Tips on Building Small Wooden Organizers for Kitchen, Bath... and well, beyond.

Organizing Ideas 02.16.16
I see a lot of spice racks and other wooden organizers in the blogosphere built with pine 1x4 or 1x6 lumber. These are functional pieces and the lumber chosen works fine. What you may not know, is that most home improvement centers stock 1/2" hardwood stock now (rather than the 1x material that is 3/4" thick). For instance, half inch thick poplar is about as strong as 3/4" pine, takes paint better, and will give your project a more refined look. The 1x4's on the other hand have a rather bulky look, and take up more space (so, if space is dear--which is usually why the project is undertaken--look for thinner stock).

The last spice rack I built only cost about $8.00 in materials (the cans of spray primer and spray paint cost more than the wood), even though I used the slightly more expensive 1/2" poplar stocked at the local Home Depot. Also, instead of leaving the lumber square, I added decorative ends to match the corbels already in the kitchen. Always look for ways to make what you build fit the style of the home. I just used a jig saw to add these simple details and then sanded the jig saw cuts smooth.

Small pieces like this actually require no nails, screws, or other fasteners, just clamps and glue. Clamps may seem expensive, but can

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  • Zelda?
    Zelda? Albert, OK
    Very good looking spice rack and great information Brian. I was just telling my hubby about the "craft" wood HoDe and L's is now carrying for smaller projects. I love it.
  • Miriam I
    Miriam I New York, NY
    Great info, Brian. Thank you!
  • Meg
    Meg Chagrin Falls, OH
    Thanks so much for this advice. I'm always in good shape at H.D. or L's until I get to the lumber section, where I get very overwhelmed with all the options.
  • Zelda?
    Zelda? Albert, OK
    Meg, just find a clerk. They're always happy to help.
  • Brian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry
    Meg In the HD store nearest my house (and probably in most stores), the smaller dimensioned lumber was in a special little display cube sitting out in an isle in the millwork area. It
  • Meg
    Meg Chagrin Falls, OH
    Thanks again!!!
  • Brian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry
    You are welcome Meg Oh and I should mention that you can buy 4 less expensive clamps for the price of one of the clamps I have (which cost around $35 a piece). The expensive clamps are worthwhile for any serious woodworker though.
  • Comet
    Comet Oradell, NJ
    YA know I have a husband who WORKS for the "L" store and I never KNEW about this wood selection?

    And here he was complaining about possibly having to CUT wood to make some small items like---a---spice rack.

  • Darla
    Darla Montgomery Village, MD
    Poplar is a great wood for building! It's strong and hard, the edges and corners are square and sharp, and it's close-grained and takes paint well.
  • Puchi
    puchi Bronx, NY
    Very nice! What is the actual depth of the rack pictured? Would like to do something similar for mop/broom storage with extremely limited space.
  • Valerie
    Valerie South Africa
    This is a fantastic idea for small kitchen spaces! I really like the way you have added the decorative detail - it just elevates the whole thing to a whole new dimension - thanks so much for sharing and for all the useful information.
Brian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry