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DIY Desk Organizer Caddy

how to make a desk organizer caddy

Back to school is just around the corner…or not. It’s very likely that kids will keep doing homeschooling, so a little organization is required.

This DIY desk organizer is super easy and cheap to make. It’s practical, thanks to its handle you can use it everywhere and move it around the house easily. You can use it to organize your desk, to store crafts supplies or sewing material.

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The office desk organizer is made out of recycled materials. Did you ever think milk cartons could look that pretty?

Watch the video and follow the tutorial below to make a DIY desk organizer caddy. I also give you some tips to simplify this DIY and make it easy to do for kids.

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diy desk organizer made with milk carton

How to make a DIY desk organizer

Materials you will need for this project

The paint is optional in this project but it makes your desk organizer look much nicer. The inside of milk cartons is cover by a slick grey layer, I suggest you use this kind of paint for good adherence.

Watch the video tutorial of the DIY desk organizer caddy

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Milk carton to make a desk organizer

Let’s start crafting this homemade desk organizer. First collect 6 milk cartons, clean, and dry them. I worked with square base cartons. You can make your DIY desktop organizer with rectangular ones too, just use 6 containers that have the same size.

cut the bottom of the milk container to make the desk organizer

Measure 3 inches (7,5 cm) from the bottom and trace a line on all four sides. Cut following the line. Repeat this step with a second milk carton.

cut milk carton to make diy desk organizer

Take the third carton and again draw a line on all four sides at 3 in. (7,5cm) from the bottom. Cut 3 sides of the carton following the line. Cut the fourth side of the box following the edges. You must end with a small container with a long flap on one side.

cut the flap

Take the top edge of the flap and measure to mark the center. Trace a line between the center mark and the box top edge. Cut along the line.

cut another milk carton to make diy desk organizer

Repeat the previous step to make a second box with a flap. The diagonal on the flap must be opposite at the first one, like in a mirror.

diy desk organizer made with milk carton

Make two more boxes with flaps, identical at the previous ones. This is what you must have at this point: 2 simple boxes, 4 boxes with flaps (2 with the diagonal on the right, and 2 with the diagonal on the left). Let’s continue making this simple desk organizer.

glue milk carton

Time to assemble the DIY organizer. Place the boxes next to each other and add some glue on the sides. Press the sides together to ensure good adherence.

You can see the boxes order on the picture, it’s first a box with flap (diagonal to the right), then a simple box and to finish a box with flap (diagonal to the left).

Do it twice, to have two rows of boxes glued together.

fold the flaps

To place the handle on your DIY organizer, you need to fold the flap. Measure 1 in. (2.5cm) form the top of the flap, trace a line a fold following it. Repeat for each one of the four flaps.

assembled recycled desk organizer

Glue the two rows of boxes together. Add the glue on the flap sides. Press both pieces together to ensure good adherence.

Don’t glue the top of the flaps you have folded. You will need them to add the handle.

glue the handle on diy desk organizer

Cut a 1/2 in. (1cm) dowel to fit into the flaps. Sand the edges and glue the dowel into the flaps to make the handle.

diy desk organizer caddy

Add some more glue and wrap the end of the flaps around the dowel, so it will hold nicely the desk organizer handle.

painting the desk organizer

Paint the inside of the organizer caddy. I used my favorite paint. I should have put a coat of primer before.

The inside of milk cartons is cover by a slick grey layer, so I noticed some scratches in the paint. This kind of paint seems like a better option for this project.

Note that this painting step is optional, you can choose to let the desk caddy as it, with the silver coat visible. If you make this craft with kids, that will be the easiest solution.

cutting wood for diy desk organizer caddy

Let’s turn these milk cartons into a pretty wooden desk organizer by covering the sides with some balsa wood. Take a piece of 3in (7,5cm) width, and cut it at the small side dimension. Sand the edges.

Balsa wood is commonly used to make models. It’s lightweight and easy to cut with a utility knife. You can sand it and stain it if you like. You can buy it by piece in art supplies stores or in a bundle HERE (this is the exact balsa dimension I used and I only needed one sheet)

The wood looks great and I love how it turns out, it definitely makes this easy desk organizer look fancier.

Another good option will be to cover the sides with cute cardstock. There are so many pretty patterns, it’s hard to choose (maybe this one?).

Using cardstock instead of balsa is a great option if you want to make this cute DIY organizer with the kiddos. Cardstock is cheaper and overall easier to cut.

glue wood on desk organizer caddy

Apply some glue on the desk organizer side and glue the wood on it. Cut a second piece of wood to cover the other small side.

Continue the same way to then cover the two long sides

insert dividions in the desk organizer

At this point, your desk or craft organizer is finished. If you like to store some small items in it you can cut two pieces of cardboard, and slot them to make a cross shape. Slide the cross shape in one of the compartments of the desk organizer to divide it.

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diy dsk organizer with handle

And done! You just made a cute desk caddy to organize your desk. It’s super easy to make and perfect if you are on a budget.

As you can imagine you can also use it as craft caddy and sewing supplies caddy…it’s super practical to organize all the supplies. You will probably need to make more than one!

easy to make diy craft organizer caddy

As we have to homeschool our kids, this DIY organizer will help them keep their school supplies organized.

My kids do their homework on the dining room table, so it will be really easy to put everything away once they have to finish them.

No time to DIY?

Check these 5 good looking desk organizers under 15 dollars

You can also watch The DIY caddy desk organizer video tutorial

easy to make diy desk organizer caddy

close up easy to make diy craft organizer caddy

easy to make diy craft organizer caddy

easy to make diy sewingcaddy

As you can see it works great as a DIY sewing caddy too.

how to make a craft caddy

Want to remember it? Save this DIY desk organizer caddy in your favorite Pinterest board

diy desk organizer caddy

You will find all the tutorials featured in the video on my “Best DIY” page.



Thursday 7th of January 2021

great thanks for sharing the details cant find balsa then use table saw for wood cuts easy task:)


Thursday 7th of January 2021

Hey Keith, I'm glad you found an alternative. Balsa wood is the easy way to make the caddy desk without using power tools ;)

Yvette Pugin

Thursday 10th of September 2020

Brilliant idea!! The milk cartons I normally buy are not as tall as yours (more rectangular here in South Africa) but can definitely be used similarly, they also end up in the trash all the time. Have to find out from my local wood supplier if they stock Balsa, otherwise, I'll need to use card stock or cardboard Also great tip about the paint, saves a lot of disappointment if using the wrong type, thank you so much for sharing. Useful storage for my craft room.


Friday 11th of September 2020

Hello Yvette, I'm glad you like it. If you don't find balsa you can use a piece of plywood sheet (3 or 6 mm). I used balsa because it's easy to cut with a utility knife. But if you have a saw, or can borrow one, plywood will work as well. Have fun crafting.


Sunday 26th of July 2020

I have made these before and used for multiple things but I made mine out of 6 pack boxes, for bottles. I have covered with scrapbooking paper, contact paper, wrapping paper, duct tape. It's endless. But I do like the idea of balsa wood also. Just thought a 6 pack box may be more available for some people than small milk cartons. Thank you for your posts, love seeing your different ideas!!


Monday 3rd of August 2020

Hello Kristy, great idea to use 6 pack boxes. Milk cartons are very common in Europe and Mexico, but not that much in the USA. Thanks for sharing this alternative so everyone can make a desk organizer easily. Have fun crafting!