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Pull Out Drawer Tutorial


Ana White
Ana White
Ana White
Ana White

It’s easy to convert a kitchen cabinet shelf into a much more functional pull out drawer. All you’ll need is drawer slides, a little bit of wood for boxing in the drawer, and some basic power tools.

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  1. Project Steps

    1. Step: 1

      Cabinet Members for Face Frame Cabinets If you have face frame cabinets, the inside of the cabinet will need to be furred out so the face frame is flush to the inside of the cabinet where the drawer slides are attached. Since on my cabinet this distance was 1/2", I used 1/2” plywood as shims. I attached my cabinet member drawer slides to the 1/2" plywood.  

    2. Step: 2

      Install Cabinet Members Inside Cabinet Using shelf pins inside the cabinet to hold my drawer slide in place, I attached the shim to the interior of the cabinet. If you have frameless cabinets, you can simply attach the drawer slide to the interior of the cabinet directly.

    3. Step: 3

      Installed Cabinet Members When installed the cabinet members should be able to slide past face frame easily, and are level with each other.

    4. Step: 4

      Slide Drawer on to Cabinet Members Slide the drawer on to the cabinet members. If the drawer “sticks” or does not glide smoothly, adjust screws or shim until the drawer slides smooth.

    5. Step: 5

      Remove Shelf Remove the shelf from your kitchen cabinet. The shelf will be used as the bottom of the pull out drawer, so do not discard.

    6. Step: 6

      Measure Your Cabinet Take measurements of the following - Width of front opening, inside the face frame if your cabinet has a face frame - Depth of cabinet - Width of lip inside cabinet where face frame overextends the interior of the cabinet (normally ½”) for face frame cabinets Make sure your cabinet door opens wide enough to allow a pullout drawer to be installed.

    7. Step: 7

      Cut Bottom Shelf Determine how much space your drawer slides (normally 1" total) and the sides of the pull out drawers (if using 1/2” plywood, this distance is 1”, if using 3/4" material, this distance is 1-1/2”) will require, and subtract this number from the opening width of your cabinet. Example: Cabinet Opening =18" Drawer Slide Clearance = 1" Pullout Sides Thickness = 1" Cut Width = 16" Cut the bottom shelf to this width. You may also need to cut the bottom shelf down in length to accommodate adding a front and back to it. I cut mine down by 1” (since I’m using 1/2” plywood on the front and back).

    8. Step: 8

      Cut Sides of Pullout Drawer Cut the material to be used for the sides down in length to match the sides of the drawer bottom.

    9. Step: 9

      Staple Sides to Drawer Bottom Use glue and 1-1/4” staples to attach the pullout drawer sides to the drawer bottom.

    10. Step: 10

      Drawer Front and Back Cut to fit the front and back on the drawer, and attach with glue and staples to the drawer bottom and sides.

    11. Step: 11

      Sand Lightly sand the project with a medium to fine grit sandpaper. Apply a finish to the drawer at this stage if desired.

    12. Step: 12

      Attach Drawer Members to Drawer Box Read the instructions included with your drawer slides. Following instructions, attach drawer member to drawer box.

Comments (7)


  • Great tutorial Ana! I'm needing to do this for an entertainment center and I got some great ideas for the drawers from your project. Thanks! - Pete
    By DIY PETE, on May 1, 2015

  • Thanks Anna, this is really helpful. Will probably use it in my kitchen.
    By dksheldon, on May 8, 2015

  • well I did this a few years ago, my wife really love's it. I got my slide's very cheap at CSH.com I also made a pull out draw for her spice's. using my Ryobi tools it was so easy to do
    By silverdollar89, on May 29, 2015

  • Can't wait to do this project!!
    By kdiliberto, on June 3, 2015

  • Ana I have done something similar to a portable island in my kitchen. You did a fantastic job. your projects are very economical and give the high end results C
    By maga, on June 28, 2015

  • Oh my goodness, I can't wait to do this!
    By cnoher0, on December 18, 2017

  • Ana, you are a life saver! Saved a ton with this easy to do project reusing original shelf! Thank you!
    By TeresaCA, on April 18, 2020

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Pull Out Drawer Tutorial

by Ana White
May 01, 2015

It’s easy to convert a kitchen cabinet shelf into a much more functional pull out drawer. All you’ll need is drawer slides, a little bit of wood for boxing in the drawer, and some basic power tools.

Project Steps

  1. Step: 1

    Cabinet Members for Face Frame Cabinets If you have face frame cabinets, the inside of the cabinet will need to be furred out so the face frame is flush to the inside of the cabinet where the drawer slides are attached. Since on my cabinet this distance was 1/2", I used 1/2” plywood as shims. I attached my cabinet member drawer slides to the 1/2" plywood.  

  2. Step: 2

    Install Cabinet Members Inside Cabinet Using shelf pins inside the cabinet to hold my drawer slide in place, I attached the shim to the interior of the cabinet. If you have frameless cabinets, you can simply attach the drawer slide to the interior of the cabinet directly.

  3. Step: 3

    Installed Cabinet Members When installed the cabinet members should be able to slide past face frame easily, and are level with each other.

  4. Step: 4

    Slide Drawer on to Cabinet Members Slide the drawer on to the cabinet members. If the drawer “sticks” or does not glide smoothly, adjust screws or shim until the drawer slides smooth.

  5. Step: 5

    Remove Shelf Remove the shelf from your kitchen cabinet. The shelf will be used as the bottom of the pull out drawer, so do not discard.

  6. Step: 6

    Measure Your Cabinet Take measurements of the following - Width of front opening, inside the face frame if your cabinet has a face frame - Depth of cabinet - Width of lip inside cabinet where face frame overextends the interior of the cabinet (normally ½”) for face frame cabinets Make sure your cabinet door opens wide enough to allow a pullout drawer to be installed.

  7. Step: 7

    Cut Bottom Shelf Determine how much space your drawer slides (normally 1" total) and the sides of the pull out drawers (if using 1/2” plywood, this distance is 1”, if using 3/4" material, this distance is 1-1/2”) will require, and subtract this number from the opening width of your cabinet. Example: Cabinet Opening =18" Drawer Slide Clearance = 1" Pullout Sides Thickness = 1" Cut Width = 16" Cut the bottom shelf to this width. You may also need to cut the bottom shelf down in length to accommodate adding a front and back to it. I cut mine down by 1” (since I’m using 1/2” plywood on the front and back).

  8. Step: 8

    Cut Sides of Pullout Drawer Cut the material to be used for the sides down in length to match the sides of the drawer bottom.

  9. Step: 9

    Staple Sides to Drawer Bottom Use glue and 1-1/4” staples to attach the pullout drawer sides to the drawer bottom.

  10. Step: 10

    Drawer Front and Back Cut to fit the front and back on the drawer, and attach with glue and staples to the drawer bottom and sides.

  11. Step: 11

    Sand Lightly sand the project with a medium to fine grit sandpaper. Apply a finish to the drawer at this stage if desired.

  12. Step: 12

    Attach Drawer Members to Drawer Box Read the instructions included with your drawer slides. Following instructions, attach drawer member to drawer box.