My aim with DIY projects around the home is to look for innovative space-saving ideas and save costs on materials by recycling.
Guide To Better Utilising Space in Your Fridge or Kitchen
When we bought our latest fridge it came with a plastic egg rack for six eggs that fits into a small shelf (on the inside of the door) although the shelf itself is big enough to hold almost three times that many eggs. A little irritating as we like to just open the fridge door and take a few eggs meaning that we are constantly having to replenish the small rack from the egg boxes stored further back in the fridge. It would have been considerate of the manufacturer, for a little extra effort at the design stage to have added a full size egg rack that fitted the whole shelf and the extra cost to the manufacturer at production stage would only be pennies.
However while tidying up the home workshop after a recent DIY project I came across a piece of 6mm (1/4 inch) thick opaque Perspex that was just ideal for making my own egg rack, made to measure, to fit in the shelf; an egg rack that would hold 16 eggs instead of the current six.
in this article I give a step-by-step process of how to make your own egg rack from Perspex to fit into your fridge, or from wood/plywood to sit on your kitchen worktop or kitchen shelf; with suggestions on how you may further adapt the ideas and tailor make your own egg rack to suit your tastes, style and kitchen layout.
Choosing the Right Material to Make Your Egg Rack Holder
Perspex or Wood
Dependant on whether you intend to make an egg rack for the fridge or for use elsewhere in the kitchen will determine the choice of material. Whichever material you choose the basic principle in design and built is the same. Essentially if for use in the fridge I would recommend Perspex or if intended for your kitchen worktop or on a kitchen shelf or fixed to the wall then wood would be more suitable; or if you you're more at home working with metal then the egg rack could be made using aluminium or sheet metal.
Whether you use Perspex, plywood or soft wood in making your own egg rack I would recommend using thicker rather than thinner material simply because the holes cut to hold the eggs are so close together that any material (excepting metal) thinner than 6mm (1/4 inch) would be considerably weakened and liable to snap easily. You could compensate for this and use thinner materials if the holes were spread-out more; which may mean you may not be able to store so many eggs in a given space.
For this DIY project I used 6mm (1/4 inch) Perspex but 6mm plywood or softwood e.g. a piece of skirting board would work just as well.
Making a Template
Getting the Right Size and Shape
If, like us, you have a shelf on the inside of the fridge door designed to hold an egg rack, or would be suitable for an egg rack then the first thing you'll want to do is make a template of the interior size and shape from which you can cut your Perspex.
In our case the shelf was removable so I was able to remove it and take it down to the home workshop from where I made a template out of thin card. I used thin card rather than paper because it's less floppy and therefore easier to get a more accurate template, as follows:-
- Sellotape two sheets of card together length ways.
- Press the card firmly into the fridge door shelf and run the tip of your fingers (fingernails) around all the interior edges of the fridge shelf to score a clear line; to identify the outline shape of the shelf.
- Carefully cut along the score line with sharp scissors to create your template.
- Place the template back into the fridge shelf to ensure a good fit and to ensure none of the edges is bigger than the fridge shelf; it's better to be a millimetre or two (a fraction of an inch) too small to give some room for movement than slightly to big so that your rack doesn't fit when made.
Three Simple Steps to Making the Egg Rack Template
Using Your Template
Marking Out the Egg Rack Shape Ready for Cutting
Once you're satisfied with your card template place it on top of the Perspex and mark around with a thick marker pen e.g. the Perspex is too shinny to mark with a pencil; but try not to use an indelible marker pen as this may be difficult to clean off later.
If your egg rack is for the kitchen worktop, shelf or wall then you don't need the Template; you're free to make the rack as big or as small as you like (to fit the area intended) and you can make it to your own design and shape e.g. a heart shape or egg shape egg rack to stand on the kitchen worktop made from a pine panel or plywood or a piece of skirting board (any length you want) if you want to fix the egg rack to the wall.
Three Simple Steps to Using the Egg Rack Template
Cutting the Egg Rack to Shape
Whether It Be From the Template or To Your Own Design
If you've used a marker pen on the Perspex sheet to mark around your template (as illustrated in the photo below) securely clamp your Perspex sheet to your home DIY workbench and using an electric jig saw carefully cut on the inside of the marked line e.g. so that the Perspex shape when cut-out will be marginally smaller than the fridge shelf giving some margin for movement rather than being too big and not fitting.
