How to Build a Desk Organizer

I am excited to show you How to Build a Desk Organizer today!

I love being organized (I love it, but it doesn't mean I always am...which is where this project comes in).  One of the best ways to accomplish this is to have a system.  This project is a great way to keep your supplies in order at your desk or anywhere in your home!
Easy DIY Desk Organizer

I think it turned out so cute!  It is the perfect way to keep those bills, notes, and supplies neat and tidy.

I first shared this project at My Repurposed Life last year as a contributor post.

How to Build a Desk Organizer

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Cut List:
  • 1- 5/8" x 5 1/2'' x 23" Cedar fence board- Bottom Piece
  • 3- 5/8'' x 5 1/2'' x 6" Cedar fence boards- Dividers (cut one end at a 45 degree angle as shown in the photo below)
  • 2- 5/8'' x 5 1/2'' x 6 1/2'' Cedar fence boards- Sides (cut one end at a 45 degree angle as shown in the photo below)
  • 1- 3/4'' x 6 1/2'' x 24'' Plywood- Back Piece
  • 1- 3/4'' x 2.5'' x 24'' (1x3) Front Piece
  • 2- Crib Rails (approx. 1/2'' x 1'') cut to 16" sides of display frame
  • 2- Crib Rails (approx. 1/2'' x 1'') cut to 22'' top and bottom of display frame
  • 1 Piece Chicken Wire cut to approx. 23'' x 16''
Desk organizer cut list

Step 1: Measure and Cut bottom, sides, and divider pieces.

repurposed supplies to build a desk organizer
For this project I used some left over fence boards and crib slats (left) from when I built my Repurposed Crib Paint Shelf.  (which has been totally awesome repurposed project need to check it out!)

I knew these scraps would make a great desk organizer, and after I found some chicken wire, I was in business!

Since I didn't have a plan to go from I will show you the process of how I figured out my build.  If you just want to go by the measurements I gave you, then you can gloss over the parts where I figure it out below, but I think it is valuable to see the creative process. ;)
figuring out how to build a desk organizer
I first cut the bottom piece at 23'', and then the two sides at 6 1/5''. To cut the dividers I just had to make sure they were 1/2'' (the thickness of the wood) less then the sides, which was 6" (top left).

To cut my sides and dividers at a 45 degree angle, I laid out all the pieces and measured up from the bottom for where the front would be (top middle).  Using a crib slat (top right) I measured from the back (1''), and then drew a line to match the two edges (bottom left).  I cut all the boards on this line at a 45 degree angle. See photo under cut list above for detailed reference.

Step 2:  Cut front and back pieces to size.

measure and mark front and back of organizer
For the front and back pieces I grabbed a scrap 1x3 board and a scrap piece of plywood.   My plywood happened to be exactly the right width (6 1/2"), couldn't have planned it better!  Using my bottom board and dividers as a guide I marked my cut lines and trimmed the boards to fit (24").

Step 3: Measure and Cut Display Frame pieces (part that holds the chicken wire).

using repurposed crib slats to build a display frame for a desk organizer
For the chicken wire frame, I grabbed the crib slats and used my organizer as my guide to measure and cut them to the correct width.  I just guessed at how tall I wanted it to be, you can modify it to fit your needs.

Step 4: Drill Pocket Holes, build Display Frame and attach Chicken Wire.

using a kreg jig to drill pocket holes
Using my Kreg Jig K5 I drilled 1/2'' pocket holes into my crib slats.  I also drilled 4 pocket holes into the bottom slat (right photo) so I could attach it to my organizer with pocket hole screws.  I used the Kreg Jig Micro Drill Guide System to make the pocket holes smaller, since the slats were so narrow, if you don't have this smaller system just use the normal size.
build a display frame
I clamped my frame down and drilled the slats together with 1'' pocket hole screws and wood glue.
attaching chicken wire to a display frame
Next, I trimmed my chicken wire with pliers that I had to open really wide to get to the wire cutter part (I should have run to the garage to get the tin snips!).

Then I used a Staple Gun to attach the chicken wire onto the back of the frame, at this point I got smart and went to get the scissors to trim off the extra wire after stapling.

Step 5: Build the desk organizer.

desk organizer tutorial
I used wood glue and finish nails to build the desk organizer.  I started by attaching the two sides (top left).  Then I added the dividers (top right).  Next, I added the front and the back (bottom) making sure to nail into all sides and divider pieces.  You can space the dividers how you desire, to fit your supplies, I just evenly spaced mine.
attaching display frame to desk organizer
To finish it off I added glue to the back piece and screwed on my crib slat chicken wire display frame with 1'' pocket hole screws, and that finished the build!

*TIP* If you are worried about at the back of the frame and the sharp chicken wire edges you can cut small strips of felt and hot glue them over the exposed wire edges to prevent scratches and injury. :)
tool organizer
I packed in my tools to carry it inside...and realized it would be great in the workshop too, awesome!

Step 6: Finish as desired.

spray paint desk organizer
As most of you know I have a thing for blue...but honest truth, my kids picked this color!  Ha ha, I have trained them well! :)

This color is left over from my Standing Coat Rack, I love using spray paint on these types of projects!
chalkboard labels and washi tape on clothes pins
Once the paint was dry, I went to my old standby of I Love Chalkboards.  Instead of painting them on I remembered I had these cool stickers left over from my Cubby Storage Rack, and they saved the day.   (In hind site I would paint them on, some of the chalk board stickers stayed, but some were peeling at the edges, fyi...of course I did get them at the dollar store...)

When I went to my craft room to find the chalkboard stickers I got side tracked and saw the washi tape.  It reminded me of my Repurposed Hook Shelf...and I ended up decorating the clothes pins.
build an organizer for your kids desk or art supplies
Here it is before I went a little crazy with the washi tape!
home office organizer
I love how easy washi tape can add some pizazz!  Plus, it is easy to remove too, just another bonus.
Repurposed Desk Organizer Tutorial
The addition of the chicken wire display frame is great for photos, quotes, important notes, or whatever!
Organize your desk in style!
Now that you know how to build a desk organizer don't you want your own?

I hope you found this useful!!

Happy creating!



  1. Really nice project. It looked fun to do also. I love wood projects!


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