Table Top Storage Drawer




Introduction: Table Top Storage Drawer

About: I'm an Electrical Engineer by training and profession. I enjoy working on complex problems and processes, and I especially like finding ways to do complex tasks more efficiently. My current interests are wo…

This instructable shows how I made a table top storage drawer for a piece of white formica laminated particle board that I had on my workbench.

I like white formica tops as they make detailed assembly/disassembly work easier as it is easy to see parts, screws, etc. on the white surface.

Unfortunately, my white formica top had also become a place for parts to collect - making it unusable without taking the time to clean it.

In prior instructables, I've explained how I've been making shop cabinets for my garage, and I decided to make a shop drawer out of this white formica top. This allows me to store the most highly used tools, etc. in this drawer and have them readily available for use. It also provided incentive for me to clean the top of the white formica to provide a clear work surface.

This instructable can be adapted for any work surface inside or out. If you have a favorite surface that you would like to make into a table top drawer, just modify the dimensions accordingly.

Step 1: Materials & Equipment


o Top

o 3/4" plywood for drawer sides & front & back

o 1/8" paneling for drawer bottom & bottom to drawer housing

o Kreg screw

o Wood glue

o Drawer slides


o Table saw

o Air stapler

o Kreg jig

Step 2: Determine Overall Dimensions

Determine overall dimensions.

Determine maximum height and width of outer box.

In my case, the formica top measured 40" x 24" - but I wanted it positioned under a parts bin.

So I measured the distance from the top of the white formica top to the bottom of the lowests drawers, and then subtracted 3/16" of an inch to give a little margin.

I also decided to use 1/8" paneling for the bottom of the housing to give me the maximum allowable drawer space.

This will also allow me to move the white formica housing and drawer if needed.

Step 3: Cut Sides, Back, & Pocket Screw Holes

I cut the sides and back to the housing using the table saw, and the drilled pocket screw holes to allow attaching the sides to the back and top.

I then verified that everything fit correctly by test fitting the pieces to the underside of the top.

Step 4: Install Outer Drawer Slides

Since there is so little working room inside the housing, you will want to install the outer drawer slides before assembling the sides.

In my case, I used some 12" drawer slides that I had on hand (these were approximately $2.50/set when purchased in sets of 25).

I positioned the outer drawer slides approx. 1/8" above the bottom to provide some clearance from the bottom of the housing.

Pay attention to which drawer slide goes to the right side and the left side (esp. since the housing is upside down).

Step 5: Add Sides, Back, and Bottom

Now that the outer drawer slides have been attached, attach the sides to the back piece and then attach the back and sides to the underside of the top using pocket screws.

Make sure that the sides are perpendicular to the back and parallel to one another.

Once attached, carefully measure the outer dimensions of the sides and back, and then cut some 1/8" paneling to size and attach using staples (see prior instructables for details).

I then checked the top of the structure to make sure that I had the clearance that I needed for the bottom parts drawers to open.

You can see that I mismeasured and my bottom doesn't go all the way to the front (that was not on purpose).

Step 6: Make Drawer

This is the hardest part.

Measure the distance from the front of the housing to the back and subtract 1/2".

Cut the drawer sides to this distance. The height of the drawer should allow at least 3/4" clearance to the top of the housing in order to be able to insert the drawer.

In my design, the most critical dimension is the width of the front and back pieces. I made the front piece only 1-1/8" tall as I wanted to be able to see into this work drawer without opening it.

It is better to cut the front and back pieces a little oversize in width to begin with and then trim them down.

I rounded the tops of the sides and front pieces using a router to reduce sharp edges.

I cut pocket screw holes in the front and rear pieces in order to attach the pieces to the sides (I could only put one pocket screw in the front piece due to its small size).

The goal is to have about 1/16" clearance between the outer drawer slide and the inner drawer slide on one of sides in order to prevent binding and to allow the drawer to slide easily.

Since this drawer is so wide, it was difficult for me to get this measurement correct on the first try.

I recommend that you measure as closely as possible and then build the drawer frame, and then test install the inner drawer slides (with no bottom attached - see pics) to confirm that the drawer will slide easily. It took me several tries to get this correct for this drawer.

Once you've got the dimensions confirmed, measure the dimensions for the drawer bottom and cut the 1/8" paneling to size. Make sure the drawer bottom does NOT hang over the sides of the drawer at all (it is better to have it a little undersize - if oversize it may cause binding). Attach the drawer bottom with wood glue and staples (see prior instructables for details).

Step 7: Install Drawer & Put in Service

Install the completed drawer and put in service.


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    10 months ago on Step 7

    I can see a modular system with a stack of them for different uses, maybe as drawers themselves, i.e. each drawer is a tabletop with drawer with tools for that particular job. E.g. one for drawing/drafting with pencils, rulers, masking tape etc., one with cutting mat on top and cutting rulers, scalpels, craft knives, scissors etc.. Or maybe a couple different tops with interchangable drawers housed in a separate cabinet for a wider selection of applications, but where one or just a few types of table tops are needed.