Once the Perspex piece is cut place it in the fridge shelf to double check it fits.
If however you're making a freestanding or wall mounted egg rack from wood for your kitchen then cut-out your desired shape, or if using skirting board or similar cut the length to size.
If there are no curves in your design instead of the jig saw you may consider using a circular saw or hand saw as appropriate.
The measurements given in this brief best suits standard to large sized eggs. If you regularly buy smaller eggs you might wish to make the holes just a fraction smaller than the 44mm (1 3/4 inches) suggested here; but no too small.
If you're not sure I would suggest you cut a few holes in scrap wood for size, and test them with the eggs you buy before, before committing yourself to making the egg rack only to find the holes are marginally too big or too small.
Measure and Mark the Holes in the Top Section
To Cut Them to Size to Support the Eggs
Regardless to whether you use Perspex, wood or metal to make your egg rack the measuring and marking of the egg holes is the same:-
You’ll need a 44mm (1 3/4 inch) hole cutter to make suitable size holes in the egg rack to support the eggs.
With a minimum gap of 5mm (about 1/4 inch) between each egg hole to maximise on space. However, cutting holes this close will considerably weaken the material you’re using with a risk of segments snapping between holes while cutting the holes, if you’re not careful. Therefore, if you’re not confident I would suggest making the gaps between the holes larger e.g. 10mm (about half an inch).
The easiest way to mark-out for the holes is to create a grid and mark your centre points on the grid to drill the holes as described below (and shown in the photos):-
1. Draw a centre line across the length of the egg rack at a distance away from the edge that is equal to the radius plus the gap between egg holes e.g. 22mm plus 5mm = 27mm (just over one inch); or if you’re working on the cautious side then 22mm plus 10mm = 32mm (about 1 1/4 inches).
2. Assuming you’re being more cautious in not making the holes too close as to risk any partitions between egg holes breaking while being cut; mark the centre point for the first egg hole 32mm (1 1/4 inches) from the edge.
3. Mark the centre points for the rest of the holes on the first row at regular intervals equal to the diameter of the egg hole plus the gap between egg holes e.g. 44mm plus 10mm = 54mm (2 1/8 inch). For extra clarity e.g. so as not to mistakenly drill any of the holes in the wrong place later, I drew little circles around each point to drill. As I was marking on Perspex I also used a pen rather than pencil as a pencil doesn’t mark on Perspex; alternately you could use a fine point felt tip pen (provided it’s not indelible) which you can later wash off.
4. If making more than one row of egg holes either repeat as above, or if you wish to maximise on space mark up your centre points on the second row halfway between the centre points on the first row; to create a honey type effect (see photos). This way instead of the centre points for the second row being ‘the diameter of the holes plus the gap’ from the centre point of the first row it can be set at the ‘diameter less the gap between holes’ e.g. 44mm less 10mm = 34mm (1 1/3 inch) instead of 44mm plus 10mm = 54mm (2 1/8 inch).
5. Using the 44mm hole cutter as a template centre on some of the centre points you’ve marked and draw around it to give a visual double check that everything looks as you expect it to look, see photo.
6. If there are any odd corners where you can fit in an extra hole off centre to the other rows, as in the photo below, then using the hole cutter as a template mark its circumference and then centre point.
Marking Out the Egg Holes for Cutting
Cutting the Egg Holes
Using a Quality Drill Bit Hole Cutter Attachment
- Use a punch and hammer to make small indentations to guide the drill bit and reduce the risk of the drill slipping when you start to cut the holes.
- Place sufficient sacrificial wood (scrap wood that you don’t mind wasting) on the work bench so that when you drill through the egg rack with your hole cutter neither the hole cutter or the centre drill bit will damage your DIY workbench.
- Securely clamp your work (egg rack) on top of the sacrificial wood so that it’s ready for cutting the egg holes; as you progress with cutting the egg holes you’ll need to reposition from time to time.
- Using the 44mm (1 inch) hole cutter cut all the required egg holes in your egg rack. Use only a good quality hole cutter. The cheap hole cutter sets e.g. a selection of metal rings that fit on a base plate are fiddly to set-up and use and would be unreliable for precision work like this; whereas for not too much money you can buy a quality set (as demonstrated in the photo below) which is ideal for this type of work.
