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Can You Make Drawers Out of MDF?

Mary Jane

Handcrafted wooden drawers must be made with high-quality wood panels to ensure they can hold the total weight of the drawer itself and its content. The wood product known as MDF, however, is widely used when building interior storage, including cabinet and shelving storage. These wood panels are also useful when building drawers for your kitchen, garage or other storage needs.

MDF Particle Boards

MDF is an abbreviation for medium-density fiberboard, which is a type of wood particle boards. These panels are constructed using powdered wood, which is held together with glue. The boards are then compressed into sheet format. MDF sheets are not the same as chipboard or plywood. The reason why MDF is an ideal choice for drawer-building is because it cuts and sands well. In addition, it paints well, unlike chipboard and plywood, according to the Handyman Know How website.

Preparing the Drawer Panels

Drawer construction requires cutting panels for the sides, back and front face of the drawer. The cutting must be done with a table saw or circular saw to get accurate and even cuts. Use medium-grit sandpaper to eliminate any cracks or splinters that may surface after the cutting is complete. Sanding MDF panels is a dusty process, so wear a dust mask.

Drawer Assembly

Assemble the side panels with the back panel first and then add the drawer bottom using a hammer and nails. Use clamps and a level when constructing the drawer frames for an even build. Install sliding tracks on both sides of the drawer. Install the matching base tracks on the inner side of the cabinet frame that will hold the drawers in place. Use a measuring tape and the level to ensure the tracks are evenly installed. Attach the front face last, including the installation of your chosen hardware. Push the drawer's sliding tracks into the base tracks, so the drawer slides in and out of the unit.


Do not use MDF wood panels if you plan on building outdoor storage drawers. MDF is not suited for outdoor conditions, moisture or water. When wet, the boards swell up. In addition, moisture and water are ideal conditions for mold growth, wood decay and deterioration.