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How to DIY Dresser Drawers – The Easy Guide

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DIY dresser drawers might look like something abundant and perhaps complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.

In this guide, I will show you the steps and tips on how two build two sturdy dresser drawers of different dimensions. This way you will have a pretty good idea of how to combine them and make as many DIY dresser drawers as you need. 

drawer dresser

The best thing is that you need simple tools and even the measurements are super easy, and in return, you get handmade pieces of furniture that can be used for multiple things.

If you have fun making things instead of simply buying them – you are in the right place!

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Why DIY a Dresser Drawer?

DIY Wooden Notebook - Sanding, Why DIY a Dresser Drawer?

There are two types of people in this world – the ones that don’t want to bother with DIY projects, and the ones that do. 

As you might suppose I am the second kind which is why it should be no surprise to know that as far as I am concerned, each DIY dresser drawer has a personality of its own.  

When it comes to making drawers, the main reason to do it is to stay on the budget while still getting exactly what you want, and there is no such thing as too many drawers!

What to know before getting started!

What to know before getting started!, diy dresser drawers

The first thing you need to be aware of before starting these DIY dresser drawers is that although they are not rocket science, you are going to use different tools. 

These tools are easy to handle, but I strongly recommend you take the time to read the manuals.

Watch tutorials, or, if necessary, get someone to show you how to use them, especially if you are a beginner (and remember, in case of doubt, Google is your friend).

Generally speaking, aesthetics are important. This means that you should invest a bit of time and make sure that you do the sanding properly. Also, if you want to use paint (I am keeping the natural look in this guide), be sure it is nice and even.

You can choose the color of your own preference, just make sure to think about it beforehand.

It wouldn’t be nice to have the screws hanging all around the dresser, so double-check if you patched everything properly.

Keep it safe at all times. Be patient if you face an obstacle while working on these DIY dresser drawers. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination to overcome it – these are instructions, not the rules.

If you are interested in learning more about creativity and the obstacles, you can click here.

Tools Required

Tools you’ll need to make a dresser with drawers are:

Materials needed for DIY Dresser Drawers

Pink Ombre Dresser BEFORE

To make these drawers that also work perfectly for a DIY changing table dresser you need the following materials:

I have two additional pieces of advice here: firstly, you might be able to find cheap deals for plywood at your local stores, so take a look at all of the options before ordering.

Secondly, the wicker basket drawers are my cheap dresser drawers option, you can take the liberty of changing them at all times.

Cut list for Dresser Drawer DIY

Cut list for Dresser Drawer DIY

When it comes to cheap DIY dresser ideas, making a new one, from scratch, might be less expensive than repurposing DIY dresser ideas some people think of. 

Now, there are few aspects that you have to be precise about, otherwise, you might not get what you want.

By this, I mean following and adjusting the instructions for DIY dresser drawers. As I mentioned before, if you are not familiar with the tools and the measurements, you will probably struggle more during the process. 

This is why I have prepared you a detailed overview, or better a cut list for this particular project.

  • 14.5’’ length x 9’’ height x 18.1/8’’ width for the bigger drawer (note: I use 3/4’’ plywood).
  • 14.5’’ length x 5’’ height x 18.1/8’’ width for the smaller drawer (note: I use 3/4’’ plywood).
  • You will get the dimensions for the bottom panel by measuring the total width and length of the drawers. I used ¼” thick plywood for the bottom panels.
  • For these dimensions, you use 14” drawer slides.
  • There are no angle cuts. Use the measuring tools and the marker to make sure you cut the plywood evenly.

With this, we have finalized the cutting list for my DIY dresser drawers’ project guide. 

Cutting Instructions

cutting list DI dresser drawers

The focus here is making drawers that are sturdy and useful. Note that there is also a possibility of repurposing dresser drawers, as long as you have an adequate frame.

Follow the instructions, and make adjustments during the process if necessary, and the functionality shouldn’t be a problem. 

One piece of advice here: if you want to make two or more dresser drawers of the same dimensions and put them within the same frame, make sure you leave enough space between them. 

The simplest way to measure this correctly is to use the drawer slide above the first drawer. Then you mark the drilling spots and leave approximately 1” or 2” of ”wiggle space” so the drawers won’t overlap once you mount them.

