Follow me:

Build your own! Wood Art Organizer with Rope Handle

My kids love to color but it’s always a hassle to find their art supplies because they’re never together in the spot they should be.  I had an idea to build an organizer and could finally put it into motion when I found some panel boards by our dumpster – gotta love free wood!


Dimensions: 11.5″ wide by 8″ tall by 8.5″ deep

Materials and Tools Shopping List:
1-in x 20-in x 36-in Panel Board ($15 @ Lowe’s)
10-foot piece of 1/4-inch cotton rope
3/8″ drill bit
1 1/4″ brad nails (for nail gun) or finish nails (use hammer)
Wood Glue
Wood Filler
Stain or Paint
Polyurethane (I prefer Satin or Semi-Gloss)
1 1/2″ paint brush

Measuring Tape
Safety Glasses
Table Saw
Nail Gun or Hammer

Cut List: (width x height)
2 – 8 1/2 x 8 – inches (ends)
4 – 10 x 4 1/2 – inches (sides and dividers)
3 – 2 x 3 3/4 – inches (small dividers)
1 – 10 x 7 – inches (bottom)
9-foot piece of 7/32″ rope

General Instructions:
I advise you to read through entire plan before beginning. Take precautions to build safely. Always use straight boards. Work on a flat-level surface. Use glue with finish nails for a strong hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects. Ask for help if you need it and have FUN!

TIP: One of the biggest tips I received lately for ensuring accurate cuts is to measure from the fence on your table saw to the side of your blade for your cutting distance.  Don’t rely on the printed measurements on your table saw for accurate cuts.

Step 1 – now that your boards are cut it’s time to make some marks with your measuring tape and pencil.

On both end pieces measure and mark 4.5″ front the bottom corners, then 3″ inward from the top corners.  Connect both marks for your cut line.  For the handle holes, measure and mark 1″ down from the center of your pieces.

For your side and divider pieces you’ll be marking on the top edge (diagram shows large flat surface).  For 2 of your pieces measure and mark 5″ from one end.  For your remaining 2 pieces, measure and mark 3 1/4″ from each end.
Step 2 – cut the marked corners off your end pieces that were marked in Step 1.  With your drill and 3/8″ drill bit, drill a hole in your end pieces centered over the 1″ mark from Step 1.
Step 3 – sand all surfaces and dull sharp corners.

Step 4 – set all your pieces up and double check everything fits and looks good.  Your small divider pieces should be aligned with the marks on your side and divider pieces you made in Step 1.
Step 5 (*see tip below)- now it’s time to attach your small divider pieces to their corresponding side and large divider piece.  You’ll attach the pieces together that have just one small divider piece first so we can use the small divider pieces from the other side to help support our boards while we glue and staple (you will not glue and staple these – they’re just to help space your boards while you attach the small middle divider).  You’ll want your bottom piece under your work since the large divider piece is staggered from the side piece.
Glue both long edges of your small divider piece and align with your center markings on side and large divider piece.  I used my end pieces to smash everything together and make sure everything was square, carefully remove end pieces and hold everything securely with one hand (or you can clamp) while I put a few nails through the side boards into the small divider.  Make sure as best you can that they are centered because you don’t want to miss the small divider and have nails poking through.  If you are not using a nail gun and don’t have clamps you’ll need someone to hold everything together while you hammer nails in.
*TIP: When using a nail gun, you need to have the nails going in with the grain!  See in the above picture how the lines (grain) of my wood are and my nail gun is angled?  This is right.  If I turned my nail gun upright my nails would be cutting across the grain and not go straight through to the small divider piece, but would instead go off to the side. Pulling these finish nails out is not fun!
Okay, now you can do the other pieces for your other side just like you did for the first side.  Remember to glue the long sides of the small dividers and align everything by sandwiching them between your end pieces.  For this side I tried clamping to see if it was easier.  It was a little easier but not necessary if you can hold everything together tightly.
Step 6 – you finished your divider pieces and now it’s time to glue and nail the ends on.
Glue the ends of your divider pieces but not the bottom piece!  We’ll do the bottom piece at the very end.
Get the ends clamped on (or have someone hold everything tight).  Make sure everything is aligned and square.  You should out 3-4 nails through each board.  Look carefully from the top to see that your nails are aligned through the boards before you put them through.  It is nearly impossible to pull them out at this point!

Step 7- pull out your bottom (is shouldn’t be glued or nailed at this point) and turn your organizer upside down.
Glue the bottoms of all your divider pieces and glue around the edges of your bottom piece.
Place your bottom piece in and clamp if you want.  Nail around the outer edge.
I put a nail through each small divider piece.  It can be tricky getting them in the right spot – I did this by looking on the side where I had nailed them in.

Step 8 – wood fill all your nail holes.  I also did the creases between the boards around my bottom piece.
Step 9 – when your wood filler is dry sand it down so everything is smooth.  Remove any dust for painting/staining.

Step 10 – Paint or stain your organizer.  I used Minwax Gray stain.  I love it!  (I purposely left some areas bare for a worn look).  Sand lightly and wipe off surface for clear coat.
Step 11 – Brush on a nice layer of Polyurethane.  It is difficult to get inside the cubby holes but it is worth it!  The poly goes on milky but dries super clear.  I did one coat, lightly sanded and put on a 2nd coat.  The last coat makes a big difference!
Step 12 – last step (and the most fun!).  Let’s make the rope handle!
Put your rope end through both holes making a full circle 2 times around.  Make sure you have a 5-foot long tail on the end you pulled through to make your coils.
Tie a knot close to the end.  Your other end will get caught inside the coils – don’t worry!
Wrap your long tail end around the main handle, catching in the loose end.
Coil your rope all the way to the other end and tie a knot (the same distance as the other side knot).  Pull super tight!
Cut any extra rope off.  You may want to add some dabs of super glue or hot glue just to ensure it doesn’t come loose.

Now fill with all sorts of supplies!  My kids LOVE this organizer!
Previous Post Next Post

- More Favorite Posts -

1 Comment

  • Reply Rodriguez family

    I this this organizer too! I also love that you have your nails painted 🙂

    May 14, 2013 at 10:25 am
  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.