How to Make a Cheap Brush/Tool Caddy

Alas, poor Yorick(s)

As you know, dear readers, I’m prone to MacGyvering solutions to my customizing problems. So it should come as no surprise that when my old methods stopped working (Coke glasses) I turned to my crafting bins.

Coke glasses have several drawbacks: a) I don’t have enough to organizing things the way I want, b) they take up a lot of real estate on the workbench, and c) glasses tend to break when you knock them over tugging on the dremel’s power cord.

Sighs. … So I came up with this horribly brilliant plan!

Materials Needed

Toilet Paper rolls (or Paper towel rolls, or mailing tubes, etc)
An exacto knife
Wood Glue
Something heavy-ish (possibly an ?)
Damp Sponge (for wiping the wood glue off the sofa)


Cut a strip of coreboard about an inch wider than the width of the rolls you are using. You can either make it just long enough to fit all the tubes, or you can leave some room for expansion like I did.

(I cheated and just used the level to trace out the shape and then cut it with the exacto.)

Use wood glue to glue the bottom of the tubes to the coreboard, using something heavy-ish to make sure there is a good seal. Like the level. Or a small book. Or a cat, although they tend to object to being used as paperweights unless there’s catnip involved.

Note: I’m using wood glue here instead of a generic craft glue like Elmer’s because it dries much harder. The toilet paper rolls are rather flimsy things, so I’m looking to reinforce them however I can.

Wait until dry.

Tip the whole mess over on its side and use the woodglue to slowly fill in the gaps between the tubes. This isn’t a hard and fast requirement, it just gives the whole structure more stability and since I have long brushes I want it as sturdy as possible.

You can do this whilst watching TV, but make sure not to glue yourself to the couch.

Of course you might not need this many tubes (I’m actually planning on adding a few more), but they are easy enough to add on (or rebuild) if you decide to expand later.

Pretty It Up

As you can see, I wrote the names of the brush types on the sides of the tubes to help sort things out. I also added a few more tubes as I work out how many of them I’m going to need. *pokes caddy*

At some point, if I’m feeling more Stewart-y, I will lug it outside to spray paint it so it looks less—hmm, thrown-together? (I’d recommend primering it first so that the cardboard is sealed before you paint.) Then again, I’m pretty much guaranteed to destroy it at some point, so I’m not sure it’s worth the effort.

Ideas For Later

When I’m not painting small plastic horses in the living room, I want to hang this on the wall where they can’t fall prey to the power cords. Thus I’m planning on grabbing ribbon from the ‘someday I will use these things’ bin and gluing on some hanging loops.

Then it’s just a pushpin away from glory! More or less, anyway– it’s not an exact science. Or a science at all, come to think of it—wait, maybe physics? Hmm…

And now you have a portable brush/tool caddy!

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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