Introduction: Plastic Jar Organizer

About: I am a 3rd year Industrial Design student at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. My projects and other projects are available on the universities Instagram page (…

This is my first Instructable as well as my first Instructable competition. I have been organizing my grandads’ workshop for the past couple months and he had a very large selection of plastic containers and jars. This organizer was a way of keeping the workshop tidy as well as being an easy way to find screws, nuts, bolts, and other small miscellaneous objects that always appear around a workshop. This project is a relatively simple project that can be made with a limited number of tools and a relatively small amount of MDF or another flat board


· Table saw, bandsaw or jigsaw (to cut out slots for jars)

· Wood screws

· Wood glue

· Drill/electric screwdriver

· Pencil

· Measuring tape.

· I used 6mm MDF and 22mm MDF for this build. Each shelf is 570mm by 110mm and can hold 6 plastic jars. The amount of wood used depends on the number of shelves you want and the number of jars you have. My organizer had 14 shelves and can hold 84 plastic jars

· Plastic jars (duh). Empty honey bottles also work well to store screws and other bits and bobs.

Step 1: Step 1 - Cutting Out Shelves

The MDF planks I used for the shelves were already pre-cut as I got them from an old CD organizer. Each shelf holds 6 jars and 6 slots (50mm deep by 61mm wide) are cut out of the plank for this purpose. There are a few methods of doing this.

Method 1 – Table saw

Stacking 7 boards at a time using either double sided tape, clamps or screwing the boards together raise the blade to 50mm above the table and cut a series of lines through all the boards to create the rectangular holes. If you have a dado stack that would be ideal but it is possible to do it with an ordinary blade.

Method 2 – Band saw

This method involves cutting the slots out by following the outside of each square and then using a series of relief cuts to remove the bulk of the internal material and then using a file to get to final dimensions.

Method 3- Jigsaw or scroll saw

Very similar to the bandsaw method but the boards can only be cut in a set of two stacks or one at a time to preserve accuracy and keep the edges neat.


These saws are dangerous and can hurt you if you are not careful. Always use a respirator and a facemask as well as being aware of your surroundings. The table saw is especially dangerous with the blade so high so only use this method if you are comfortable with the machine.

Step 2: Step 2 - Shelf Supports

To giveeach shelf support and to stop them sagging under the weight of the filled jars three pieces of 22mm MDF are added to each. One in the center and two on either end. These pieces are 50mm by 60mm ( I adjusted the initial sketch once I started making them ). I screwed each in with a single screw and used wood glue for extra reinforcement. The shelves are now finished

Step 3: Step 3 - Adding Shelves to a Board

The shelves can be used and attached in a variety of ways. I attached all of mine to a large board of 6mm MDF and used a French cleat to attach it to the wall. I used three screws total on each shelf attaching from the back with a generous portion of wood glue. For the regular sized jars I spaced them 110 mm apart and for the larger jars I spaced them 130 mm apart.

Step 4: Finished !

Tips and advice

· MDF is very prone to water damage so if it is near water or humidity it is essential to finish the shelves with either paint or varnish (or another water-resistant finish)

· MDF is prone to splitting so every hole needs to be pre-drilled and countersunk with the correct size drill bit for the screws you are using.

· Finally MDF is really absorbent so use more glue than you normally wood to get a good strong connection.

. This is one of my first wood working projects and I am very happy with the way it turned out. This project looks very nice and works exceptionally well. The jars are easy to remove, and store and it can be customized to fit any number of jars. It can be made in several ways, but this design has all the essential features. If your jars are slightly wider than mine just adjust the size of each cutout in the shelf.

Thanks for taking the time to read my Instructable

Gabriel Gibbon

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