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Add-on Pocket to Bespoke Wooden Remote Control Holder to Hold More Remotes

Updated on December 12, 2019
Nathanville profile image

My aim with DIY projects around the home is to look for innovative space-saving ideas and save costs on materials by recycling.

And Then There Were Six

A couple of years ago I made a bespoke remote control holder from recycled wood and scrap materials to hold the three remote controls for our TV, cable box and sound system. Since then we’ve bought a Blu-ray player and recently replaced our TV; the new TV came with two remotes:-

The TV’s second remote control is a universal remote control that automatically configured itself to work with all our other equipment shortly after we turned the TV on for the first time; which is great.

The sound system (a 7:1 surround sound home cinema system) has its own Blu-ray player built-in, but the system is so old that the player doesn’t play the latest Blu-ray formats; hence why we needed to buy a separate Blu-ray player.

However, with three devices (Blu-ray player, cable box and smart Internet TV with Freeview) and only two optical digital inputs into the sound system, it left having to make do with using the TV’s speakers when watching the TV itself e.g. Freeview or the Internet through the TV. Freeview is a free terrestrial service (with 85 free TV channels, including 15 in HD) that’s built-in on all British TV’s.

Therefore I bought an optical digital switch with one input and four outputs, which came with its remote control.

So in summary, the six remotes we ended up with are:-

  • 7:1 surround sound home cinema system
  • Blu-ray player
  • Cable box (Virgin Media)
  • TV
  • Universal control that came with the TV
  • Optical digital switch

The six remote controls we now use to control our TV and associated equipment
The six remote controls we now use to control our TV and associated equipment

Remodelling Remote Control Holder

To Accommodate More Remote Controls

With more remotes than will fit into our existing remote control holder, after some thought I decided the easy option would be to extend the remote control holder forward by adding a front pocket to hold the additional remotes.

In my usual style, rather than buying new materials, I would make the alterations using recycled material e.g. scrap wood and off-cuts.

Below is a step-by-step guide giving a brief overview of how I extended our remote control holder to hold all our remote controls; with a little spare capacity for future proofing.

The original remote control holder; that only held three remotes.
The original remote control holder; that only held three remotes.

Design Features of The New Unit

Good preparation and design is a key feature to a successful project. Therefore, its worthwhile spending time getting your design right, and on carefully choosing and sourcing the material that you’ll be using.

Accommodating the Remotes

In my view, making a simple wooden square box wouldn’t work because remote controls are all different shapes and sizes, and if you made the box big enough to accommodate the biggest remote control all the others would just flop about and topple over sideways.

Therefore, the two key elements to my design are:-

  • To pad the pockets to create some friction to hold the remotes in place, and
  • To slope the front so that the pockets get narrower at the base, thereby allowing the chunkier remotes to fit comfortably while at the same time allowing the slimmer remotes to slip deeper into the pockets, giving them also a snug fit.

Location and Fitting

My original remote control holder was designed to fit onto the side of a side table, that’s located by the side of the sofa, for easy access of the remotes.

The method I adopted for fixing the remote control holder in place to the side table, without damaging the table is:-

  1. Two side runners at the base of the remote control holder that slips over one of the table’s box stretchers (horizontal supports between the legs)
  2. A back panel tall enough to press against the front of the wooden table skirt (the decorative part below the table top), and
  3. A long wooden twist thumb latch fixed to the back of the remote control holder to press against the back of the table legs to hold the remote control holder in place.

So once the remote control holder is placed over one of the table’s side stretcher, and with the top of the remote control holder pushed against the table’s wooden skirt, the whole unit is locked in place by twisting the wooden thumb latch horizontally, thereby pressing it against the back of two of the table’s legs to firmly secure the remote control holder in place between the table’s legs.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The groove at the bottom slips over one of the runners of the side table.The twist thumb latch hold the remote control holder in place between the table's legs.
The groove at the bottom slips over one of the runners of the side table.
The groove at the bottom slips over one of the runners of the side table.
The twist thumb latch hold the remote control holder in place between the table's legs.
The twist thumb latch hold the remote control holder in place between the table's legs.

Stripping Down Old Remote Control Holder

Once deciding on the design, the first step was to remove the upholstery nails, so as to remove the old red covering. There is a proper tool you can buy to remove upholstery nails, which I don’t have; so I used a combination of an old chisel, large screwdriver and pliers to prise the upholstery nails out.

