Whether you are at home, workplace, or living in a PG (paying guest). You are often worried about finding a place to arrange your things in such a way as to make your room look neat and clean. You may need a place to store your clothes, utensils, accessories, stationary items, etc. so that everything in the room looks organized. The best way to do this would be the use of drawers. Usage of own drawers is undoubtedly the best solution for the above-mentioned problem. Now the actual question is “How to build a drawer?“.
By this, you may reduce the chance of losing anything and you will not misplace the things. And you will be able to easily access the thing which you want without searching for it.
Is it difficult to build a drawer by yourself? Should we need to be an expert in woodwork to build this? How to build a drawer box that is durable? And how to build a drawer that is easy to assemble? There may be a lot of questions running through your mind right now.
So, in this article, we will be discussing how to build a drawer box. By the end of this article, you will be able to find a valid solution for every doubt you are having.
1. Is Building Drawers Easy?
The difficulty of building a drawer usually depends on your level of woodworking or DIY experience. The design’s complexity and the resource availability might decide the ease of making a drawer by yourself.
To reduce your difficulty, we brought this article towards you to provide you with an ample amount of knowledge that you can use to make a drawer box by yourself easily.
Different types of methods are discussed below so that you can choose the method that suits your interest.
2. Basic Rules for Building Drawer Boxes
First, you should decide the purpose of having a drawer before building drawers. Have a clear idea of why you want to build a drawer. Because for different purposes, the size, shape and material used might differ. So before directly diving into building a drawer, get a clear idea for yourself.
After deciding the purpose of the drawer, it is time to decide what kind of drawer slides you are going to use. Side-mounted drawer slides are the most common drawer slides that one can use. But if you want to go with the trend, you may choose under-mount drawer slides too which are becoming popular nowadays.
It is necessary to decide which kind of drawer slide you are about to build because the dimensions of the drawer will be determined according to the instructions for installation which will be unique for every drawer slide.
As you already decided the purpose of the drawer, you will have a clear idea of what you are storing in it. So according to that you decide how much weight your drawer should hold. So that the bottom of the drawer would not fall out.
3. What’s the Best Wood for Making Drawer Boxes?
There is certainly no exact answer to this question. Because one can use any kind of wood for building the drawers. One will use plywood for building drawer boxes, other might use solid wood. Some need thicker wood and some others may need thinner plywood.
But the main thing you need to look for is your wood needs to be straight. There should be no twistings, cuppings or wrapping in your boards so that the drawer boxes won’t be twisty and un-square. To ensure this, plywood can be preferred over solid wood.
But most of the drawers are built with plywood. You can use sanded plywood to save your money. Even though plywood costs more than solid wood, plywood can withstand climatic changes better than the latter.
There would be less wrapping in the plywood due to seasonal changes. Also, plywood looks stylish after the finishing. Baltic birch plywood is commonly known as plywood.
4. What are the Best Drawer Slides to Use?
We can find different types of drawer slides to build drawer boxes. Ball-bearing drawer slides, side-mount slides, undermount drawer slides, centre-mount drawer slides and wooden drawer slides are some examples. So, you can choose any of them according to your interests.
Among all these, ball-bearing full-extension drawer slides are mostly strong enough and installing them is comparatively easier. It also becomes easy to use with the presence of a full extension. These slides are also available in soft-close versions.
5. How Much Weight Drawers Can Hold?
The weight that a drawer box can hold depends on which type of slides you are using and not on the drawer box as a whole. Some heavier-duty slides have a large capacity to retain weight.
The strength and durability of the drawer box might also depend on the handles, knobs and pulls that we use which overall determines the weight capacity of the drawer.
Avoid overloading drawers beyond their recommended weight limitations as this could result in damage to the drawer slides or failure of the drawer itself. Also larger the drawer bottoms, the higher their weight capacity due to the increased surface area and support which it has.
Knowing how to build a drawer box that can resist high amounts of weight is as important as knowing how to build a drawer box.
You should know that a standard side mount ball-bearing drawer slide can potentially hold 100 lbs. You need to check the manufacturer’s specs on the slides that you buy to get an idea about this.