When it comes to looks, make an additional effort and pre-sand the wood. Repeat the process after cutting and after attaching the drawer’s sides if needed. 

You will hear many different options about it, and on the Internet, you will find hundreds of different opinions on when and how to do it. 

Instructions for DIY Dresser Drawers

Neatly ordered clothes in drawer

Step 1 – Prepping the plywood boards 

This is the moment you start using a circular saw. The most efficient way to start building the drawers is to cut all the plywood you need beforehand. 

So, you cut two 14.5” sides and front and back sides making sure that the dimensions are 18.1/8” each.

Take the drill (make sure you learned how to use it properly) and then pre-drill a few pocket holes on the front and the back pieces for each dresser drawer as you will need it as a reinforcement for the glue while assembling.  

If you don’t plan on painting the drawers, make sure you fine-tune the surfaces with sandpaper after cutting and drilling.

Step 2 – Assembling the DIY dresser drawers

This is an easy step as long as you make sure you don’t overuse the glue. Put the wood glue along the edges of the boards for each box separately. 

When you connect the sides, take the screws, and reinforce the connection by using the pre-drilled pocket holes.

Once you assemble the sides, attaching the bottom panels is quite straightforward. I used ¼’’ plywood for the bottom so if you are using the same, the glue bead has to be really thin, and it has to go around all of the corners.

Once you connect the sides and the bottom, use pin nails to strengthen the corner. Alternatively, you can use regular nails and a hammer if you are not sure how to use the machine.  

Note that you should be attentive to the smoothness of the surface at all times. It will look better if all sides of the drawers are flat all the way.

Step 3 – Mounting the DIY dresser drawers

How to glue metallic Scrap Wood Trees

Once you finish assembling the drawers, you have to know how to mount them, otherwise, you have a DIY box rather than a DIY dresser drawer. 

Take the 14” drawer slide, separate the half that goes to the dresser and the one that goes to the drawer.

Now, you might need a smaller drill for this part (1/16” for example). All of the drawer slides come with the instructions.

The smartest thing to do is to follow them. Pre-drill the pocket holes and attach the screws on both the drawers and the slides. 

Step 4 – Finishing up by putting a hardware 

At this point, we have everything to build two dresser drawers, and we know how to mount them. The final step is to see how to add the hardware on both drawers.

Firstly, you need to measure where you want the hardware to go. The most common place is right in the middle of the drawer.

Since you have to mark the drilling spots while measuring, I’d recommend you cover the plywood with some easily removable tape, so later on, you can remove it. 

Once you figure the center of each drawer, carefully drill the pocket holes, attach the screws and mount the hardware.

Finishing Instructions and Tips

Few more details about assembling DIY dresser drawers

Tip Nr.1: Few more details about assembling DIY dresser drawers

As you can see, once the measures are figured, the rest is easy to handle. I recommend you reinforce all the screws, but make sure to use the level tool and see if the drawers are as flat as they should be. 

To be honest, you should use the level tool during the whole assembling process. It will save you so much trouble. 

Tip Nr.2: Calculate the back panel of the dresser before cutting

How to use a mitre saw to cut barn board!

As there are many different frames and plywood types, you should keep in mind that if you use other dimensions, you have to deduce the thickness of the plywood while calculating the length of your future drawer.  

Tip Nr.3: Making and mounting more than two dresser drawers

Most of the time, I try DIY projects that can serve as an inspiration and give you options. This guide is about making a simple two-drawer dresser of different dimensions.

Still, if you want to twist it and have more drawers, the cutting and the assembling principles are the same, but the measuring is different.

First and foremost, you have to calculate the space for drawer slides and space for mounting the drawers.

If you plan on adding the door after you mount the drawers, you also need to deduce the material’s thickness from the total length of the drawer. These are all things you need to think about beforehand. 

Tip Nr.4: Re-thinking colors and style

pink ombre dresser

One of the advantages of the DIY projects is that you can match any furniture with your existing home décor. Or you can use them to bring about the change and freshen up the space you live in.

The decoration and styling of the drawers are individual.

I decided to keep these drawers with a natural look as they are staying in my bedroom, and I like to keep it simple with the furniture in the room where I sleep in.

