DIY Kitchen Drawer Dividers

6 Materials
$20
4 Hours
Easy

I wanted to add dividers to my kitchen drawers, to help control the chaos! And also to help curb the colourful language that mealtime can sometimes elicit from me. I wouldn’t say I’m savvy in the kitchen, but I know enough that when things start to cook (burn), finding the utensil I need is time sensitive!


I saw a few tutorials online, where they built inserts using ¾” or 1” wood, and simply dropped them into the drawer. And while they seemed easy enough to duplicate and looked really great, I couldn’t help but think that all that thick wood was using up a lot of valuable space in the drawers. So I decided to try something a little different.


My first step was to lay all the drawer contents out on the countertop, into groups. Once I had a clear view of what I had, I purged many items. Seriously, four soup ladles, who was I trying to kid?

So much stuff

After purging, I laid what was left back in the drawers, to get a rough idea of how I should set up my dividers. 

Rough idea

Once I determined the layout of each drawer, I wrote down all my measurements and headed out to the garage.


I had a piece of hardboard that came off the back of an old bookcase in my scrap pile and decided this would make great dividers - not too thick and not too thin (kind of like me). 

Hardboard

The depth of the drawer boxes is 2.5”, so I started by cutting out strips from the hardboard at that width. Then I cut those strips to the length I needed for each divider. I used a jigsaw to make the cuts using the smallest blade I have, which was 2 ¾”. 

Cutting out my dividers

Then I had to decide how to keep the dividers standing upright inside the drawers. They were obviously not thick enough to screw together. I pondered a few different options (to the point they actually infiltrated my dreams), but ended up using a piece of outside corner trim to create brackets. 

8 foot outside trim piece

I cut the 8 foot trim into 2.5” pieces (the same height as the dividers). Then I brought all my pieces inside to finish the project.

Building materials

I had a roll of contact paper that I had bought at a thrift store a couple years ago and decided to cover the hardboard with that. I was concerned it wouldn’t stick to the porous side of the boards. And I was right, after a few minutes it started to peel off. Bugger!

Contact paper, not contacting

I used my heat gun to see if that would help it seal…and that worked out fantastic! I could clearly see the vinyl paper shrink and suction right onto the boards. Heat gun for the win! 


Although as an aside, due to my excitement at seeing how well it worked, I turned off the gun and stupidly laid it down on the rug. So yeah, now I have a scorch mark on my rug. (Tip: never place a hot heat gun on your rug!)

Heat gun

The last step was to glue the brackets into place, to hold up the dividers. I used a tube of PL Premium Construction Adhesive and glued the wood trim to the edges of the drawers and to each other, depending on their layout. In some cases, where I felt extra strength was needed (like with the flatware) I used two pieces of wood, one on each side of the divider to ‘sandwich’ them in place. On the pieces that seemed sturdy enough, I just used one corner piece to glue the dividers in place. 


The glue was slippery until it dried (like snot on a doorknob, as my mamma used to say), so I had to use the measuring tape and adjust them a few times to make sure they were perfectly spaced out and straight. But they were easy to slide around and I simply wiped off any glue trails with a paper towel before it dried. 

Gluing in my DIY brackets

Once everything was set up the way I wanted it, I placed the drawers under the ceiling fan to let the glue fully dry overnight.

Flatware drawer
Regularly used utensil drawer
Occasional drawer

The following morning, I gave the dividers a few good tugs to make sure they would hold up to wear and tear and they were nice and strong!


Then I placed all my stuff back inside. So organized! 

Flatware drawer
Regularly used utensil drawer


Occasional drawer

This was a very easy and inexpensive solution to a common issue I’ve dealt with since I was old enough to have my own kitchen (which is far longer than I’d like to admit to myself).


So other than the scorch mark on my rug, I’m calling this project a success!


PS If anyone is wondering why we have soooo much flatware, it’s because I asked my mom for an extra set for Christmas a couple years ago. I explained to her that sometimes we only have enough dirty dishes to run the dishwasher every other day and often ran out of clean flatware by the second day. 


But what my mom actually heard was…they need enough flatware to avoid running the dishwasher for a week! Why waste hydro and water, if you don't have to! My mom is so sweet and practical. I’ll probably use my left over project materials to make some drawer dividers for her too. 

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Marcia
    Marcia
    on Jan 7, 2021

    Or, go to The Container Store and buy adjustable inserts. That's what I did.

    • Flipturn
      Flipturn
      on Jan 28, 2021

      Some folks are not fortunate enough to live close enough to a Container Store, or live where the shipping costs to buy from them on-line would not be too expensive.

  • Gail
    Gail
    on Jan 11, 2021

    Well done job. Now why not use your heat gun in the garage? I love that you have lots of flatware. I do too. I hate plastic and if I have a large group of family I'd rather use paper plates but i want real flatware!

    • Valerie Burge
      Valerie Burge
      on Jan 11, 2021

      Thank you! :) Yes, using the heat gun in the garage would have been a MUCH smarter idea! LOL Lesson learned! And I'm with you on plastics.

  • TriggMom
    TriggMom
    on Jan 11, 2021

    REALLY liked your project! I hate disorganized drawers. Question: has it made you want to cook more? LOL My disorganized drawers and cabinets certainly discourage me from anything but basic meal making!

    • Trisha
      Trisha
      on Jan 13, 2021

      Make reservations!

      I can’t cook either!

Join the conversation

4 of 98 comments
  • Kathy
    Kathy
    on Jan 15, 2021

    I actually used the cardboard boxes my miniblinds came in to make boxes in my drawers. The height was perfect. I cut one end off to length and then covered with contact paper. Because they went the full length of the drawer, I didn’t care if one end wasn’t there.

  • Ron
    Ron
    on Jan 27, 2021

    What your mom really heard was, "I need more flatware so that I can host family dinners."

    • Valerie Burge
      Valerie Burge
      on Jan 27, 2021

      No joke! I've never known anyone who hates cooking more than my mom. Lol. I've been forced to host the family get togethers for the past 10 years.

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