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Old Drawer Cubby Organizer

Hey MRL Readers!!  It is good to be here with you, my name is Mindi and I blog at MyLove2Create.  I am one of Gail’s contributors, for those who might be new here. :)
I am excited to share my old drawer cubby organizer with you today!

diy cubby organizer made from old drawers

You guys, I love this project!  Let me tell you why…
Every time I go to Hobby Lobby, I see these cute cubby organizers, in fun colors or rustic wood, with cute labels…and I drool over them, literally.  For some reason I am obsessed with how cute they are and honestly, I don’t care if they are empty, I just love the way they look.  I am too cheap to buy them, because I could make one easily, but I have never done it…until today!  Woot!

diy cubby organizer made from old drawers

Hubba hubba! (ok now you think I am weird, I confess, it is true.)

faux labels on cubby organizer

Complete with cute labels folks!!  LOVE.  Oh…and I MADE those labels, muahahaha!!

I am jumping ahead…lets start at the beginning.

drawers made into cubbies

Here are the two drawers I started with, they were from a four drawer dresser that was falling apart and these were the only survivors.  They were in decent shape I just needed to add some glue and a few nails to make them sturdy.

stacking drawers

I placed them on top of each other to see if my cubby organizer idea would work…and I was happy to see that it totally would!  Sa-weet!

measure and cut shelves and dividers

Rummaging through my scrap pile, I found a fence board and some mdf, both were 1/2” thick and 5 1/2” wide, which was perfect, love it when that happens. :)  I measured my drawers and figured out that I wanted 6 cubbies in each drawer, which would equal 12 total.

I cut two shelf boards, one for each drawer (from the fence board) and 8 cubby dividers (from the mdf), see the photo on the right.

nailing in dividers

After everything was sanded I quickly escaped the freezing cold to my warm kitchen. :)  I started adding the cubbies in the first drawer.  After measuring and marking on the drawer where to place everything I glued and nailed on the bottom dividers and the shelf board.



adding top dividers and nailing in place

I nailed one nail in from the top into each bottom divider (top left) and then pounded in my top dividers (top right).  It was a perfect fit!  I also nailed them in from the top (bottom left) and used a ruler as a guide.  Then I measured and marked on the back of the drawer where all the dividers were, and nailed them from there.  I did this with both drawers.

toenailing boards in cubby organizer

When I added the dividers to my second drawer, I clamped it to the first drawer to use as a reference to make sure the dividers would be lined up perfectly (left) then I glued and nailed them in.  You can see on the two right photos that I am toenailing the dividers into the shelf boards, this is basically driving the nail in at an angle, because the nail gun can not fit into the cubbies.

glue and clamp drawers together

With both drawers built it was time to attach them together.  I added glue the the bottom drawer and attached the backs of each drawer together.  Then I clamped it up while the glue dried.

cutting and attaching front trim,

In order to make a little ledge for my cubbies (an more importantly a place for my labels) I used some more scrap mdf and cut 4-1” strips with my Kreg rip cut and circular saw.  Then I glued and nailed them onto the bottom of each cubby section.

priming cubbies

It is looking so cute!!  I primed it with some left over primer I had, and it went on perfectly…

spray painted cubbies needing touch up

But my second spray paint had a little more trouble.  After several attempts at second coats I gave up.  I guess that is what happens when you spray paint in below freezing conditions.  It was worth it though, because I did NOT want to paint all the cubbies individually, and this was enough of a head start.  I ended up using a very similar color of craft paint to doctor it up and was pleased with the result.  I like it looking a little rustic anyway!

adding paper to back of cubbies

I really wasn’t pleased with the back, however, and so I found some craft paper that I liked and used it as a back drop in each cubby.  I had to do some patch jobs with the paper, but you can’t even tell!  It was easy to cut to size and spray adhesive it so it could stick to the back of each cubby.  You can see in this photo I have already doctored up the poor spray paint job.

spray painting faux labels

I made a special trip to two different craft stores to buy my fun metal labels, and guess what?  They didn’t have enough, I needed 12, AND plus they were way TOO expensive.

So after wasting a couple of hours and coming up empty, I decided to make my own labels.  I have been cutting poster board for another project on my Cricut, and decided that I could cut labels out of it too, since I had lots of extra posterboard.  So I designed the labels and then cut them out.  Then I spray painted them with a coat of metallic silver (probably not necessary) and finished off with Oil rubbed bronze.

attaching faux labels

I had some small screws that were the wrong color, so after pre drilling holes and attaching my labels I sprayed a squirt of oil rubbed bronze on my scrap board and then used a cheap water color brush to paint the screws to match.

labels for faux metal labels

I used the middle section of the original label and had my circuit draw and cut for me, then I just popped them into each label.  I guess you could spray adhesive them, but they fit so perfectly I don’t think you need it.  I am pretty excited about them…I think they look real!  eeeek!

diy cubby organizer made from old drawers

I think the reclaimed wood paper was the perfect pattern for the backs of the cubbies.

store craft supplies in cubby organizer

Now that I have my fun cubby organizer I just have to decide where to put it.  It would be perfect in the craft room…

diy cubby organizer made from old drawers

Or the powder room. :)  In fact it could go anywhere. :)

cubby organizer made from old drawers

I think the bathroom is good spot for now.  The cool thing is, this shelf could just stand alone or it could hang on the wall.  I even thought about adding feet, but until I decide it’s final home, I will hold off.

diy cubby organizer made from old drawers

Who knew two ugly old drawers could be so cute!?

diy cubby organizer made from old drawers

Now I guess I don’t have to drool all over Hobby Lobby any more…at least in one section anyway…

Ok folks, what do you think?  Got any old drawers you could transform?

see more of Mindi’s posts on MRL below:

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A teacher at heart, Gail relishes the chance not to show off her projects, but to help others find their inner handywoman, step-by-step. Her blog, MyRepurposedLife.com, chronicles her scrap-saving adventures and has been featured on countless DIY magazines and websites, including Women’s Day, Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy. She is a longtime influencer for both Krylon spray paint and Gorrilla Glue. With a tribe of more than 400,000 followers, Gail is inspiring a new generation of DIYers to pick up some tools and get to work.
About Mindi


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  1. Wow Mindi, you outdid yourself again! You really have vision and creativity PLUS! That cubby organizer is so nice, everything about it, who wouldn’t want one, or two?

  2. Lisa Waggle says:

    LOVE IT!!!!!!

  3. I just LOVE this idea and think yours turned out perfectly. I have been holding on to two old drawers I found while dumpster diving years ago, wondering what to do with them and this solves it. The color is perfect and as you said, this could be used so many places it will be so practical.
    Thank you so very much for sharing this with us.

  4. Revital Mitchell says:

    Love it! Very creative!

  5. That is an amazing repurpose. I would never have thought your shelves were originally drawers in a million years. I love the backing, the color, the labels….everything. Nicely done.

  6. Cheryl in Wisconsin says:


  7. Maricella says:

    It is super cute! Love it!

  8. Of all your posts this is my favorite. The Cricut labels are genius. Love the whole project!!!!

  9. Earlier this week I took the hardware off of the left over drawers from that blue table. I was stacking them on top of each other trying to figure out how I’m going to use them. I had them on top, beside, and any which way I could place them. BUT your additional boards to separate them into cubbies is genius! I have so many drawers I could probably do a whole WALL of them.

    great use of old drawers Mindi!

  10. I love this… very creative making it out of drawers! One of the best upcycles I’ve seen! :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me! I read and appreciate every word!