Weekend Project: Upcycled Desk Organizer

Cables, wire, flush cutters, wire strippers, calipers...

A maker's desk gets pretty messy. Build this 15-minute upcycled organizer to keep your workspace straight.


3  x  13 cm long, 4.8 cm OD, PVC pipe segments*

2  x  15 cm long, 4.8 cm OD, PVC pipe segments*

1  x  16 cm long, 4.8 cm OD, PVC pipe segment*

1  x  10 cm long, 4.8 cm OD, PVC pipe segment*

2  x  20 cm 2.7 cm OD pipe/tube*

1  x   15 cm * 20 cm cardboard/paperboard piece

Hot glue



X-Acto knife

Hot glue gun


Trigger clamp (optional)


*Work with what you have; not mission-critical




Step 1: The Base





For the base, take the three (or however many you have) 13 cm pipes and lay them side-by-side so that they're touching and make sure that the ends are lined up. Then, either using your hands or the clamps, hold them in place while you lay down a line of hot glue between each pipe (as shown above), adhering them together. After the glue has dried, flip all three over and repeat for the other side.

Then, place the three pipes on the piece of cardboard or paperboard. Center the pipes on that piece of board so that an equal amount sticks out from the left and right sides, then line up the front edge with the front of the pipes. This should leave a 2 cm gap at the back.

Next, holding the pipes in that position, lay down lines of glue where the outermost pipes meet the board. Allow it to dry, and the cardboard should be stuck fast.

Finally, take the two 15 cm pipes and place one on each side of the base you've made, next to the three 13 cm pipes (see picture). They should line up with the front and back edges of the board while poking out a bit from the sides. Lay down a line of hot glue where the side pipes meet the center pipes.

Now the base is done! You can turn it over so that the cardboard is facing up, and it should be level.


Design notes: You may be wondering why the side pipes were attached later with what seems to be a weaker connection. This is because I wanted to make the organizer externally seamless (no glue) while making sure that the cardboard doesn't stick out in an unsightly fashion. However, if the side tubes were first glued onto the center pipes, there would be no quick and clean way to glue on the cardboard.

Additionally, you may have noticed that the center tubes leave a slight gap at the back, while the side tubes extend the full length of the cardboard. This is because, for me, the center tubes hold longer USB cables, so the extra space gives them a little of "headroom" to poke out.


Step 2: Rack Mounts






Next up, you'll need the 16 cm and 10 cm pipes. These will be made into mounts onto which you can place a rack of wire spools. The basic idea is to cut each pipe in half lengthwise (as shown above) and cut out notches for your thinner tube to fit into (serving as the rack).

First, draw two small, rectangular notches on the top of each pipe segment. These should be exactly opposite of each other and just wide enough for your thinner tube to fit into.

Holding the pipes vertical, use the hacksaw to cut along the vertical lines of each notch. This should leave you will little "tabs" of plastic that are opposite of each other.

Next, holding the pipes in the same position, start a cut to split the pipe into two symmetrical halves, slicing along the diameter halfway between each tab. Work slowly and carefully to get a (decently) straight cut. Each pipe should now be two half-pipes.

Now, lay each half-pipe down on their open (not rounded) side so that they don't move around. With the hacksaw, cut long the final side of each notch you've drawn. Cut as if you were trimming the ends off, but stop once the cut line has reached the full width of the notch (see picture). If the "tabs" of plastic don't fall out, simply grab them with your hands and bend. They should pop right off.

Now you're done! You should have four half-pipes, each with notches cut out of the tops. Test the fit with your thinner tube.


Step 3: Final Assembly






Now, all you have to do is glue the mounts onto the cardboard. Place each matching semi-pipe facing each other (with the open side in and the rounded side out) on opposite sides of the cardboard. The 10 cm semi-pipes should be in the front and the longer ones in the back.

Now, use the hot glue to stick the pipes to the cardboard as shown above. These only have to sustain vertical weight (going straight down), so you only need to glue on the inside!

Once everything has dried, place the two 20 cm thin tubes onto the mounts. They should slide right into the notches.


You're Done!

Find some wire for the racks, cables for the pipes, and something special for that space left over! Your desk should be freed up for whatever it is that you need to do -- and when you need something, it's right there!


Leave any questions or comments as a reply below, and if you liked this project, don't forget to subscribe!


Happy Hacking!

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