Friday, January 24, 2014

How to Make Slide-Out Hanging Organizers for Closets

How to Make Slide Out Hanging Organizers for Closets
See these Slide Out Organizers and more in the completed master closet makeover!

Do you have places in your closet that would be great to hang extra hooks for storage but are a little harder to reach or see towards the back? An extendable slide out bar with hooks is a great solution to maximize space while making things easily accessible. Years ago, Rick and I made these slide-out necklace organizers together for each side of a deep shelf in our closet. I use them all the time! I like these organizers so much that we recently took that same concept and made even more sliding organizers for other corners of our closet for belts, ties, and extra clothes hooks:

How to Make Slide Out Hanging Organizers for Closets

Slide it out, grab a belt, tuck it back in - Woohoo!
How to Make Slide Out Hanging Organizers for Closets

The great thing about making your own sliding hook organizer is customizing it however way you want. For Rick's side of the closet, he added some pegs for his ties AND some hooks for belts on one slider:
How to Make Slide Out Hanging Organizers for Closets
You don't have to do anything decorative to these, but why wouldn't you?! I added the black and white damask onto the necklace holders and stripes on to the other slide-outs by decoupaging with good old Mod Podge. You can also paint them to match your wall or shelf color or paint them with a pop of bright color.

I've put as much detail as I could think of in the tutorial below to help you out, but here's how to make a slide-out hanging organizer in a nutshell: 
  1. Route a channel out of the back of a wooden board
  2. Add one part of the drawer slide to the back of the board 
  3. Mount hooks on the board
  4. Add the other part of the drawer slide to wall or shelf
  5. Attach board to wall or shelf by connecting the drawer slides back together
  6. Hang your stuff and slide away!
{Tutorial} How to Make Slide-Out Hanging Organizers
This will make two organizers since these slides usually come in pairs

Materials used:
  • 1 pair of full extension drawer slides. We used 16” slides like these. They come in a variety of sizes – use whatever size works for your space. FYI - sometimes I'll call this the drawer slide mechanism or drawer slide assembly.
  • Two pieces of wooden board, 2 ½” – 3” wide, cut 1-2” longer than drawer slides. We used 2 ½” wide primed MDF boards and cut them down to 18” length since the depth of our area is 19” – you would use whatever size works for your space. The boards should be 3/4 - 1" thick to allow enough room to route out the back for the drawer slides and still give you enough surface to screw through.
  • Hooks. Use whatever kind of hooks you want - cup hooks for necklaces and belts; pegs for ties; larger hooks for clothing. You can even add a small towel rack.
  • Decorative paper, fabric, or paint, optional
  • Decoupage medium like Mod Podge, optional
  • Note: The drawer slides usually come with screws but they might be too long depending on the thickness of your board after you've routed it out (see below); you'll probably need to purchase shorter screws so the screw tip doesn’t poke through to the other side of the board. You might also need some flat washers to keep that tip from poking through.
Tools used:
  • Router using a straight bit
  • Saw
  • Screwdriver
  • Cookies or some other snack containing chocolate - don't underestimate the power of chocolate to fuel a DIYer

Figure out your measurements for your own space. A good rule of thumb is to cut the wood boards 1-2" smaller than the depth of your space; the drawer slides should be about 1-2" smaller than the length of the wood boards. This really is just a suggestion; you can easily adjust this to whatever will work for your space.

To get the bar to sit almost flush against the wall, you'll have to cut a channel on the back of the wood board for the drawer slide to sit in. Using a router with a straight bit, route a channel into the back of the board, making several passes until you get the size and depth of channel you want. Use the drawer slide as a guide to mark your board, like this. Keep the drawer slide on the back end of the board so the slide mechanism can extend out, and keep the front end closed off:

The channel should be deep enough for the drawer slide mechanism to sit just slightly higher than the channel (you don't want it deeper than flush or even flush, otherwise the board will scrape against the side of the wall every time you slide it in and out). Measure the depth of the slide and mark the depth on the back end of your board. Now that you've got it all marked up, route that baby out.
Don't ask me why we don't have a picture of it actually all routed out, we just don't. DOH! Just know that shaded out space is where we routed out the channel. 

If you want to decorate the front of your wood board, now is the time to do it after the back has been routed out but before you put on the sliding mechanism. You can decoupage paper or fabric onto the board using several coats of Mod Podge like I did with the damask and stripes, or you can paint the front any way you'd like. Let everything dry completely before moving on to the next step. This would be a good time to eat a cookie or other chocolate-y snack.

Now we're going to attach the drawer slides (follow the instructions that come with your own drawer slides, they may be slightly different than these) but before we do that, we're going to have an exciting lesson in drawer slide mechanisms. Seriously, it will help to understand the names of each piece of the drawer slide mechanism as I ramble on about them - meet the cabinet member, slide member, drawer member, and release lever. 
How to Make Slide Out Hanging Organizers for Closets
Image from the Brassware Company

NOT these cabinet members.
How to Make Slide Out Hanging Organizers for Closets

Separate the drawer member from the rest of the drawer slide mechanism using the release lever. The slide member stays with the cabinet member - they're just attracted to each other that way.

Attach the drawer member to the inside center of the routed wood board using screws. Since you've routed some of the depth out of the board, check before you screw into the wood to make sure the length of the screw isn't too long that it will poke through the other side of the board - that wouldn't be pretty. If the screws are too long, use shorter screws and maybe 1-2 washers on either side of the drawer member to give you more room.
How to Make Slide Out Hanging Organizers for Closets

Re-attach the drawer slide assembly back together and close the slide mechanism. Hold the board assembly up on to the wall in the location you want it hung, make sure it looks all nice and pretty, then make some small pencil marks on the wall to indicate where the drawer slide mechanism (particularly the cabinet member) should be. Remove from wall.

Once again we're going to separate the slide assembly and remove the cabinet member using the release lever. The cabinet member is going to get attached to our cabinet wall. But before we do that, this would be a good time to add whatever organizing hooks or pegs you want to the front of your board.

Now we'll attach the cabinet member to the wall. Use the pencil marks to help line up the cabinet member, but use a level to make sure it's all nice and straight, like this:
How to Make Slide Out Hanging Organizers for Closets

Attach the cabinet member to the wall with screws. You'll have to move that slide member out of the way to get to some of the screw holes.

Reattach the board onto the cabinet member, slide that thing open and closed, hang some stuff on there and get all giddy about your new little creation.

How to Make Slide Out Hanging Organizers for Closets
Meet Cabinet Member, Slide Member, Drawer Member, and Release Lever, members of the Closet Street Gang. Can I get a wha wha?

If you want to see more closet storage ideas like this scarf rack, check out my other post Bringing Sexy Back: DIY Custom Organizers. It'll pretty much change your life. 

See the Completed Master Closet Makeover here!


Link parties!
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, I Should Be Mopping the Floor Craft-o-Maniac


  1. I made these too and loved them until I saw your routed back!!! That is pure genius. I may have to rethink my slideouts!! And while I am at it, I may have to pretty them up too! Yours look amazing!! Good thing you were able to use the smaller of the cabinet members. You would have to build a bigger closet if you hadn't.


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