6. Materials Required to Build a Drawer
Each type of drawer needs different types of materials. The required materials will be discussed below the methods of building a drawer box itself. It’s never better to shop for drawers than to shop for materials to build a drawer box.
You can easily find all these items in a furniture store near your locality. Drawer box pieces are easily available everywhere.
7. Drawer Box Size
7.1) Width of a Drawer Box
For determining the width of a drawer box, we need to consider the thickness of the drawer slides. You can get that information on the drawer slide.
If you are using ball-bearing slides, they can work well with ½” on each side when the width of the drawer box is 1” smaller than the opening.
You also need to make sure that the length of the drawer slides should match the sides. The sides should be an inch less than the depth of the cabinet.
7.2) Depth of the Drawer Box
The depth of the drawer slide will usually depend upon whether the drawer front is inset or overlay.
If you are going with the overlay drawers, you can undoubtedly use the entire depth of the opening.
For the inset, the thickness of the drawer front must be subtracted.
7.3) Dimensions of the Drawer Fronts
For making an inset drawer box, you should leave at least ⅛” gap all around the drawer front. This will help in the movement of the drawer box.
If you are making an overlay drawer box, the overall project should be taken into account for determining the dimensions.
7.4) Equations to Make Your Work Simple
Final drawer width = width of opening – slide clearance,
Final drawer height = height of opening – ¾” (at least),
Final drawer length = slide length that fits in the drawer opening without the back being hit.
8. How to Build a Drawer With a Nailed Bottom and Wood Glue?
This is one of the easiest ways to build a drawer. A brad nailer could suffice to assemble the drawer. But the unhappy thing about this is it is not that strong enough to hold a huge amount of weight.
If you are looking for a drawer box to hold less amounts of weight, this method could be beneficial for you.
Few tools are required in this method of building a drawer box: 1*6 board, ¼” plywood, countersink bit, 1 ¼” wood screws or pocket screws, power drill, wood glue, panel nails, hammer, speed square and a tape measure.
To make sure your wood doesn’t split near the edges, pre-drill the screw holes beforehand. The screw heads may be placed flat on the drawer box sides by countersinking the screws.
From both the ends of the longer side pieces, mark a line ⅜” and along this line, drill three countersink holes.
8.2) Glue and Screw
The wood glue should be applied where the boards will be bound together. Make sure the pieces are aligned at a 90-degree angle with the help of a speed square and then attach the drawer box sides to the front and rear with 1 ¼” wood screws.
Brad’s nails are alternative to screw heads, although they aren’t as powerful. Ensure that these screw heads are at or below the wood’s surface.
Also, check for the squareness of the drawer box as the square drawer box looks perfect and maintains the straight edge. Let the glue dry for some time and then move to the next step.
8.3) Glue and Nail on the Bottom
In this stage, cut the bottom portion of ¼” plywood to the exact dimensions of the box that was made in the previous step.
Now you should apply wood glue around the bottom border of the drawer box to perfectly align the plywood bottom with the corners and sides.
For attaching the bottom to the drawer box, you can use brad nails or panel nails and a hammer. After doing this, you can paint the drawer box to get the finishing look.
9. How to Build a Drawer With a Recessed Bottom?
You might be wondering how to build a drawer with a recessed bottom. For making this type of drawer box, we need just a drill and screws. It’s that easy to make it. The bottom is held together by screws that penetrate the sides and fit flat with the box’s bottom border.
This type of drawer box is comparatively stronger than the nailed-on-the-bottom method because the bottom is composed of a stronger material and the screws keep the bottom from falling out.
But the only thing is you need to use thicker material (½” or above) for the bottom edge so that the screws will have something to hold onto.
Materials required: 1*6 board, ½” or ¾” plywood, countersink bit, 1 ¼” wood screws or pocket screws, drill, circular saw, wood glue, dado blade, dado stack, square and tape measure. You can include drawer box pieces if required.
Step 1 – Predrill
First, you should mark a ⅜” line from the bottom of all the pieces and the side pieces end. Then you need to drill countersink holes consecutively giving 4-6 inches of space along these lines. This is done to prevent the wood from splitting when screws are driven in.
