Introduction: Drawer Organizer: Custom Fit to Your Drawer and Contents

This project uses durable hardwoods to make a drawer organizer that fits your drawer - and your things - exactly.

The boards in the organizer have slots so they fit together like a puzzle. Glue is optional if you need a solution that you can disassemble easily.

Step 1: First, Draw Your Plan.

Measure your drawer and the things you'd like to keep in it, and create a graph based on that.

In this case, I have 5 rows of spice jars that measure a bit less than 2" wide, and then some larger spice jars and mixes.

My drawer is 16" wide x 21" deep.

My pieces of wood are .25" wide, and since I will have 5 of them, that will take up 1.25" of the width.**

That leaves a space that's plenty big enough for my needs, so I just went with the remainder for the large spices.

Also, measure the height of your drawer so you can get or cut your wood to size.

** You will have to decide on the type of wood you're using to get this measurement

Step 2: Step 2: Gather Supplies

Supplies I used:

  • 7 pieces of craft poplar (these happened to fit quite nicely for the height of my drawer). You may need fewer pieces depending on your design. I recommend one top and one bottom piece and then as many dividers as you need for your items.
  • Optional: glue to strengthen your joints
  • The finish of your choice. I painted my insert white to match my cabinet, but you may choose to stain and 2seal.


  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Graph paper (optional, for laying out the drawer plan)
  • Chop saw
  • Sandpaper (or rotary or belt sander)
  • Table saw
  • Wood file (optional, for cleanup or enlarging any holes)
  • Rollers, brushes or rags to apply your finish

Step 3: Step 3: Measure Overall Length of All Boards.

In my case, I had 5 21" boards and 2 16" boards.

Measure twice, if you're into that sort of thing. :)

Step 4: Step 4: Chop Away

Use a chop saw to make your first set of cuts to the boards.

Step 5: Step 5: Sand Those Jagged Edges

Use your sanding implement of choice to smooth your edges. I ground down my corners a bit as well.

Step 6: Step 6: Set the Depth of Your Slots

We're going to cut slots in the wood to make this divider go together like a jigsaw puzzle.

First, mark out the depth of your cuts. I suggest going about 1/8" beyond the halfway point in the board so that the surfaces can lie flush. This exact measurement will depend on the curve of your table saw blade.

Measure out half of your board PLUS 1/8" and draw a straight line all the way across every horizontal board. Mark the larger side so you'll know where to put your slots.

Then, measure out half of your board MINUS 1/8" and draw a straight line across each vertical board. Mark the larger side so you'll know where to put your slots.

Step 7: Step 7: Mark Your Slot Positions

As you can see from the picture here, I didn't get the most exact length cuts on my vertical pieces. So what's a girl to do if she wants the slots to line up?

I stacked them all together with their edge on the table and made a line about 1" from each end. That way, the lines were in the same place and I could use them as guides for the slots in the next step.

Step 8: Step 8: Mark Your Slots

NOTE: This picture shows me marking the slots on the wrong side. Please don't be like me and mark the other, wider side of the line.

Use one of your trimmed boards to mark the width of the slots. Line up the outer edge of the line you just made at the edge of the vertical boards and trace the outer edges of your scrap wood.

On the horizontal boards, you'll have several slots as shown in the second photo. Measure these out according to your plan and mark them using your scrap pieces of wood as a guide.

Step 9: Step 9: Saw Your Slots

Use a table saw to saw all of your slots. I found that my .25" boards fit perfectly in a cut that was three notches wide.

Test your widths and depths by sawing a slot on one vertical board and one horizontal board and seeing how they fit together. Make any adjustments to the height and width of the slots before moving forward.

Be careful and use all the proper safety tools for your equipment.

Step 10: Step 10: Refine Your Slots

My slots were a bit rough, so I used a wood file to even them out and remove some rough edges.

Step 11: Step 11: Test Your Assembly

Put your project together to make sure everything fits properly.

If not, you may have to go back to the file or the saw and widen your slots. I had one that was too tight and needed adjustment.

Step 12: Step 12: Paint or Stain and Finish!

Disassemble your project and paint or stain. Don't forget to paint the outer edges, since they'll be visible in your drawer.

Allow to dry thoroughly.

Assemble it and install it in your drawer. Stock it with your goodies and rejoice in your organizational prowess.