Saturday, 16 February 2013

Tutorial: Drawer Organiser

Sounds wickedly exciting, doesn't it?  This is what happens when you can't go out; you spend your Saturday nights organising your stationery. Or maybe that's just me...

Moving on, here is what my stationery drawer looked like before:

Feminist Cupcakes: Drawer Organiser Tutorial

Not great, right? There was all sorts of crap piled in there, and it was damn near impossible to find a pen when you needed one.

This is what it looks like now:

Feminist Cupcakes: Drawer Organiser Tutorial

Much nicer to look at and a hell of a lot easier to fnd what I'm looking for.

The first thing I did was to measure the inside of the drawer. This particular unit is a small filing cabinet with a shallow drawer at the top, and it measures  43cmL x 34cmW x 7.5cmD

I used 3mm fibreboard to build the insert because I had some left over from a project to smarten up one of my bookcases (which I might post about at some point), but pasticard or even cardboard would probably work fine. I cut out:

a base piece at 42cm x 33cm,
two edge walls at 33cm x 7cm
two edge walls at 42cm x 7cm.
three insert walls at 27cm x 7cm
one insert wall at 34cm x 7 cm
one insert wall at 33cm x 7 cm

If you're seeing a problem with these measurements then you're smarter than I am, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Feminist Cupcakes: Drawer Organiser Tutorial
I had to join two pieces together for one wall, but it holds fine

Next I cut out my fabric. I used one cross shaped piece (see picture) and five strips at 15cm x 35cm.

Feminist Cupcakes: Drawer Organiser Tutorial

You need to have the piece of fabric big enough to cover your entire base piece, including the walls. I cut the flaps to cover the walls a little too small. Either that or I measured it wrong, which is also quite likely. Make sure you have the flaps big enough to cover up the inside of the walls and back down the outside with a bit left to glue underneath the base. You also need to make sure that they're long enough to wrap around the corners a little bit or you end up with gaps where the wood shows through.

Now it's time to start assembling. Luckily I had the foresight to line up the walls with the edges of the base piece before I started glueing, because it turns out that when I was cutting them I forgot to compensate for the width of the fibreboard. Did you catch that in my measurements? If you did, give yourself a round of applause and a cookie. So, 6mm off each short piece and we're ready to go.

Feminist Cupcakes: Drawer Organiser Tutorial

Once your box is assembled, lay your fabric inside to check the placement of it and make sure it covers the whole box, swear a bit when it leaves gaps at two of the corners, and decide that it doesn't matter because it'll be at the back of the drawer and you can't see it anyway. Once you're happy with your placement, fold one of the short flaps back to expose the join between the base and the wall and add a line of glue along the join, a little at a time, smoothing the fabric over it as you go. Next do the two long sides in exactly the same way, and finish with the last short side. Make sure to pull the fabric tight as you go and check it hasn't wrinkled anywhere.

All you need to do now is glue the fabric to the outside of the walls and underneath the base. Do the long sides first, then the back, and leave the front for last. Honestly, it's not too important what the outside looks like as you aren't particularly going to be able to see it once it's in the drawer.

Feminist Cupcakes: Drawer Organiser Tutorial

For the interior walls, wrap your strips of fabric around them and trim off the excess. Again, I thought I'd made the fabric strips big enough to wrap around the walls with some excess but 15cm on a 7cm wall isn't quite big enough to get an overlap. Once they're all covered run a line of glue along the bottom of each and stick them into place. I did the three shorter walls first so I could be absolutely sure they fitted (because of course I'd forgotten to compensate for the width of the fibreboard again).

Feminist Cupcakes: Drawer Organiser Tutorial

The wall furthest to the back I only glued along the bottom because the section can't be reached in the drawer without tilting the wall forward.

Feminist Cupcakes: Drawer Organiser Tutorial
There's another compartment back there. Can you tell I don't think things through very well?
Feminist Cupcakes: Drawer Organiser Tutorial
We'll call this a feature rather than a design flaw.
I really wish I'd got a picture of Andy trying to put this in the drawer. It doesn't fit through the opening without taking the front of the drawer off! I think making the walls slightly lower would have sorted it out if it had occurred to me before I started.

Feminist Cupcakes: Drawer Organiser Tutorial
I can actually find stuff in here now!
One last piece of advice: Glue straight out of a glue gun is very hot. Do everything you can to avoid putting your hand in a blob of it because it will remove skin and leave you with a nice big blister.

So is it worse that I spent half of my evening organising my stationery drawer, or that I spent the other half blogging about it?

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