How To Construct a Drawer

When it comes to handmade furniture, few projects are as straightforward as constructing drawers.

How To Construct a Drawer
No extensive woodworking knowledge or previous experience is necessary. From start to finish, this project will take 90 minutes or less, not counting time elapsed for optional staining and drying. As you grow accustomed to the process of crafting drawers, you may find yourself experimenting with other DIY wood projects. .

Measure both the width and the height of the opening in which your drawer will fit. The drawer must be 1 inch smaller in width and height than the corresponding measurements of the opening. For example, if the opening measures 14 inches tall by 10 inches wide, then your drawer will measure 13 inches tall by 9 inches wide. The drawer's length should be 1 to 3 inches shorter than the total depth of the opening. Make notes of all of your measurements before you begin working.

Cut both of the drawer's lateral (side) panels from the ½- inch plywood according to the measurements that you wrote down in Step 1. These panels will have a height that equals the drawer opening, less 1 inch, minus the thickness of the plywood to be used for the bottom panel of the drawer, itself.

Use the ¾- inch lumber for both the front and rear panels of the drawer. The length of these panels will be the width of the drawer's opening, less 1 inch for the roller guides of the drawer. The height of these panels will be equal to the lateral ones in Step 2.

Secure lateral panels to the front and rear ones with 1½-inch finishing nails. The lower panel is cut from ¼-inch plywood that measures equal to the the same length and width as the area created by joining the side panels to the front and rear ones in the previous step.

Attach the bottom panel to the frame that was created by joining the front, rear, and side panels by using #6-by-1-inch wood screws. This section can also be secured with wood glue. Cut out the drawer's "face" using ¾-inch lumber. The facing panel will measure 1½ inches longer and wider than the front panel of the box portion of the drawer. This is the only area of the drawer that will be visible once the drawer is installed. You can decorate the edges of the drawer's face by cutting notches with a router and sanding the edges smooth. You may also choose to stain the wood to match the rest of the furniture that will contain the drawer.

Center the face of the drawer over the front panel. Secure the two pieces together from the inside with 1¼-inch wood screws.

Attach the roller guides to the lower corner of the lateral panels, and in the bottom edges of the drawer opening according to the manufacturer's directions. Secure your chosen hardware/drawer pulls to finish your drawer.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • 3/4-inch lumber
  • 1/2-inch plywood
  • 1/4-inch plywood
  • 1½-inch finish nails
  • #6-by-1-inch wood screws
  • 1¼ -inch wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • Router
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Roller drawer guides
  • Decorative hardware of your choice


  • Always double check your measurements before you begin cutting your lumber for this project. It helps to mark your measurements on the wood in pencil.

About the Author

Genae Valecia Hinesman, former banking executive, entrepreneur and fashion model, began writing professionally in 2002. She is a Cum Laude graduate of the University of Southern California where she studied business, finance and exercise physiology. Her articles featured in Living Healthy: 360, Life 123, the American Chronicle and Yahoo Voices.