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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Rotating can organizer

Please read through all the instructions before creating your boxes. It's important you understand the steps you will be taking so you don't get confused along the way. These organizer boxes can be made to fit any size cabinet or can. For heavier cans please use heavier strength cardboard or glue layers together before cutting pieces.

1. To get the height of the box measure across the can. In this case it is just over 2 inches. I added a little and make it 2 1/2 inches for easier math. Multiply this measurement times 2 and add 2 inches more. So it would be 2.5 x 2 = 5 + 2 = 7 inches in height.

2. To get the width of the box measure the height of the can. In this case it's just over 3 1/4 inches so I round it up to 3 1/2 inches to be sure there is room for the cans to roll smoothly. This might sound confusing but you have to remember the cans will be laying on their side so the height of the can actually becomes the width of the box. Like this.

3. To get the length of the box measure the distance of where you plan to store it. The depth of the cabinet I plan to use this organizer is 12 inches deep.  I want some wiggle room in front so I use a measurement of 10 inches.

Now we know we are making a box 10" deep x 7" high x 3 1/2" wide.

4. Corrugated boxes I have for this project have a tougher outside than an inside. The strength is on the outside so plan on keeping these as the outside of my new rotating organizer boxes. When you are cutting apart your cardboard be sure to gently remove any tape. The tape will interfere with glueing and painting later.

5. Cut 2 pieces 10" x 7" for the two sides. (10" depth x 7" height)

6. Now take one of the sides (with the inside up) and mark a tic mark 1" above the lower left corner.

7. Now mark a straight line from the tic mark to the opposite very bottom corner. It should be at an angle.

8. Now go to the upper corner (diagonal from the first corner) and mark a tic mark 2 1/2" down from the corner like this.

9. Now go to the opposite upper corner and make a dot that's 3 1/2" down and 2 1/2" in from the side.

10. Now draw a line from the dot to the tic mark. Like this. The marked lines are going in opposite directions. One angles up and one angles down. Imagine the rolling of the can. It should drop down and drop down again.

11. Ok, all done with that side. Now you need to do one in mirror image on the other side piece.

12. Set one of the side pieces aside for a little bit. It's time to make the shelves.

13. The shelf is the length of the box minus the height of the can. In other words 10" (length) minus 2 1/2" (height) = 7 1/2". The width of the shelf is 3 1/2" (the width of the can laying on it's side). So we need a shelf piece that is 3 1/2" X 7 1/2". WAIT! Don't cut yet. Before you cut the pieces you need to add the glueing strips to the sides. The glueing strips are 1" each. This means the shelf pieces need to be cut 5 1/2" X 7 1/2" . The picture shows you that it comes out to 7 1/2" from the side when you measure the mark. You'll see what I mean about the glueing strips in a moment.

14. For the bottom you need a piece 10" (length of the box) X 3 1/2" (width of the can on its side) plus the glueing strips of 1" each side.

15. Ok so now we cut. Cut the piece as we figured at 7 1/2 X 5 1/2". Then gently score a line 1" from each side. Be sure you don't cut all the way through. You just want to break the surface paper.

16. Now we want to make the piece for the bottom shelf. Which is also the bottom of the box. The measurement is 10" for the length of the box X 3 1/2" the width of the box plus 2". In other words 10" X 5 1/2". Score along the 1" line on both sides.

17. Gently remove the pieces that have been scored on both shelves. The wavy inner core should come off with it leaving only the outer paper. They should look like this.

18. It's time to put glue along the glueing flap and align it with the bottom line you marked earlier on the side piece. It's hard to see the line but it's really there.

19. You want your glueing strips to be up toward what will become the top of the box. This is the way that the cardboard has the greatest strength for holding heavy cans. You also want the cut edges of the shelf to be inside the glueing strips facing toward the top. This will give it more strength too. Like this.

20. Ok, go back to the top shelf you cut before. Peel off the scored glueing strips and glue it to the upper line on your side piece. When you have glued the two shelves to one side it should look like this. I found that using just enough white school glue to make it tacky works best. If you put too much glue on the side strips it takes forever to dry.