Step 2 – Assembling the Drawer Box
You should put together the exterior of the drawer box in the same way as the previous one. Also, apply the wood glue wherever the boards will be attached.
Make sure the wood pieces are squared to 90 degree angle then attach the drawer box sides to the front and rear with 1 ¼” wood screws.
Check for the squareness of the drawer box. Wait till the glue dried before stepping into the next.
Step 3 – Attaching the Bottom
After assembling and ensuring that the drawer box is square, measure the interior of the drawer box from side to side and front and back.
Now cut a piece of ½” to ¾” plywood for the bottom to the exact measurements of the interior of the drawer box. Then the bottom piece should be glued along all four edges before being placed on a flat work surface. The drawer box should be placed over the bottom so that it fits tightly into the drawer box sides.
For holding the bottom in place, you need to insert 1 ¼” wood screws into the predrilled holes along the box’s bottom edge.
10. How to Build a Drawer Box with a Captured Bottom?
Now, we’re going to learn how to build a drawer with a captured bottom. This is the commonly used method to design a traditionally constructed drawer. These types of drawer boxes can mostly be seen in stores.
The bottom panel of a drawer box having a captured bottom floats in pocket holes which had been made into all four sides of the drawer box. This technique can be applied to prevent the screws being visible on the sides.
For getting an incredibly strong pocket hole drawer box, wood glue should be added to the interior of the pocket holes. Alternatively, put a little amount of hot glue on the corners to prevent the bottom from creaking.
Materials required: 1*6 board, ¼” plywood, pocket hole jig, 1 ¼” pocket hole screws, drill, mitre saw, wood glue, square and a tape measure.
Buy a pre-cut drawer slide to avoid cutting the grooves into drawer box pieces by yourself.
10.1) Drilling the Pocket Holes
On the side opposite the groove, you need to drill pocket holes into the ends of the front and back pieces. And ensure that you don’t drill inside the groove.
10.2) Assembling Drawer Boxes
Now, add wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket hole screws to join the front piece to both side pieces. To allow for the bottom to slide in easily, ensure that all of the grooves are aligned perfectly.
Then cut the ¼” plywood in such a way that it fits into the pocket holes evenly on both sides for a fully enclosed bottom.
For example, if we cut a ¼” hole, the bottom’s length and width should be increased by ½”. The bottom should be slid into the sides of the drawer box’s grooves.
You can now add the back by inserting the bottom into the groove and fastening the pocket hole screws.
10.3) Making a Replaceable Captured Bottom
Usually using wood glue to assemble drawer boxes has the disadvantage that it’s completely permanent. What if something spilt inside the drawer or the thin plywood bottom cracked? Then you need to construct a brand-new one again. So, how to build a drawer box to avoid this problem?
To make the bottom easily removable, you need to change your construction process. Using a blum undermount drawer slide also eliminates the need to cut those tiny notches in the rear.
Keep the table saw fence in place after all the drawer box parts have had their pocket holes cut, but lift the blade so that it extends through the board’s thickness. Cut out everything below the top of the groove on the back piece.
As usual, add ¼” to the length of the front groove when cutting the plywood for the bottom. However, you should also add the whole thickness of the rear piece. Into the pocket holes, slide the bottom. It needs to reach towards the back of the drawer box.
The bottom piece is placed on the top of the rear piece. Install pocket hole screws into the sides to hold it in place and reduce the wood movement.
After this, turn the drawer box over and tighten a couple of tiny screws into the back piece through the bottom.
So, if you ever need to replace a drawer bottom, simply loosen the screws and slide out the drawer box bottom. Additionally, the screws stop the bottom from shaking inside the pocket holes.
In this article, we found out that the type of wood we use for building a drawer box plays an important role in giving the required durability to the drawer box.
We got to know about the different types of drawer slides available and which one can best suit our needs and the type of drawer slide which we use determines the weight the drawer box can hold. We figured out an easy way to determine the size of the drawer box we make.
Also, we learnt how to build a drawer box using three methods by ourselves without any difficulty.
I hope that this article cleared all the doubts you had and made you a person who knows how to build a drawer box. Keep on following my articles so that you don’t miss any of the important and useful things I share.