DIY Tool Shadowing

August 25, 2018

For awhile now I've been searching for a solution to my tool problem.  My tool cabinet drawers were a disorganized mess, where I couldn't find anything, and they'd get tossed around every time the drawers were opened and closed.  In my mind I kept going back to my past life as an Air Force Maintenance Officer, and the way our toolboxes were shadowed.  Tool shadowing is basically cutting the tool shape out of black foam, and putting a bright liner underneath to clearly show when a tool is missing, like this:

 

 

Finding the proper supplies for tool shadowing turned out to be easier said than done.  At Home Depot the sales rep said "If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me about foam liners for tool boxes...".  Well, Home Depot, sounds like you'd have a lot of dollars.  I found these but this was a lot more than I wanted to spend, and using a router was a lot more work and mess than I was interested in, so I came up with my own solution!  

 

Check out the results of my DIY Tool Shadowing using adhesive craft foam and file cabinet dividers below.

 

Pretty awesome, right?  Here's how I did it!

 

Supplies:

Gorilla Hot Glue

Plastic File Cabinet Dividers - buy enough to cover the bottom of all your drawers, a single color per drawer

Black Adhesive Craft Foam Sheets - buy enough to cover each drawer in two or three layers

Tailors Chalk

 

 

Tools:

Hot Glue Gun

Cricut True Control Knife

Sharpie

 

The project was pretty simple! I dug into my tool cabinet and picked the tools that I use most often to put in the drawers, focusing on hand tools for my top three drawers, and my most frequently used Milwaukee tools for the bottom.  

 

I layered 2 sheets of the craft foam to the dimensions of my drawers, and laid out my tools.  After everything was arranged I traced the tools using tailors chalk.  Tailors chalk is a white, or light colored waxy chalk that will easily brush off after the project is complete.  

 

After my shapes were traced I used the Cricut knife, which is basically an X-acto knife with a more ergonomic handle, to cut the tool shapes through my two layers of foam. 

 

 

After cutting I put the tools back in to ensure fit, and would trim it down if the spaces needed any adjusting. 

 

 

I then took my file dividers and hot glued them to the underside of the foam.

 

 

I labeled each space with the tool for each spot, that way when I was putting things away it would be easy to remember what fits where, and also if something was missing I'd know exactly what the missing tool is and what to look for. 

 

 

For my bottom drawer, I put in my heaviest tools and bit boxes.  Because of this I used three layers of foam so that the heavy tools were less likely to shift, or "jump" out of their shadows.  

 

Can we take a minute to appreciate the red background, with the red Milwaukee tools?  

 

Given me all those feeeeeels.

 

Hope you enjoy this project! This would work for any drawer, I'm already thinking about integrating this into my craft room for sewing supplies and Cricut supplies!   If you decide to do this in your own tool boxes, or other drawers - I'd love to see!  Be sure to tag me @pearlsncotton on Instagram or share them on my Facebook page! 

 

 

 

 

 

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