Tool Drawers: Cheap Foam Liner

You can get fancy closed-cell foam sheets for the bottom of your tool chest drawers and tote, but it seems awfully spendy, even with Harbor Freight quality plastic, for something that you must cut-to-fit. The drawers are just under 22×11 and 22×17 inches, so a 18×72 inch roll would line maybe three drawers; call it three bucks per drawer and, with nearly three dozen drawers to line, I’d rather drop a hundred bucks on tools.

Rather than do that, the usual eBay supplier provided 150 feet of 1/8 inch x 24 inch white polyethylene closed-cell foam sheet for $27 delivered:

Polyethylene foam sheet - roll

Polyethylene foam sheet – roll

It’s intended for packaging small items for shipping, but I’ll never tell.

I mooched Mary’s 2×3 foot rotary cutting mat (this reenactment shows the awkwardly sized 17×23 inch mat), her longest quilting rulers, and dullest rotary blades:

Rotary cutting foam sheets

Rotary cutting foam sheets

After a few mis-steps, I got the hang of it:

Foam-lined tool tray

Foam-lined tool tray

It’s not as contrast-y as black foam, but I can still find the tools:

Foam-lined tool drawer

Foam-lined tool drawer

And I have plenty of foam left over for shipping small things, if I ever do any of that…


  1. #1 by Red County Pete on 2016-07-24 - 10:49

    An idea worth stealing! Flooring underlayment foam looks similar, but usually in 3′ or 1 meter widths. Most seem to be sold in 100 square foot(ish) quantities, in a variety of grades and prices. I have some offcuts from projects, but the Usual Box Stores carry a variety in prices ranging from OK to Ouch.

    • #2 by Ed on 2016-07-24 - 17:19

      A stray search result led me to underlayment when I was searching for “foam sheet”, but around here it’s half a buck per square foot and up: over a buck a drawer, more or less.

      A roll of 1/4 inch cork sheet briefly tempted me, until I divided price by square feet. I’d have to fondle the stuff to develop a deep emotional attachment …

      • #3 by Red County Pete on 2016-07-25 - 12:17 carries a bunch of Roberts-branded stuff at prices a lot cheaper than that–15-to 25 cents a square foot for foam–thickness unknown. The foam from an old Costco laminate kit is a lot like the packing stuff, while the stuff from an engineered floor project (real wood on top, yeah!) is a lot nicer/more expensive. The black moisture barrier might be a nice touch. Offcuts FTW!

        Agreed on the cork. Julie wanted some really thick cork trivets, and I glued two 1/4 x 12″ square tiles together on a piece of masonite for a couple of these. The stuff was on sale, but I wouldn’t want to buy much.