Once the upholstery nails were all out, I could then just simply remove the red covering and pull out the foam padding.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Unit with upholstery nails and the old red cloth material removed.Unit with the foam removed.
Unit with upholstery nails and the old red cloth material removed.
Unit with upholstery nails and the old red cloth material removed.
Unit with the foam removed.
Unit with the foam removed.

Cutting Wooden Pieces to Size for Extension Box

The extension is a simple design requiring just two sided panels, a base and a front; all made from recycled and scrap wood:-

  • Two panels from 4mm (1/8th inch) plywood
  • Front panel from 9mm (3/8th inch) plywood
  • Base from 12mm (1/2 inch) timber

The plywood was off-cuts (scrap wood) leftover from a previous project, and the timber I used for the base was recycled (scrap wood) salvaged from previous jobs.

Side Panels

I placed two pieces of 4mm plywood onto of each other (squared off at the corner), measured and marked out the shape and size I wanted, and then cut to size with a saw. Normally I’d use an electric jig saw, but being such small pieces this time I decided to use a Tenon saw to cut them by hand.

The reasons I chose to use such thin wood for the side panels was that:-

  • I didn’t need to use thicker wood for strength
  • I didn’t need thicker wood for fixing, as I would be nailing through it into thicker wood, and
  • Most importantly, the width of the remote control holder is governed by the width of the table that it would be fixed to, limiting its size. Therefore, the use of thin wood on the side panels gives additional storage space for the remote controls.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Side panels marked out on plywood, and ready for cutting.Side panels tested against the main box for size.
Side panels marked out on plywood, and ready for cutting.
Side panels marked out on plywood, and ready for cutting.
Side panels tested against the main box for size.
Side panels tested against the main box for size.

Base

Next, I found a piece of scrap timber that was the right width and depth, and after using a tape measure, square and pencil to mark out the correct length, cut it to length with the Tenon saw.

Cutting the base to length from a piece of scrap wood
Cutting the base to length from a piece of scrap wood

Front Panel

Finally, from a spare piece of 9mm plywood (in my wood store at the back of my workshop) I used the tape measure, square and pencil to mark out the correct size for the front panel; using the back of a hand saw as a straight edge, as the square wasn’t quite long enough to mark out the whole length. Once marked out, I then cut it to size with the hand saw.

All marked out and ready to cut the front panel from the plywood sheet.
All marked out and ready to cut the front panel from the plywood sheet.

First Sanding

Once I’d cut the pieces of wood to size I then quickly smoothed off all the edges with an electric sander, before assembly.

Quick sanding to round off any of the rough edges from the cut pieces of wood.
Quick sanding to round off any of the rough edges from the cut pieces of wood.

Assembling the Extension Box

With all the pieces cut and sanded, the next step was to assemble the extension box before fixing it to the original remote control holder.

Normally I would prefer to use wood glue and screws, for added strength, and a good finish; but the wood was too thin to screw without the risk of splitting, so I used small oval nails instead. However, being such a small, compact box, it’s going to be strong anyway.

Front Panel and Base

To fit the front panel to the base I held the base in place with a wooden vice, applied wood glue along its length, and then nailed the front panel in place.

Base held in wooden vice to glue and nail the front panel to it.
Base held in wooden vice to glue and nail the front panel to it.

Fitting the Side Panels to the Front and Base

Having fitted the front and base, the next step was fitting the side panels. As this wasn’t going to be a straight 90 degree angle, I had to first gently prise the front and base into shape before fitting the side panels; using one of the side panels as a template to get the correct angle.

Once I’d done this I then put the front and base assembly on end, applied wood glue along the edge and nailed the first side in place.

I then flipped it over and glued and nailed the second side panel in place.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Applying glue along one edge of the assembled front and base prior to nailing the side panel in place.Flipping it over to fit the other side panel.A reminder that under British Law, all wood sold in the UK has to be from Renewable Sources.
Applying glue along one edge of the assembled front and base prior to nailing the side panel in place.
Applying glue along one edge of the assembled front and base prior to nailing the side panel in place.
Flipping it over to fit the other side panel.
Flipping it over to fit the other side panel.
A reminder that under British Law, all wood sold in the UK has to be from Renewable Sources.
A reminder that under British Law, all wood sold in the UK has to be from Renewable Sources.

Attaching Extension Box to Main Unit

Although I kept the design simple, it allowed for final adjustments to the pocket width at the top, while fixing to the main unit e.g. by tilting the angle of the extension box. Because a couple of our remote controls are much thinner than the others, I specifically wanted the opening at the top of the front extension to be half the width of the main unit. Therefore, when fitting I tilted the front box up by about half an inch; to narrow the gap at the top.

