This handy office supply tray has slots for keeping items separated, and fits perfectly in our DIY Filing Chest.


Cost: $12

Time: 1 hour

Difficulty: Moderate. The cut are simple, but the assembly requires some accuracy with the pneumatic nail gun.

Tape Measure

Speed Square


Miter Saw

Circular Saw

Pneumatic Nail Gun

(2) ½” x 2″ x 36″ Hobby Boards to create the Dividers

(1) 1 x 3 x 6′ to create Tray Sides

(2) ½” x ½” x 36″ Square Dowel to create the Cleats

(1) ¼” x 2′ x 2′ Plywood Project Panel to create the Tray Base

1 inch Finish Nails to secure the Cleats and assemble/secure the Dividers

1¼ inch Finish Nails to assemble the Tray Sides

Wood Glue

1 x 3 Tray Sides – 2 @ 18 inches

1 x 3 Tray Sides – 2 @ 11½ inches

½” x ½” Cleats – 2 @ 15½ inches

½” x ½” Cleats – 2 @ 11½ inches

½” x 2 Horizontal Divider – 1 @ 16½ inches

½” x 2 Vertical Dividers – 3 @ 7¾ inches

¼-inch Plywood Base – 1 @ 16½” W x 11½” D





1. Cut the Parts


Using the cut list above, cut the parts to size. If the plywood pieces weren’t sized at the homecenter, try using our simply DIY Cutting Fence with a circular saw.

Tip: For small parts like the Cleats, I prefer using our DIY Safety Cutting Jig.


www.Build-Basic.com2. Attach the Cleats (Part 1)


On the longer 1×3 Sides, center the 15½-inch cleats along the bottom edge of each board. Apply wood glue to the Cleat, and then clamp the pieces in place to dry. Using a pneumatic nail gun, sink three 1-inch finish nails into each Cleat to hold it in place. Be sure to keep the nails at least 1 inch from the ends of the Cleat to prevent splitting.

3. Attach the Cleats (Part 2)


Following the same method described in Step 2, attach the remaining Cleats to the remaining 1 x 3 Sides.

4. Assemble the Tray Sides


Apply wood glue to the ends of the shorter 1 x 3 Sides, and then place them between the longer Sides. Using a speed square, position the parts before clamping them in place. Shoot 1¼-inch finish nails through the long Sides and into the ends of the shorter Sides to hold the pieces in place.

5. Mark the Horizontal Divider


Using a speed square, mark the 3¾-inch spacing between the vertical Dividers on the horizontal Divider.

6. Assemble the Dividers


Apply wood glue to one end of each vertical Divider, and then place it between the marks made on the horizontal Divider made in Step 5. Using a speed square, adjust the positioning, and then clamp the parts in place. Using the pneumatic nail gun and 1-inch finish nails, secure the Dividers by carefully nailing through the horizontal Divider and into the ends of the vertical Dividers. (Note: Don’t worry if the Dividers will still feel wobbly; they’ll become more secure once attached to the Plywood Base.)

7. Mark the Divider Layout


Place the assembled Dividers onto the underside of the Plywood Base. Again, use the speed square to adjust their positioning. Using a pencil, mark and outline of the Dividers on the Plywood.

8. Insert the Plywood Base


Apply wood glue to the surface of the Cleats, and then drop the Plywood Base into place.

9. Insert and Secure the Dividers


Apply wood glue to the underside and ends of the Dividers, and then place them into the Tray. Adjust the position of the Dividers, and then clamp them in place against the Plywood Base. Flip the assembly over. Using the pneumatic nail gun and 1-inch finish nails, secure the Dividers by shooting nails through the underside of the Plywood, and into the Dividers using the marks made in Step 7 as a guide.





3 thoughts on “Build a Office Supply Tray

  1. Anonymous

    I think this would be a great idea to use an old cedar chest and keep it in the family , instead of using a steel filing cabinet that is very cold looking compared to a nice old oak cedar chest.


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