I’m a little particular about the products I use, especially those I travel with, and I’m always searching for the perfect stuff. I thought I had found the perfect toiletry bag last year but I became frustrated that my stuff got tossed around during every trip. So during a particularly boring day at the lab, I made an insert to keep things organized and save my sanity.
My wife gave me a great toiletry bag for our wedding and it is my favorite of several that I’ve owned. I especially love that the top expands when it opens to you have full access while it’s sitting on the counter. But I don’t love that my stuff moves around in the bag regardless of the trip, the duration, or the location. This makes it hard to find things and easier to forget them in a hotel bathroom. Seen below: my nightmare.
I looked around online for inspiration and saw that some bags have these pockets on the inside to keep your stuff from moving – that would certainly solve this problem. However, I like my current bag and don’t like the overall design on the other ones I’ve seen. Plus, there’s about a 0% chance the pockets would be the right size and in the right location for my stuff. But this gave me an idea and I decided to create a plastic insert that would fit around the inside that I could then attach my stuff to.
The biggest requirement was that this be cheap so I was determined to use leftover plexiglass from the lab/shop and but it on the lasercutter. I also wanted this to be flexible – it would suck to have to redo it every time I changed the size of the tubes I was carrying in the bag. So I settled on the current design. There’s a 1/16″ thin base plate and two side pieces made out of 1/4″ plexi. There are two rows of thin slots cut into the side pieces so that a rubberband can be passed through and tied on the back. You could do this without a laser cutter by using a jigsaw and a drill. Just use small holes instead of slots and it’ll work fine; maybe use hair ties instead of rubber bands if you have round holes. You can find the PDFs I used to cut the pieces here and here.
I drilled holes in the bottom of the side pieces and tapped them to fit a 4-40 screw attached from under the base plate. You could also use an acrylic glue for this part and it would probably be just as good or better.
Then I did a test fit and put all of my bottles and tubes where I thought I would want them. I looped a rubberband around them and through the slots and tied it on the back. It took a couple of tries to find the right balance between too tight and too lose but it’s a rubberband so it’s pretty forgiving. And if you snap one, just go buy some more asparagus and there you go – another rubberband.
I like having two rows of slots to be able to adjust for taller and shorter items. And that’s pretty much it. Put it in the bag and you’re good to go. It’s easy to just cut a rubberband off and put a new one on if things change. It doesn’t hold everything in my bag but it holds almost everything against the side so that it’s much easier to find what you need in a hurry.