Once I’d positioned the extension box where I wanted it, I glued and nailed it in place.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Front extension pocket glued and nailed to the original box.The extension tilted slightly upwards to narrow the gap at the top of the front pocket.
Front extension pocket glued and nailed to the original box.
Front extension pocket glued and nailed to the original box.
The extension tilted slightly upwards to narrow the gap at the top of the front pocket.
The extension tilted slightly upwards to narrow the gap at the top of the front pocket.

Second Sanding

With the unit now assembled, I just gave it a quick sanding all over with the electric sander prior to polishing and adding the upholstery.

Wood Finish with Coloured Beeswax

To match the new wood with the old I could have wood stained it, but on this occasion as it was only a small area to colour, I chose to colour match it with a dark antique beeswax polish. Because the new wood was bare plywood it was highly absorbent, and readily took the dark colourant in the beeswax to give a good colour match.

I always use beeswax because it is durable and will give a lasting finish; whereas I never use wax polish containing silicon because the silicon is oil, not a wax, which is shiny when wet, but when the oil evaporates the furniture becomes dull again, and the oil residue is sticky which just attracts more dust. So by using silicon furniture polish you’re forever polishing; whereas with beeswax you only need polish occasionally.

I generously applied the beeswax with a yellow duster, and left it for 15 minutes to soak in and dry, before buffing it up to a shine.

The Jacpol antique furniture beeswax polish (English Formula) which I always use these days; rather than silicone furniture polishes.
The Jacpol antique furniture beeswax polish (English Formula) which I always use these days; rather than silicone furniture polishes.

Adding the Padding

Last time I padded the original remote control holder with thin soft foam and a soft material; which worked quite well. However, this time I decided to use a scrap piece of Axminster carpet, as it’s just as thick as the foam, and it’s soft but firm so would grip and hold the remotes in place, in a similar fashion to the foam.

The spare piece of Axminster I had was a remnant from when we had our living room carpeted.

I’m not sure it would work as effectively with other carpets, but Axminster and Wilton carpets are the two top range prestige hardwearing carpets made in Britain from 100% wool that, unlike cheaper carpets, will last a lifetime. Axminster dates back to 1755 and Wilton 1749.

Having decided to use Axminster carpet as the padding, the main steps for fitting it are:-

  • Measuring
  • Cutting to size
  • Folding to shape
  • Pushing into place
  • Tacking in place with upholstery nails
  • Trim off excess carpet

Measuring

I wanted to fit the carpet as one piece, so calculating the correct length is very much like calculating for getting the right size pond liner e.g. depth x2 plus width; plus the thickness of the wood; then repeat for the second pocket, and add the height difference between the two pockets. Add it all together and add a little spare, which can be trimmed off afterwards.

Measuring the width is a bit simpler, just a straight forward measurement of the internal width for the top pocket, and a similar measurement for the bottom pocket.

Cutting

Using the principle of measure twice and cut once; once you have your measurement lay the carpet out flat on a firm surface, mark up where to cut and cut from the back with a Stanley knife.

Cutting the carpet to size to fit into the pockets of the modified remote control holder.
Cutting the carpet to size to fit into the pockets of the modified remote control holder.

Folding to Shape

As the Axminster carpet is a stiff material, you can’t just push it into the pockets like you could do with cloth or leather. Therefore, bend and fold the carpet into a concertina shape to fit the depth of the two pockets.

Pushing into Place

Once folded into the required shape, it will push into the pockets quite easily.

Having folded the carpet into a concertina shape to fit the pockets, pushing it into place prior to securing with upholstery nails.
Having folded the carpet into a concertina shape to fit the pockets, pushing it into place prior to securing with upholstery nails.

Tacking in Place

Once the carpet is in position, tack it down with upholstery nails.

Trimming

Then to tidy up, just use the Stanley knife to cut the excess.

Carpet secured in place with upholstery nails, and trimmed to fit.
Carpet secured in place with upholstery nails, and trimmed to fit.

Attach to Table and Start Using

Job done; all that’s left to do now is to reattach the remote control holder to the side table, slot the remotes in the pockets, and start using it.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The modified remote control holder attached to the leading edge of the side table, with the remotes on the table and ready to place into the pockets.The remotes slipped into the pockets; the larger ones at the back and the smaller two in the front pocket.
The modified remote control holder attached to the leading edge of the side table, with the remotes on the table and ready to place into the pockets.
The modified remote control holder attached to the leading edge of the side table, with the remotes on the table and ready to place into the pockets.
The remotes slipped into the pockets; the larger ones at the back and the smaller two in the front pocket.
The remotes slipped into the pockets; the larger ones at the back and the smaller two in the front pocket.

