Saturday, January 21, 2012

Kitchen Drawer • New Idea

I had a problem drawer in my kitchen. Odds are you do too. This drawer is the one directly to the right of the cooktop and has my main cooking utensils. This morning I crafted a new divider system and it is no longer a problem. Take a look....

This is the drawer before I started on the reorganization......

The drawer looks fine but it has one of those one-size fits all drawer inserts and a huge portion of the available space is wasted underneath. My kitchen just isn't large enough to tolerate wasted space!

Take it out and look at the large margins of space that are blocked off.

I considered building a custom wooden tray to maximize usable space but wanted to use a thinner material. After considering and discarding many options I thought of plastic corrugated sign board. 

It is lightweight, thin but strong and washable. It is also easy to cut and I figured easy to assemble using the old stand by - duct tape! I purchased a 24" square of the plastic corrugated board in the sign department at Lowe's. I should have purchased two and had to scramble at the end to have enough material. Cost was about $5.

First I took all the utensils and used them to help me plan the new drawer layout. I discovered that, whereas the old tray had four compartments, the drawer had enough space for six!  This was my planned layout.

Next I determined the depth. Part of the problem with the pre-made unit is they all have unnecessarily low walls, again reducing storage area. I wanted to maximize the depth as well so I measured to determine the maximum height. Here I made a mistake which I discovered later. Read on so that you don't make the same mistake.

The corrugated board was easy to cut using a single edge razor blade and metal ruler.  I worked on my self-healing cutting mat. I cut the board into strips just over 3" high. (Note: It is impossible to take action shots of one's self. You need to imagine my hand directing the razor blade. It was holding the camera instead!)

As I cut the pieces, I tested them in place regularly. I discovered, because the walls were high, I couldn't get the drawer back into its slot. The wheels on the sides need to lift up and over the stops in the rails to reinsert the drawer. Luckily I was checking and I cut a notch out of the back of the four pieces affected. I did leave the front compartments with higher walls though.

I also put all the utensils back in to make sure they were easily accessible. I do want more storage but not at the expense of functionality. Looks good!

I happened to have on a hand a roll of the Platypus Designer Duct Tape in denim blue.  My backsplash is also a similar shade of blue so I used this duct tape. Love it.

First I taped all the joints on both sides.  I made an effort to stay square and trimmed each piece of tape even to the board.

I used some of the scrap board to make spacers to help hold pieces in place as I taped them. The spacers were then removed.

This part took the most time because there were a lot of seams to tape.

After all the joints I also tape the top of all the dividers. I figured leaving them open would just create a crumb catcher.

I cut 45º angled slits at all the joints and carefully fitted the tape in place. It is very sticky and held well but I could peel it off and try again when I wasn't pleased with the result.

Looks kind of like a mouse maze but finished up quite nicely.

I purchased a roll of drawer liner that matched the blue and lined the drawer before inserting the new dividers. Be careful to leave enough clearance in your height if you choose a padded drawer liner.

I put it all together and moved in.  Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning! I like the looks and I clearly increased storage by a third, maybe more.

Now onto the drawer next to the sink. That one is hopeless, I fear.

Check out the other posts in my Organizing Series

©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy  

This post has been shared at:


  1. Pretty spiffy. Love that tape you found. Visiting from Motivate Me Monday.
    ~Kimberlee, The Spunky Diva

  2. Great project! I have quite a few of those "problem drawers" in my kitchen... this is a really nice fix!

    1. Rochelle,
      Thanks for the comment. This weekend I move onto problem drawer #2. The beauty of this approach is that is can be totally custom to your drawer and your utensils without the need for power tools!

  3. This is great! Thanks so much for sharing. I hadn't thought of making my own out of corrugated sign plastic. As a side note ... I had been wanting some plastic like that and wondered where to get it. Now I know!

  4. Thanks for sharing your ideas because I've been wanting to use this material to build a kitchen in a custom RV to keep the weight as light as possible. I actually plan to use it for the interior walls along with wood trim. Thanks again for your inspiration!