever bending technique called kerf bending, which is when small staggered cuts are made in the wood in such a way that allow the wood to bend along the cut lines. Kerf bending with a laser is possible with a few patterns, you can read more about this excellent technique of kerf bending on the laser cutter from Pier 9 Artist in Residence alumni Aaron Porterfield .

You are welcome to use my carousel CAD drawing as the basis for your own cosmetic carousel, which is included in this step for download.

Step 3: Laser Cut

Send the files to the laser cutter.

I used a Epilog 120 watt machine, selecting a vector cut of my DWG file with laser settings of:

Power: 55
Speed: 15
Frequency: 500Hz

I cut the pieces out of 1/8" (3mm) hobby plywood, this took about 15 minutes.

Step 4: Clean Cut Pieces

After laser cutting the pieces the flat platforms can be sanded to remove any scorch marks and smooth the surface for gluing and then painting.

The kerf cut pieces should not be sanded, as they are very delicate and can break easily. As you can see in the picture the kerf cut plywood is able to bend around a very tight radius, we'll be making a ring with these kerf bent plywood sections to be the risers between the tiers of the cosmetic carousel.

Step 5: Glue Up Tier Risers

The kerf bent plywood is already cut to the right length and can now be bent to have the ends touching, forming a ring. Apply a small amount of wood glue to the end of the kerf bent piece and connect it to the other end, then clamp in place.

Repeat this for all kerf bent pieces of plywood and allow glue to dry completely.

Step 6: Kerf Bent Rings

Once dry the kerf bent plywood retains it's flexibility. Here's what it looks like with me squeezing the sides.

Step 7: Glue Risers to Platforms

A bead of glue can be applied to the kerf bent ring and then applied to one of the platforms. The openings around the platform are symetrical and even, so centering the kerf bent ring onto the platform should be easy.

While one kerf bent riser is drying to one platform. the process can be repeated with another kerf bent ring and another riser. Though all the platforms are slightly different diameters, the kerf bent rings are all the same size.

Step 8: Glue Completed Riser/platforms Together

Once the glue has dried on one section of riser and platform the corresponding platform piece can be glued on. TO make alignment easier there's a small central opening which a dowel can be inserted into that will align the layers while gluing.

After aligned the dowel was removed and a weight is applied to ensure a good bond while glue is drying.

Step 9: Continue Gluing Tiers

Continue gluing the kerf bend rings between the platforms, using a dowel inserted through the central openings to keep things centered and aligned.

After the structure is all glued together the once flimsy plywood is very sturdy.

Step 10: Paint

I chose to colour my cosmetic carousel with a retro robin's egg blue.

It took 2 coats of spray paint to cover the carousel with an even coat and conceal the scorch marks on the kerf bend sections.

Step 11:

I used a small slew bearing (lazy Susan bearing) for the underside of the carousel which allows it to rotate freely.

The slew bearing was attached to the underside of the carousel and fastened in place with small screws in the center of the bottom platform.

Step 12: Protective Feet

The slew bearing will need to be protected so it doesn't mark the countertop it will sit on. Any type of protective pads will work, I chose to reuse some leather scraps I had lying around.

I cut the leather straps into circles and attached four to the slew bearing using E6000, my favourite adhesive.

Step 13: Load Up Cosmetics

The cosmetic carousel is ready to be loaded up with your assortment of make up.

I chose to keep the heavy glass bottles of nail polish on the bottom, lipstick in the middle, and taller lip gloss up top. The central area on the top is for pencils, brushes, and other items that are of irregular shape.

If I were to remake this I think I would consider utilizing the empty space inside the carousel more effectively. It's pretty good as-is, but maybe there's storage potential inside if I were to redesign the structure. If you have any suggestions please let me know in the comments below.

Have you made your own make up storage solution? I want to see it!

Happy making :)

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7 years ago on Introduction

Have you ever thought of making this a kit and selling it. I bet it would do great.


7 years ago on Introduction

Really beautiful laser cut work! Wish I had the tools to make this one at home. My boyfriend would agree that i need a much better storage solution than "wherever the lipstick falls, there shall it live."


7 years ago on Introduction

cotton balls and swabs and pads can go inside. i would have used a wedding cake riser for each layer.


7 years ago on Step 13

I love it. I like that the laser bent wood designs show through the paint, too. Your concept could also be used for art supplies. Regarding the hollow carousel area, you could make a pyramid shape from four tubes or small rectangular boxes that could be used to hold pencils or brushes and the top could then hold larger stuff, like moisturizers, nail varnish remover or perfumes. The pyramid shape would be place upside down within the hollow with the openings cut on a diagonal so items wouldn't fall out but could still be visible.


7 years ago on Introduction

This is so awesome Mike! Space saving, organizing and cute design. Wonderful idea, great job! (and lucky Cali!) :)


7 years ago on Step 13

Looks like an interesting concept to use to make tools available at a work bench.


7 years ago on Introduction

Mike!!!! I LOVE my cosmetic carousel. Already I just bought more goodies to put in it. Thank you so much. :)