Pull Out Drawer Tutorial
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.
Step 1: 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.
Step 2: 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.
Step 3: 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.
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).
Step 4: 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.
Step 5: Staple Sides to Drawer Bottom
Use glue and 1-1/4” staples to attach the pullout drawer sides to the drawer bottom.
Step 6: 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.
Step 7: Sand
Lightly sand the project with a medium to fine grit sandpaper. Apply a finish to the drawer at this stage if desired.
Step 8: Attach Drawer Members to Drawer Box
Read the instructions included with your drawer slides. Following instructions, attach drawer member to drawer box.
Step 9: 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.
Step 10: 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.
Step 11: Installed Cabinet Members
When installed the cabinet members should be able to slide past face frame easily, and are level with each other.
Step 12: 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.
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½” plywood ripped into strips 3” wide for drawer sides OR 1x3 OR 1x4 boards
Drawer slides in length fitting depth of cabinets (18” – 22” is expected)
1-1/4” wood screws with matching drill bit