How to make a Custom Deep Drawer Divider

I’ve got an easy DIY project for you today – a custom deep drawer organizer with a sliding tray! You might remember the easy DIY drawer dividers that I made for our kitchen last summer. At that time, I was undecided about how I wanted to configure our deep drawer (that holds mostly cooking gadgets), so I left it for another time. Well, that time is now. See the tutorial below to learn how to make a custom deep drawer divider.

Here’s a before picture of our deep drawer. Admittedly, it’s pretty organized already, mainly due to a mini makeover it received last summer when I organized the other kitchen drawers. As you can see, the remaining smaller gadgets are still cluttered and piled on top of each other. You may have a drawer that’s similar, but it’s easy enough to conquer by following the steps below.

Deep "gadget" drawer before
OXO Good Grips Expandable Dividers

Custom Deep Drawer Divider Tutorial

Skill Level: Beginner

Tools:

  • Miter saw or miter box and hand saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Loctite Express Power Grab glue or wood glue
  • Measuring Tape
  • Speed Square or straight edge
  • Pencil
  • Brad nailer and 3/4″ brads (optional, but recommended)

Supplies:

  • (1) 1/4″ x 5.5″ x 48″ Hobby Board ($7.47)
  • (2) 1/4″ x 1.5″ x 48″ Hobby Board ($3.28)
  • (3) 1/4″ x 3.5″ x 48″ Hobby Board ($4.86)

Approximate Cost of Supplies = $28.61

Step 1: Measure and Make a Box

Build a box made of hobby boards that will line the inside of the drawer. This box will support the sliding tray and provide a place for the drawer dividers to be glued.

Measure the drawer box front to back and transfer that measurement to the 1/4″ x 3.5″ x 48″ board. I chose the 3.5″ hobby board for our deep drawer because it’s tall enough to hold the boxes of foil and plastic wraps in place, as well as contain our large ladle and skimmer spoon.

How to make a DIY Custom Deep Drawer Divider - 3.5" poplar hobby board
Hobby board that will make up the box and the dividers.

Then cut 2 pieces of hobby board for the left and right sides and dry fit them inside the drawer. Sanding the board ends to smooth any frayed edges (optional). Measure the distance between the right and left boards for the box front and back. Use that measurement to cut the other 1/4″ x 3.5″ x 48″ board to make the front and back of the box. Glue all parts of the box together inside the drawer.

Tip: Gluing the boards together can be messy, so it’s best to keep a few damp paper towels close by to clean glue from the boards and your fingers. Since the boards fit snuggly, I decided to use the glue like it was caulk, running a bead along the joints and using my finger to press the glue into the joints.

Here’s the completed box frame.

Box built inside drawer box
You can see the bead of glue in the joint in the back right corner of the box.
Step 2: Divide and Conquer

After pondering how many dividers we wanted and needed, I settled on the simplicity of three divided areas; one for foil and plastic wraps and two others for gadgets and kitchen tools.

I made a small mark with a pencil on the top of the box (this can be erased later) to mark where the dividers should be placed. I then measured and cut the divider boards and glued them into place.

Tip: In order to hold the dividers securely in place while the glue dries, I used spacers cut from scrap wood on one side of the divider board and something heavy on the other side like a tape measure (in this case, a tofu press).

How to make a DIY Custom Deep Drawer Divider - dividers held in place while glue dries
A tofu press (foreground) and scrap wood spacers hold the divider in place while the glue dries.
base of deep drawer. dividers completed
The divided deep drawer.
Step 3: Put a Tray on It

Now that the dividers are in place, it’s time to construct the sliding tray using the 1/4″ x 5.5″ x 48″ Hobby Board as the tray base and the 1/4″ x 1.5″ x 48″ Hobby Boards for all four sides.

How to make a DIY Custom Deep Drawer Divider - 1.5" and 5.5" hobby boards
Hobby boards that will make up the tray base and sides. Both poplar and oak work great.

Measure the width of the drawer and cut the 5.5″ board (this will be the base of the sliding tray). Dry fit the 5.5″ tray base on the divider box to make sure it has enough room to slide. Next, measure the width and length of the tray base to make the tray sides. Measure, mark, and cut the 1.5″ hobby boards and glue into place.

Clamps on sliding tray while glue dries
The sides of the tray are glued and clamped to the tray base while the glue dries, about 10 minutes.
Step 4: Nailed It! (optional, but recommended)

To ensure that the tray components stay together, I used a brad nailer and 3/4″ brads to secure the tray sides to each other and to the tray base.

How to make a DIY Custom Deep Drawer Divider - nail gun used to secure sides to each other and to base of tray
completed sliding tray
Voila! Completed tray!

Once the tray was in place, I found that it didn’t slide along the box as well as expected. In order to remedy that, I grabbed an old candle and rubbed it along the bottom outer edges of the tray base to eliminate any friction between the surfaces. That did the trick, and now the tray slides without any drag!!

How to make a DIY Custom Deep Drawer Divider - DIY custom deep drawer divider and sliding tray
DIY Custom Deep Drawer Divider and Sliding tray

This project took only a few hours to complete and was well worth the time and effort. The sliding tray is the icing on the cake; it’s just what we needed to corral some of our smaller gadgets.

Now onto the junk drawer…


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