Toolbox Socket,wrench, Pliers Drawer Trays on the Cheap and Easy




Ever want to find all your sockets in one go? don't wanna spend big bucks on lasers or blow molded drawer inserts?

Step 1: The Basics:

I don't know about you, but I'm not made of money. If I could afford a "laser" like Dr. Evil to cut foam inserts for my toolbox I wouldn't waste the money, I'd buy some stocks. I also don't like the Snap-On guy, the prices are too high and the interest rate is nearly usury. I recently had my toolbox stolen and had to go buy a new (used) one from the Pawn shop, Pawn shops are great for buying tools. Some sucker buys a bunch of expensive tools and then loses the job and pawns the stuff, I snap it up at a discount!

Anyway, part of the problem with buying Pawn Store tools is that they are rarely matched sets and that means they don't fit into the pre-made toolbox trays, not that I would buy them anyway. I thought this would give me a chance to show how I've been making inserts for 20 years now, so that I can spread the DIY-no-debt love

First, clean out your box and figure out what will go into each drawer. vacuum and scrub that puppy!

Step 2: Materials

Some of this wall insulation foam stuff is the best. Inch thick and three inch thick will do. I get mine as cast-offs from construction sites but Home Depot sells the stuff pretty cheap for a sheet and leftovers make great tombstones for Halloween with a little grey house paint. Cut it to the size of your drawer with a carpet knife or raid the kitchen for the electric turkey carver, just don't get caught with it in the Garage. Peel off the vapor barrier plastic coating, it gets into the way.

Step 3: The Tools

It's a Burr Bit. In a multi-tool. This thing is meant to rasp on wood, it will cut foam like a hot knife through butter. I got a variety set from the Harbor Freight for about 3 dollars. An Angle Grinder would work if you don't have a rotary tool, not a drill though, that's too slow.

Step 4: The Layout

Lay out all the tools, draw around them with a Sharpie. try to get the placement right the first time, unlike me.

Step 5: Rasp Out the Shapes

Multi-tool makes short work of the foam. you don't need to go all the way through, its prefered if you don't as having only one piece will make the thing more sturdy. just carve the foam and test fit the tools as you go along. screwdrivers take a thin cut to make the shaft slot, use a pointy bit.

Step 6: Label the Thing

This is optional, I like to write down what goes where with the Sharpie if it isn't super obvious. Sockets are prime for this. Sharpie to the Rescue!

That finishes it, the other guys tease me about all the pink in my box, I point out that their boxes are full of pink too- all those tool truck receipts- and that I can have quite a bit of fun with the green still in my pocket!


The tray isn't resistant to solvent, oil really doesn't hurt it but spray paint or brake clean goes right through it. clean your tools before you put them up.

making the tray creates an unholy mess of pink foam fibers. Be prepared for some sweeping. Don't breath the stuff, keep it out of your eyes.



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    7 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    The foam takes up too much room. I just pack my tool box so full of tools they hold each other. I do use some of that drawer liner stuff to keep them from sliding around though. Some of that crap sucks though. It falls apart, and sticks to my tools!

    5 replies

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Drawer liners are what I used at first too, but I move my box a lot and it rattled everything all over the drawers.


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    You're right. Stuff still slides on liner. But it helps to some degree. It is really about all I can do. My tool storage changes a lot.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Best, easiest method I've seen... layout tools upside down as desired in clean drawer bottom, cover with material of choice, clamp board with hole over top of drawer, inject expanding weather-proofing foam. After cure, invert...


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Just when I don't think I'll get a new tool, I do. Then I have to rearrange everything to fit it in. So none of these fitted tool solutions would work well for me.


    3 years ago

    Well written Instructable. Thrilled about the advise to check pawn shops too, tools are expensive! Nice one!