Ultimate Classroom Table Organiser

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About: Hobbyist crafter and part time seller of unique and personalised gifts

Every teacher knows what a challenge it is to keep all the things organised on a table in a classroom full of 5 and 6 year olds. This organiser was conceived as an entry into an instructables contest for Classroom Organisation ideas..
I asked my partner, who’s a KS1 teacher in the UK, what a perfect organiser would need and what’s things it would need to keep organised. I have a laser cutter in my home workshop so already had some thoughts of what it could look like.
The 'requirements' were that it had to store six each of pencils; erasers; rulers; scissors; and glue sticks plus room for a multitude of coloured crayons. There also had to be a slot to store the task instructions which are printed on A4 laminated sheets. Oh, and it had to look nice and rotate if possible!

Having scribbled a few ideas I set to work designing the basic box and getting the measurements for each item. I use Inkscape as a designing tool as it’s free and open source and I can save my files in a number of formats including the DXF files my laser cutter reads.

This organiser is made from two sheets of 3 mm laser ply.

If you like this instructable, please consider voting for it in the “Classroom Organisation Challenge"

Supplies:

  • 3mm Laser Plywood 600x400mm x 2 sheets
  • PVA glue
  • lazy susan turnatable bearing (optional) plus 4 small bolts or screws to fix this
  • paint (optional)

Teacher Notes

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Step 1:

Step 2: Design the Organiser

To design the box I started by making a very rough sketch of what it could look like. I then took the measurements for all the items that would need to be stored in it. The slot for the A4 instruction sheets was the largest item so this drove the overall dimensions.

I decided to use living hinges and finger joints to create a rounded but solid box.

Step 3: Download the Files

Here's the files available in svg and dxf format. I use Inkscape to do my design work as it open source and free. It's available at: https://inkscape.org/

I've set the blue lines to be my cut lines and red lines to be ignored but are the outline of my sheet of plywood.

Step 4: Cut It!

Use a laser cutter to cut it! I'm lucky enough to have a laser cutter in my workshop but the design is relatively straight forward and you should be able to find a local makerspace or similar to be able to cut this for you.

My laser cutter has a honeycomb bed which means the parts that are cut will get flashmarks on the bottom of the cut where the wood touches the metal of the honeycomb mesh. You can mask the wood before you start, clean it up after (I use a damp micro-fibre cloth) or put the marked pieces on the inside of the box.

Step 5: Glue the Tray

Part of the design has a small tray for collecting erasers, paper clips etc.

To make this I cut 4 outline side pieces and a base and then used PVA glue and clamps to fix this under the appropriate gap on the top piece.

You can adjust the number of side pieces to amend the depth.

Step 6: Attach a 'Lazy Susan' Turntable Bearing (optional)

I considered building a DIY turntable bearing for this part but decided that as this was for use in a classroom environment I opted to purchase a sealed unit for safety.

To make this easier in the final assembly I attached this using 4 small bolts before I started assembly.

I purchased the 100mm version from this link in the UK: https://www.axminster.co.uk/lazy-susan-bearing-ax2...

Step 7: Assemble It!

The design is such that the joints should fit tightly without glue but I recommend using a small amount of wood glue to secure the joints and make the item more durable.

For ease I started with the middle shelf and added the top and bottom next. Where necessary I used a small hammer to ensure the joints were secured.

Step 8: Finish It

Once the box is assembled I sealed the joints with PVA glue and once dry finished with a couple of coats of chalk paint.

Step 9: Ta Da!

Here's the finished item populated with all the items.

I hope you like this and will consider voting for it in the Classroom Organisation Challenge.

Classroom Organization Challenge

Finalist in the
Classroom Organization Challenge

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    2 Discussions

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    Cats Science Club

    4 weeks ago

    This is a great idea. I often wish I had something better then a drawer that is constantly a mess.

    1
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    WeTeachThemSTEM

    4 weeks ago

    I love the design of this! It has a spot for everything students will need and a place for the directions or activity sheet, making it perfect for a station rotation setup. It's really awesome! Great job! :)