The Reaper MSP line consists of 216 bottles of paint. How do you array 216 bottles in a manner that lets you easily find the one you want, without them all getting knocked over every time one of your helpers jumps up on the table to see what you are doing? What you need is a paint caddy and I found a great idea for building one at DnD Lead:

People often ask how to organize their paints. What I have done is taken four 2 x 4 boards each 21 inches long. In each board are drilled 54 1 inch diameter holes – that is three rows of 18. The top row is drilled 1/2 inch deep, the middle row is drilled 3/4 inch deep and the bottom row is drilled 1 inch deep as per the picture below.

Four such boards will hold all of Reapers 216 Master Series paints. The boards can be arranged as desired on your work space. I put one behind the other and raise the boards so that I can see all the paints easily. The paints are organized as per their Triads.

Getting Started

As you can see, what he came up with is a fantastic solution.

I went down to Home Depot yesterday to get my supplies and got started building mine today. An 8′ long cedar 2×4 wasn’t much more than the cheap stuff (and it looked much better; the cheap stuff was all banged up). Also, I picked up a 1″ Spade Bit.

I cut the 2×4 into four 23″ lengths (I wanted a little extra room on each end), and laid out a grid so I’d know where to drill the holes. Then I started drilling. I placed a piece of blue tape around the bit at the 1″ mark for the first row, ¾” mark for the second row and ½” mark for the third row.

Failure

It didn’t go well. The drill bit ripped at the wood, often pulling out bits from around the holes. It may have been that cedar wasn’t the best choice. But I think it was mostly the bit. Well, more likely it was mostly me. In any case, I really screwed up my first attempt. Hopefully, it will go better next time.

What I Learned

First off, a drill press would be so much easier. Measuring and drawing out the grid is a pain and it’s hard to get it exact within such tight tolerances (1/8″ between holes doesn’t allow much room for error). A drill press allows for much more precise measurements and (I believe) can be set to a specific depth, so you don’t have to eyeball the tape on the bit to know when to stop. Sadly, I don’t have a drill press nor can I rationalize buying one just for this project.

If I have to drill by hand, I think the Spade Bit was a bad choice. Next time, I think I’ll try an Auger Bit instead. It looks like it will give a cleaner cut.

I don’t know if the cedar had anything to do with it or not. Either way, I’m going back to plain old wood. However, I’m switching to a 2×5 this time. Keep in mind that a 2×4 isn’t 2″x4″. It’s more like 1 ¾” x 3 ½”. Three 1″ holes leaves 1/8″ between each hole and between the outer holes and the edge. Switching to a 2×5 will give just a little bit of wiggle room that might make up for my lacking woodworking skills.

Even if an auger bit is less damaging, there will be an awful lot of sanding needed. The flat surfaces and edges will be easy with a power sander. But the holes will probably need some sanding too. I think I’ll look into a Dremel. I really don’t want to hand sand 216 holes.