I made nice large drawers for my night stands, but they were unsightly with all the stuff I wanted to put in them. Solution: build drawer organizers! I decided I wanted one large box in the rear and 2 smaller boxes across the front. After building a base layer like this, I found that I could stack these boxes quite nicely and that having a second layer in the back worked even better for organization.
I wanted to make these look nice, but be inexpensive. Using some spare 2×4’s and some luan underlayment that I had laying around, these were essentially free for me to build. I started by ripping 1/2″ wide strips off of the 2×4’s. These would be the walls of the box, making the boxes the standard 1.5″ deep. This turns out to be perfect for organizing a large variety of items and is very easy to get your hands into. In the picture on the left you can see a scrap 2×4 in the background with 2 of the ripped strips in the foreground. On the right you see me cutting these strips to length using the crosscut table on my Ryobi BT3000 table saw. You can see my luan base already cut to size in the left-hand picture.
Since I wanted to make these quick and easy to build, they are simply put together with butt joints and wood glue. No fasteners were used. You can see the end result below.
The first one I put together I clamped with a multitude of standard clamps, as you can see below. A brad nailer would work well here, but I don’t have one. And I wanted to see how well a glued butt joint worked and it it would be durable enough. After 1 month of daily use, I’m very happy that this will last for a very long time. The box shown above sits on top of my nightstand and takes all the junk from my pockets on a daily basis, protecting the surface of my nightstand from scratches.
The picture above on the right shows a method I found that works even better for clamping, especially if you don’t have many clamps. Just use masking tape and pull it tight to hold the pieces together until the wood dries. I did this on many of these boxes and it works great!
These were left in the raw wood with multiple coats of Polycrylic polyurethane brushed on. In this case pine sides with the mahogany base make for a nice contrast. The box above shows that I should have done a better job sanding, but it still looks pretty nice. I brushed about 3 coats of poly onto these boxes with a light sanding in-between. I’m not a huge fan of Polycrylic, but it does clean up very easily.
These could easily be made to look MUCH nicer by using some nice hardwoods, dovetail or box joints, or some stain. Maybe I’ll try that in the future! As they are now, they are extremely useful and I don’t feel bad if they get scratched up by my keys or pocket change. Enjoy!