You should indeed figure out what kind of drawers you want to end up making. Colors can be used in so many ways. 

For example, you can learn how to transform a dresser with paint if you are into interior design, or you are simply interested in painting.

Final thoughts on How to DIY Dresser Drawers

For those who like pink, and like to keep things cheerful, I would address the possibility to paint a pink ombre dresser and make the matching drawers for it! I did it for a friend of mine, and it looks amazing!

There are so many options to consider at this point! You can go for a modern nautical dresser makeover (it is actually popular. Or, for example, you can learn how to wallpaper a dresser. The wallpaper technique is quite intriguing, as you can use all sorts of prints, nowadays people are even trying 3D options.

All in all, once you get the basics right, the whole process of DIY dresser drawers becomes one giant experiment of materials and styles. 

Finishing up a project like this builds up your skills, and trust me, once you get the hang of the cutting and the sanding – nothing can stop you anymore!

You will start seeing all sorts of new things you can make, or change, it becomes a sort of a lifestyle. Stay tuned for more awesome content and make sure you do your own experiments whenever you have the time.


drawer dresser
Yield: DIY Dresser Drawers

How to DIY Dresser Drawers

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate
Estimated Cost: $15

DIY dresser drawers might look like something abundant and perhaps complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.

In this guide, I will show you the steps and tips on how two build two sturdy dresser drawers of different dimensions. This way you will have a pretty good idea of how to combine them and make as many DIY dresser drawers as you need. 

Materials

  • Screws
  • Glue
  • Hardwire for drawers
  • Drawer slides
  • Plywood boards

Tools

  • Eye protection
  • Ear protection
  • Gloves
  • Colored marker
  • Circular saw (to cut wood)
  • Set of 2 drawer slide jigs
  • Screw kit
  • Drill set (12v should be enough)
  • Pin Nailer + pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Level tool

Instructions

  1. Step 1 – Prepping the plywood boards. This is the moment you start using a circular saw. The most efficient way to start building the drawers is to cut all the plywood you need beforehand. 
  2. So, you cut two 14.5” sides and front and back sides making sure that the dimensions are 18.1/8” each.
  3. Take the drill (make sure you learned how to use it properly) and then pre-drill a few pocket holes on the front and the back pieces for each dresser drawer as you will need it as a reinforcement for the glue while assembling.  
  4. f you don’t plan on painting the drawers, make sure you fine-tune the surfaces with sandpaper after cutting and drilling.
  5. This is an easy step as long as you make sure you don’t overuse the glue. Put the wood glue along the edges of the boards for each box separately. 
  6. When you connect the sides, take the screws, and reinforce the connection by using the pre-drilled pocket holes.
  7. Once you assemble the sides, attaching the bottom panels is quite straightforward. I used ¼’’ plywood for the bottom so if you are using the same, the glue bead has to be really thin, and it has to go around all of the corners.
  8. Once you connect the sides and the bottom, use pin nails to strengthen the corner. Alternatively, you can use regular nails and a hammer if you are not sure how to use the machine.  
  9. Note that you should be attentive to the smoothness of the surface at all times. It will look better if all sides of the drawers are flat all the way.
  10. Once you finish assembling the drawers, you have to know how to mount them, otherwise, you have a DIY box rather than a DIY dresser drawer. 
  11. Make the 14” drawer slide, separate the half that goes to the dresser and the one that goes to the drawer.
  12. Now, you might need a smaller drill for this part (1/16” for example). All of the drawer slides come with the instructions.
  13. The smartest thing to do is to follow them. Pre-drill the pocket holes and attach the screws on both the drawers and the slides. 
  14. At this point, we have everything to build two dresser drawers, and we know how to mount them. The final step is to see how to add the hardware on both drawers.
  15. Firstly, you need to measure where you want the hardware to go. The most common place is right in the middle of the drawer.
  16. Since you have to mark the drilling spots while measuring, I’d recommend you cover the plywood with some easily removable tape, so later on, you can remove it. 
  17. Once you figure the center of each drawer, carefully drill the pocket holes, attach the screws and mount the hardware.

Notes

Please check our cutting list before getting started.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest


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