21. Ok now glue the shelves to the other side piece. You want to get these shelves done first because it's easier to get the pieces in the right place along the drawn lines. When that's done it should look like this but it's still a little wobbly at this point.

22. Set it aside for now and cut the piece for the back of your box. The size is 7" (height of the box) X 3 1/2" plus the glueing strips. So that would be 7" X 5 1/2". Score the 1" sides and peel off.

23. When you glue on the back..... you want to be sure it's glued to the correct back. (wink) If you glue it on the wrong back you won't be able to roll your cans down to the front as they should. The correct place to put the back piece is where you have a gap between the upper shelf and the "back" of the box. The gap is where the can drops from the upper shelf to the lower shelf bottom.

24. Wrap the glueing strips around the outside of the box to give it the most strength. Also use the glueing strips to pull your box into a better shape. Like this.

25. If you've glued the back on correctly it should look like this. See the gap back there? That's where the cans will drop.

26. Looks great, you've got a lot of it done. You've got the sides, shelf, bottom, and back done. Let's make a top for it now. The top is the length of the box (10") minus the can size (2 1/2") or 7 1/2". Like before the width is 3 1/2" plus 2". So it's 7 1/2" X 5 1/2". Score the two 1" sides and peel away.

27. Glue the top on the box making it even with the back.

28. When you turn it around you will see a gap at the front. This is where you load your cans into the organizer.

29. Now you need to add a "catch bar" for the front so your cans don't just roll out onto the floor. I cut this at 5 1/2" by half the can height. It's actually 1 1/2" instead of 1" like it shows in the picture. Peel the glue strips.

30. Glue this piece to the front bottom of the box. Like this.

31. Now you need to make a front for the upper shelf. Again it is 5 1/2" by the height of the can which is 2 1/2". Score on the 1" lines and peel.

32. Glue it to the upper front of the box at the place where the cans drop in.

33. The box is almost done. Now you need to cut out some side gaps to make it easier to remove a can when you want to use it for cooking. Mark a line even with the catch front going back to just a little less than 1/2 of the can size. My can size is 2 1/2" so I made this just about 2 inches. Then draw a diagonal line to the upper front. Use your utility knife and cut this piece out. Repeat for the other side. I waited until this point for cutting out the gaps to make glueing the box easier to handle.

34. The catch front piece has a weakness along where the glue strips meet the sides. To give this area more strength I glued small pieces of cardboard paper on the inside. Like this.

35. So now then.... the can organizer is finshed. The cans go into the top here. They roll to the back and drop through the gap.

36. Then roll to the bottom front like this. Easy in.... easy out!

37. It fits nicely inside the cabinet.

I could paint this right now to make it prettier but I'm going to wait and do all the painting at the same time. It will be easier to clean up one painting mess than several different ones. I'll make some glueing strips and cover the raw edges too. I don't want the little wavy cardboard showing. I'll also do some kind of labeling too.
As I was making this box and writing this tutorial it occured to me that I need a way to do an inventory of what I have in each box before going to the grocery. Here's what I've come up with. Remove the first can.... mark it with an X.... insert it at the top.... count it as one.... remove the next can (don't mark it) and insert at the top.... two.... the next can.... three.... and so forth until the can with the X shows up at the bottom again.

Also, somewhere on the box.... maybe on the label.... I will write the number of cans the box holds. That way if it holds 10 cans and I only count 6; I know I need 4 more when I go to the grocery.
I must also point out that your cabinets will not store as many cans this way as they would if you stacked them up. The main purpose of these organizer boxes is to make "rotating" easier. It's always difficult to put the newest bought can goods behind the older ones. If you're like me, some things don't get rotated enough and I wind up throwing it away because it has expired. I'd rather store fewer cans than waste anymore food because it expired.

I hope you find the tutorial helpful and that your kitchen cabinets get organized! Please let me know if you use this to make your own. I really do love knowing what I put on this bog is helping someone. I'd love to see pictures of your cabinets after you get some boxes made!! If someone could teach me how to put other people's pictures in my blog I'd love to see them here too.

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