Introduction: DIY Foam Drawer Organizer

About: A maker and tinkerer with experience in a bunch of areas, Mechanical, electrical, practical and artistic. Lazy but occasionally gets stuff done!

Do have a toolbox drawer that's screaming for organisation?

This project will show you how to create a cheap, quick foam organiser that's pleasing to the eye! I've already made one but will work through a second example here to show you what I learned from the first prototype and how you can get some great results with only a few simple tools.

You can use this to:

  • Organise large amounts of Granular items, (Such as I did with drill-bits)
  • Create a pleasing organisation of placements for special tools (Which I will create in this tutorial)
  • Make things easier to find, Stop them Moving around, Organise and De-Clutter!

Lets have some fun and make something that will make that tool drawer a pleasure to open!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Tools needed:

  • Sharpie or other felt tip marker
  • Exacto or other cutting knife: New blade recommended (more on this later)
  • Hot Glue gun + glue stick. (Shouldnt need more than a single glue stick here)
  • Ruler- bigger the better and steel rule is very handy here
  • Cutting mat.
  • Set Square
  • Tape measure


Foam Mat:

This is the basis for our project. Foam matting is cheaply and widely available in supermarkets and online and buying it in perhaps unexpected forms is a cheap way to get material for craft projects!

The matting used here is for camping (to put under a sleeping bag) and cost me less than £5 for a 2 meter roll. If you cant find a camping ground roll like this, you can use a cheap yoga mat. or even foam floor matting (the link together type.

Its generally all the same type of foam. EVA foam which you will hear mentioned a great deal in various craft pursuits. Make sure the matting you use is around 1cm thick at least so we are creating something substantial.

Also make sure the foam you buy is large enough to cover the area of the drawer twice.

Purchasing the foam I did was enough to create a foam liner for one Large and One Medium Size Toolbox drawer as shown!

The thicker your foam, the thicker tools you can accommodate snugly.

Step 2: Measure and Mark!

First off, measure the width and depth of the drawer to be used. If you cant physically remove the draw to get an accurate depth, dont panic. Just get the best measurement that you can. Perfect fit isnt critical as we will remove a little from the full size anyway to ensure an easy fit.

Once you have measured measure AGAIN! (Measure twice and cut once! )

With your final measurements confirmed. Subtract 0.5 cm from each dimension so that we get a comfortable fit inside the drawer.

Next up, mark and draw the drawer area onto your foam. Remember we need the draw shape *2 as we are using two layers of foam inside.

Use any existing foam edges on the foam for the best finish possible. We will try to keep these factory cut edges at the front of our drawers for the neatest possible results! Use the set-square and ruler to ensure that you have a nice set of right angles on both pieces.

Step 3: Cutting the Layers Out

Using your blade Cut along the lines as marked. I suggest cutting inside the lines rather than on the outside if you used a fat marker (Remember we removed 0.5 cm when we drew this, we don't want to accidentally add it back in again!).

If you have a long enough ruler, you can use it as a guide for the blade to achieve a straight even line.

Tip: Make sure your blade is new or as sharp as can possibly be and you will get a cleaner cut. You know your blade is starting to dull if the foam pulls and snags as you cut.

Once the two pieces are cut out:

  • Check they are the same size! (place on top of each other)
  • Check they fit into the drawer!
  • MARK THE CENTER OF BOTH PIECES ON ALL SIDES - Important and we will see why later

Step 4: Planning Your Tool Layout

Now is the fun part!

Work out what you want to store in this drawer and where. This is the stage where you should experiment with different layouts and arrangements for the tools or accessories you plan to store here.

Simply arrange on the foam until you feel you have something that works. However there are a couple of common sense points here:

  • Don't place Items too close to each other, or too close to the edge (We need some decent amount of foam between the edges and each part)
  • Don't try to fit too much into the drawer. Keep items related to each other and don't try to contain everything you have! (Again you will start to run out of foam)
  • Don't plan to place single small/thin items on their own that will be difficult to retrieve when using the drawer.

Do have fun and be creative here. though. They are your tools and you want it to look cool when you open that drawer!

Step 5: Marking and Cutting the Tool Slots

Once happy, draw around the items of section off and create areas for collections of loose items (Such as drill-bits). If you are drawing square sections, remember to use the set-square for quality results!

Don't worry about the line thickness here. We want a bit of wiggle room for our items so when it comes time to cut them out, we will use the outside of the line.

Cut out the partitions as marked. Again, use a sharp blade and take care. Don't worry about overcutting slightly on straight edges. You wont be able to see these when all done and better to have a nice clean edge all the way rather than sawing at that last part as you struggle to meet up with another cut.

Once you are done you are left with a spiderweb like network of compartment partitions thats much more flexible than the original foam sheet!

Step 6: Glue the Pieces Together.

Now! Here's where things can get tricky so please read this whole step before doing ANYTHING.

First of all: Lets talk about GLUE!

  • Foam is EXTREMELY sensitive to solvents, which many conventional glues are. So if you are not using hot glue: TEST YOUR GLUE on some scrap foam first.

If it doesn't start to eat into the glue and it sets without incident, its potentially ok.

Hot glue is not solvent based so generally works well where foams are concerned. That being said.....

  • If you are using an industrial or adjustable temperature gluegun, Again test on a piece of scrap foam. if the glue temperature is too high, again foam can melt but generally, we are ok here. A little test doesn't hurt though!
  • The advantage of hot glue is that it sets quickly which is handy here dealing with curly parts

Next up. gluing this irregular form is not without its difficulties:

If your foam has been rolled up and still has that curly disposition we have to be careful. if you start gluing from one edge to another you will quickly find that something has gone wrong, Generally due to the curve of the foam and the lack of foam now holding the shape, your cut out borders have sort of shrunk!

Its common that if you glue from an edge and gradually glue over to the other side you will find that the border section is actually now shorter than the bottom mat! but have no fear we can sort this out .If we don't compensate for this effect the foam wont only not match up. but it will also have a wicked curve that the weight of the tools will have a hard time ironing out.


  • Glue the front centre first
  • Glue each corner (You don't need to use a small spot. you can glue a section of the corner in an 'L' shape, so long as you get the corner to line up
  • Glue the back corners. (Now we have ensured we match the bottom layer)

At this stage you will notice that there are some ugly lumps and bumps in your project! Don't worry, Just start gluing down all the loose edges with a bead of glue from the gluegun. and press flat in turn when they set.

You will notice its getting less and less curved as you do so!

Once finished, don't worry if you have any glue beading out from the joins! This isn't the Olympics! if you so wish, you can remove these with a craft knife.

Step 7: Fit and Enjoy!

Now simply slide our foam sandwich into the drawer, Fit your tools in place and Enjoy!

The weight of the tools will pull the remaining curve down after time! Looks good!

For thicker tools you can try thicker foam or two layers of foam cutout instead of one!

Declutter Speed Challenge

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Declutter Speed Challenge