Who Uses a Remote Control Holder?

What do you do with your remotes?

See results

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.

© 2019 Arthur Russ

Your Comments

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    • Nathanville profile imageAUTHOR

      Arthur Russ 

      5 weeks ago from England

      It’s hard to imagine how a fabric holder could be an issue, provided the pockets are not too deep, but…..still!!!!

      Occasionally, when we’ve briefly put one of the remotes down by the side of us e.g. on the sofa or a side table, one of the cats will sit on it and change the channel or fast-forward the recording we’re watching etc.

      One thing I hate, is hunting for a remote if we’ve mislaid, which happened all too frequently before I made the original remote control holder. When I first made the holder I did wonder on how effective it would be, as it is fixed to the side table by where I sit. I was wondering whether my wife and son would just take the remotes when needed and not put them back. But to my surprise, and delight, everyone does use the holder properly; and when they want a remote, they just ask me and I take it out of the holder and pass it to them.

      Although it would be difficult to lose the Virgin Media’s TiVo Cable TV Box Remote, because it has a find feature built into it e.g. that particular remote has a wireless connection to the TiVo box (so it doesn’t need to be direct line of contact to work); and if you can’t find it all you do is press and hold the ‘on’ switch on the TiVo box and the remote will then start making a beeping noise so that you can track it down.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      5 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      That sounds ingenious, and I like your invention. My husband won't allow us to use a holder for the remote controls because he is such a "bull-in-the-china shop" that when he yanks a remote out of the holder, he catches it on the front and pulls out the buttons. Of course, that's never his fault! LOL I like the idea of one made of fabric, but when I mentioned it, he nixed that one too. Once our main remote stayed lost for nearly a month, and we had to bring in the one from the bedroom. Oh well, if he enjoys hunting them so much, who am I to complain?

    • profile image

      Lali 

      5 weeks ago

      Nice post.

    • Nathanville profile imageAUTHOR

      Arthur Russ 

      5 weeks ago from England

      If you're any good at sewing perhaps you could make a cloth one with pockets that could be strapped to the side of the coffee table?

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      Just what I need but for now, I will content myself to having the remotes on the coffee table.

    • Nathanville profile imageAUTHOR

      Arthur Russ 

      5 weeks ago from England

      Yes, minimal effort in set up and use is what I like. In having a quick peek at what’s on the market these days, I notice universal remotes have come a long way since those early days. A lot more sophisticated and a lot more choice. The hardest part these days would be choosing the right one to that best suits your taste, requirements and budget. Although the Logitech Harmony Universal Remotes seem to dominate the market, so there’s one Model Range I’d be looking at if I was looking for a Universal Remote.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 weeks ago from UK

      That sounds like the kind of remote we need. Minimal effort on our part would be great.

    • Nathanville profile imageAUTHOR

      Arthur Russ 

      5 weeks ago from England

      Yes, it is more remotes than I could ever have imagined; just too watch something on TV. The only reason we replaced our old TV (which we loved) is the Plasma was badly degrading; otherwise we’d hung on for a few more years to if Samsung finally managed to make the breakthrough in the Quantum technology they are pursuing. But needs must, and in having to replace our old Plasma TV I did a lot of research before opting for the Samsung’s QLED rather than an LG OLED screen; a factor which I may write about soon in another article. And I think I will probably cover some aspects of our remote controls in more details in that article, especially the universal remote that came with the QLED and the digital audio remote for the optical digital switch, which we bought afterwards but which has turned out to be rather cool.

      We did have a ‘universal remote’ control years ago, to replace a remote that had died, but that remote was quite fiddly to synchronise with equipment e.g. having to manually tap in four digit codes until one worked, and then saving it so that it remembered the setting. Whereas the new QLED TV we have is smart enough to work out what equipment we’ve got and automatically pass that information onto the universal remote that came with the TV, so that within less than a minute of me turning the new TV on for the first time it’s universal remote was working with all the equipment we have; without me even having to do anything.

    • profile image

      cre8iveskill skill 

      5 weeks ago

      NICE IDEA

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 weeks ago from UK

      That's a lot of remotes you have there. Great idea for storage though and detailed tips on how to expand it. Our tv remote sadly appears to be on its last legs. So we might be in the market for a one for all remote soon.

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