How to Make a Wooden Desk Organizer (DIY)

By Brittni • Updated on 08/30/2023

A DIY desk organizer that also doubles as a planter!

Minimal wooden desk organizer with plant sticking out of the side, along with notebooks and scissors

I’ve been in major organization mode lately and needed something for my desk that would keep my day-to-day items handy but organized.

Because usually, I just have tons of stuff on my desk and it gets super annoying after a while. 

So, I made this modern DIY desk organizer that doubles as a planter to keep my papers, notebooks, scissors, etc close by without taking up all of my desk space.

I’ve made many DIY back to school projects over the years. There’s…

instructions for making a wooden desk organizer

Materials Needed

  • wood pieces (exact dimensions below in step 1)
  • compact circular saw (I use this one)
  • measuring tape or ruler
  • pencil
  • table clamps
  • wood glue
  • damp cloth or paper towels
  • sandpaper or electric sander (optional)

How to Make a Wooden Desk Organizer

1. Cut down the wood.

Start by cutting down all of the wood you need for the project.

I was able to find a few of the pieces at my local art supply store in the exact dimensions I needed, so I only had to make a few cuts for the extra pieces that I needed.

As you can make straight cuts, it’s super easy to do yourself. Especially if you’re using a smaller power tool, like this one (which is what I use). Once you have the pieces cut, sand if necessary for a super smooth finish. 

Here are the dimensions….

  • 2 wood pieces that are 4.75  x  7.5 inches (these are the side legs)
  • 2 wood pieces that are 6 x 12 inches (these are the long side pieces)
  • 1 wood piece that is 5.5 x 4 inches (this is the inside divider)
  • 1 wood piece that is 4 x 12 inches (this is the bottom piece)

2. Add wood glue.

Next, add wood glue to the two long sides of the bottom piece of wood (the bottom piece is 4 x 12 inches).

The piece that I’m holding in my hand in the photo is actually the bottom piece and the one that’s on the table is one of the side pieces that will soon be attached.

3. Attach the sides.

Attach the two long side pieces (the 6 x 12 inch pieces) to the bottom piece.

These two long side pieces will cover up the sides of the bottom piece to create a seamless look.

4. Attach bottom to sides.

Next, add wood glue to bottom and two sides that will touch the other wood pieces for the middle divider (which is the 5.5 x 4 inch piece) anywhere you’d like to the inside.

I did mine off center, so I’d have one large side for notebooks, etc and a smaller side for pens, pencils or even a plant.

5. Clamp everything and wipe excess glue.

Use two table clamps to clamp everything together while drying, as shown in the photo.

Then, use a slightly damp cloth or paper towels to wipe away any excess wood glue that you can see coming out from the joints.

Let the entire piece dry overnight (or according to drying instructions on your wood glue packaging) with the clamps still attached.

6. Remove clamps and add more glue.

Remove the clamps, make sure that the entire piece is secure / solid and then move onto the raised sides.

Add wood glue to both of the remaining sides that are still open.

Then, flip over (so the very bottom of the piece is facing upward) and attach the two remaining wood pieces (these are the 4.75  x  7.5 inch pieces).

You want the ends of each of those two pieces to be up in the air, like you see in the photo.

Those excess ends will become the legs of the organizer when you turn it back over to use.

7. Clamp everything and let it dry overnight.

Clamp everything together one more time.

Use a slightly damp cloth or paper towel again to wipe away any excess wood glue that you can see coming out from the joints.

And let the entire piece dry overnight (or according to drying instructions on your wood glue packaging) with the clamps still attached.

8. Remove the clamps.

Remove the clamps, flip the organizer over and it’s ready to use.

If there are any areas that seem un-level, you can easily fix it with an electric sander or sand by hand (which will take more time but still totally works).

Just be sure to dust off all of the sanded areas before using.

Note: If you want one side (or both sides for that matter) to be used for housing plants, be sure to insert a plastic liner or something similar before adding your plant. The liner will catch the water and keep your wood from getting wet.

Wooden desk organizer on grey desk with notebooks and plants

Neutral workspace with wooden desk organizer that has notebooks and plants inside

Desk organizer with a planter inside, sitting on top of a neutral desk space

Minimal workspace with wooden, modern desk organizer

Photography Amelia Lawrence

What do you think of this DIY desk organizer? Do you think it would make for a cool back to school project?

14 comments | Click here to reply

This is so cute! I definitely need to make myself a desk organizer! It gets out of hand so fast!


Paige Cassandra Flamm

Awesome. Let me know how it goes.


This is so cute! Definitely want to give this a go!

Natalie Redman

Thanks Hanna. Agreed – it’s pretty neutral for any decor. And you could paint or stain it as well, so there are a lot of options. 🙂


Hi Brittni!

I really appreciate your DIY projects! I love this particular project, it’s something that you can use for anything and it matches well with any decor as well 🙂



Hanna Dumlao

Thanks Baia and Ann. Happy to hear that.


I really love wood DIY, as its easy and looks very beautiful in making for all ages.

Aun kumar

Love this DIY!


Thanks Ursula. That plant is one of my absolute faves in the house.


The combination of unfinished wood + the plant is lovely!

Ursula : {modern diys and home decor inspo}

Ursula Rosien

Thanks Jessica. Big plant baby fan over here too.


great DIY !! loove the plant babies 🙂

Jessica Brigham

Thanks Michelle. I really appreciate that. 🙂


I love the simplicity and the addition of the plant, it looks so good!

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