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Things I've Been Learning while Making and Installing Drawers

how to make and install drawers in closet

Hey there,

As I told you in my previous post, building and installing drawers isn't my cup of tea. I still have a long way to go in this department.

This was my third time dealing with these suckers, and I know it's not going to be my last one either.

So, I better learn from my mistakes and I hope you do too because in reality it's not that tough and the more tricks you have up your sleeve the easier it is.

To start things off, I installed the drawer slides even before putting the shelves together.  Since these were small shelves, I didn't want to deal with level lines and driving screws in such cramped spaces.
(this trick still needs further revision).

how to install slides in drawers

The picture below is how they looked at that time.
The size I gave each drawer was very random, the only requirement I made, was to have a very shallow top drawer and a deep one at the bottom.

When the time came to build the drawers I used materials I already had, 1 x 4's for the two top drawers and 1 x 6's  for all the remaining ones, even for the ones at the bottom.

The width of the drawers was determined by the dimension of the space where they needed to fit minus 1" for the slides.
The depth of my shelves was 16". I built the drawers at 15" and used 14" slides.

After putting together the boxes with the Kreg Jig mechanism, I attached the slides to each side, aligning them to the very front.

Square dowels were glued and nailed all around the lower perimeter of the drawers in order to support the ¼" plywood bottoms.

Using the square dowels was much easier than making dado grooves, like I did with the drawers above the fridge cabinet HERE.

I didn't attached the plywood bottom to the boxes at that moment and, I think it's best to attach them after the drawers are completely installed.

The boxes were brought to the room and placed on the slides already installed on the shelves.
I crossed my fingers for all of them to fit without any trouble, but uh-oh!
Two of them didn't go in. :(
One of them felt very loose. The rolling thing on the slides was kinda falling out of place...
yep, the drawer was too short, narrow.

I had to remove and reinstall the slides for those drawers that didn't go in.
I don't think it was a good idea to attach the slides to the shelves at the beginning of the project.

Some shims were the solution for the drawer that was to short or narrow.

Notice that at this time the face frame was already installed on the shelves. The drawer boxes were built and installed to stay right behind this face frame.

Once the drawers were sliding in and out without any hassle, it was time to build the drawer fronts. They would bring the drawers flush to the face frame on the shelves.

I determined the height of each front at this point, with the boxes in place. It doesn't matter if your boxes are shallow or deep, or if they aren't that level, or if you use shims to get a better fit. The fronts hide a multitude of sins!

½" plywood and ¼" lattice were used to construct the fronts. The two of them together were the exact dimension to bring the drawers flush with the front frame.

Wood glue and brad nails held them together.

I thought the installation was going to be more difficult, but in reality it was very simple.
I guess, not having the drawer bottoms in place help a lot in this department.
The top front was the first to be attached, it was held with clamps, removed from the tower and from the inside two screws on each side held them in place. (Sorry, no pictures of this), continuing with the other drawers in the same way...

Until they were all attached.

The final part was to drill the center hole for the knob and attach the drawer bottoms.

After caulking, sanding and painting them this is how they look.

how to make and install drawers

The following are all the links to each of the projects done in this room:

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  1. Wow!!! what a beautiful job you did! You are an inspiration to me, in ways you will never know. I have several builder grade closets that need updating and I know I will be referring to this project several more times over the next couple of months. PS I did steal/borrow your idea for the space over the top of my kitchen cabinets and I just love how it turned out.

    1. Lugene, thanks so much for your very kind words! It's good to know the projects I've been tackling are useful. I would love to see pictures of your kitchen, I visited your blog but couldn't find any. Love the chair you re-did with the cow hide. ;)

  2. I am so impressed with this project Cristina. You did an amazing job. Maybe you would like to adopt me....

    1. Hehehe Sure, that's a no-brainer! You're the scientist I always wanted to be, and you build too, DONE!
      Thanks Karen!

  3. Ok using the square dowels on the bottom was genius!!
    Thanks for the awesome idea! And they look great.

    1. Thanks Ronda! They're waaay easier than the grooves!

  4. That closet is looks fantastic. I love the design details on the drawer fronts and how you've got them stacked on top of each other without face frames between them.

    I am co-hosting the #HomeMattersParty link party this month and would love to have you stop by for a visit. The current party is open through Monday night.

  5. I love how you made the closet. The pull out drawers are my favorite

  6. Que gran trabajo con ese closet m como me gusto la cantidad de cajones , ideal para ordenar y esos tiradores están muy bonitos

  7. And here almost 2 years later you are still helping others with this great post! Thanks so much for taking the time to detail your work and explain the oops! that happen. My wife does this kind of thing and I know how hard it is to do both the work and documentation at the same time - but this is excellent!

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