Step By Step Guide To Cutting the Holes for the Eggs
Making the Egg Rack Base
Base and Feet Support
The ideal depth is about 18mm (3/4 inch) but I would recommend you test your egg rack with real eggs before finally gluing and fixing it all together.
As I was making my egg rack from Perspex I could have cut some strips of Perspex 18mm wide and glued them to the base of the egg rack as support. However, I happened to have some spare drawer runners in my home DIY work shed just collecting dust that was just under the 18mm so I decided to use these as the base support for the egg rack.
If you make your egg rack from wood then you’ll want to use thin strips of wood approximately 6mm (1/4 inch) by 18mm (3/4 inch) e.g. thin strips of plywood, softwood or beading.
Once you’ve cut your base support to size (and smoothed any rough edges with sandpaper) glue the base supports in place to support the front and back ensuring none of the supports obscure any of the holes too much; the base support protruding across any of the holes by a few millimetres (fraction of an inch) isn’t going to do any harm because of the curvature of the egg and thickness of egg rack the egg isn’t going to be obstructed by the support. Once the egg rack’s supports are glued wait until the glue has set. As I was using plastic and Perspex I used Araldite to glue them together, as Araldite will bond most materials (including most plastics), it sets in 10 minutes and sets firm in one hour; therefore it was an ideal glue to use in this instance.
Once the glue is fully set, fit your egg rack in your kitchen or fridge and start using it for storing your eggs.
Making a Wooden Egg Rack
Additional Tips and Ideas
If your egg rack is for the fridge it should be Perspex but if you decide to make an egg rack for placing on a kitchen worktop or to fix to the kitchen wall then making it from wood may be easier.
The guide given above is for an egg rack made using Perspex with tips for making it from wood when appropriate.
So in this section, if you decide to make your egg rack from wood, here are some additional pointers you may find helpful.
Making a Kitchen Worktop Egg Holder
Ideally use 6mm (1/4 inch) panel of wood for the top e.g. plywood and 3mm (1/8 inch) plywood for the base; separated by a 18mm (3/4 inch) gap using thin strips of wood (6mm x 18mm).
Rather than plywood you could use 12mm (1/2 inch) or 18mm (3/4 inch) soft wood sheets e.g. pine panels and reduce the gap between the top and base accordingly.
If you’re making an egg rack using wood in this way it can be any shape and size you wish; just limited by your imagination and available space to store the rack. It could be heart shape, round, square, oblong, egg shape or if you’re artistic, hen shape; and if painted and decorated with acrylic paint could make an ideal or novel Christmas or birthday present.
If the egg rack is square or oblong the 18mm supports between top and base could be around the outer edges and if your egg rack is a shape other than square the supports could be placed near the edges to give adequate support (without blocking any of the egg holes) as appropriate.
Making a Wall Egg Rack
75mm (3 inch) skirting board is an ideal material for making a wall fixed egg rack, and can simply be made as follows:-
- Cut two pieces of skirting board to the required length.
- Cut your egg holes in one piece of skirting board, but use a slightly smaller hole cutter so that small eggs don’t fall through the holes e.g. 38mm (1 inch); and ensure the outer edge of the holes are at least 12mm (1/2 inch) away from the square end of the skirting board.
- Glue and pin the square end of the skirting board with the holes cut out on top of the square end of the other piece of skirting board at right angles so that the curve of the bottom skirting board is facing towards you and the curve of the top skirting board is facing down (illustration to follow in due course).
- Drill and countersink a suitable hole on the bottom skirting board at both ends; ready for fixing to the wall when complete.
- Smooth and round off any rough ends with sandpaper, and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
- Apply your preferred finish e.g. wood stain, varnish, wax or paint; and when dry fix your egg rack to wall.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Arthur Russ
Do you have any Eggy Tales to tale?
Arthur Russ (author) from England on June 15, 2017:
Thanks for all your feedback; good point anonymous, our fridge did come with an egg rack, but it wasn't very big where as the one I designed was made to measure to hold far more eggs.
anonymous on September 16, 2012:
Now that is really something, I want that too! Really nicely done.
anonymous on September 14, 2012:
Refrigerators used to come with egg racks all the time built in and I notice they seem to not always be a feature, so your egg rack DIY will certainly be a welcome find to those missing one. Nicely done!
queenofduvetcover on September 10, 2012:
Wow, this is great. I actually needed an egg rack for my fridge. Now you got me thinking.