Introduction: How to Build Cabinets With Drawers // DIY Desk Storage
In this instructable, I teach you how to build a DIY base cabinet with drawers for a desk, craft table, or table. You will also learn how to make drawers, install drawer slides, and build a cabinet carcass.
This DIY base cabinet with drawers project is part 2 of my Epoxy Resin Ocean Glow TableI built for my wife as a Mother's Day gift. However, these DIY base cabinets can be used on any table or desk in need of a table base with storage.
Since the ocean glow table is my wife's craft table, I needed to build a table base with drawers to store her cricut accessories. So, I designed the DIY base cabinets from scratch and started building it shortly after I completed the ocean table.
Tools I Used
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Step 1: Cabinet Carcass Corners and Sides
First, line up the corner pieces and put down a line of glue on one edge of the ‘Front Short’ piece. Spread the glue with a glue spreader or your finger. I chose to spread the glue on all these pieces at once to save time. If you choose to do it this way, be sure to work quickly to avoid the glue drying prematurely.
Next, flip the ‘front short’ piece on a flat side facing the ‘front long’ piece.
The ‘front long’ piece should be upright on its side as shown below. Using a speed square or L-Square, perform a quick 90 degree angle check. After the pieces are aligned, secure them with 3 brad nails (2 sides and middle). Keep in mind, the brad nails simply hold the 2 pieces together until screws are used.
Next, take 2 corners you just made and 1 ‘side outside’ as labeled in the cut list. Then, lay the corners down on the flat surface and make sure the ‘front short’ piece is laying flat and the ‘front long’ piece is perpendicular. Apply and spread glue on the ‘front short’ piece from the top and 25” down on each corner pair. Afterwards, lay the ‘side outside’ piece on top of the glue and secure with brad nails. Repeat the same process with the pilot hole, countersink bit, and pocket screws as before.
Step 2: Top/Bottom Cross Supports
First, get one side from the previous step and lay it perpendicular on a flat surface.
Next, place glue on each one end of the ‘inside runner’ and place it on the side as shown in the picture below. Then, use a speed square or L square to make sure the ‘inside runners’ are perpendicular to the side. Finally, use 2 brad nails to secure the piece followed by 2 screws in the pilot hole.
Step 3: Cabinet Carcass Inside Sides
First, spread a liberal amount of glue on one side of the ‘inside side’. This piece is supported from the bottom runner, so a clamp is not needed to secure it.
Next, use brad nails to secure the piece. Then, drill a pilot hole in each corner (4), followed by a countersink bit and screws.
Step 4: Drawers and Drawer Faces
The easiest way to assemble drawers is to start with the bottom, front, and back piece.
First, lay the bottom down on a flat surface. Next, spread glue on the front bottom and back bottom. Then, stand them in place (bench dog or something similar helps) and check for 90 degree angle. Additionally, you may find it easier to hold the L square on the drawer bottom and push it against the front/back while driving 3 brad nails in the middle and both sides.
Like before, make pilot holes, countersink them, and drive in 3 screws.
Afterwards, turn the drawer on its side and spread glue along the bottom, front, and back piece. Lay the drawer back down on the flat surface, push the side piece in place, check for square, secure with brad nails, and then screws.
This DIY base cabinet with drawers has inset cabinet doors, which means the drawer face will be flush with the face frame.
I cut the drawers and ran them through my router with a ½” roundover bit.
Step 5: Epoxy Resin Drawer Knobs
In order to match the Ocean Table, I used epoxy resin silicone molds of sea creatures and mickey mouse ears. Also, I made most of these with excess epoxy resin after a resin pour. Although these are not the easiest knobs to install, they certainly match the table well.If you need more information on epoxy resin projects, check out my epoxy resin casting, an epoxy resin art tutorial, and many epoxy resin table projects.
Step 6: Fill Holes and Sand
First, I used wood putty to fill the holes and allowed it to dry per the instructions.
Next, I used my orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper to sand it down.
Step 7: Paint Base Cabinets & Chalk Paint Recipe
First, I painted the entire cabinet carcass and drawer faces with chalk paint that I mixed myself from leftover Sherwin Williams satin paint (color SW7008). I have a ton of experience with painting and I really don’t like doing it, which is why chalk paint is the perfect solution for many of my projects.
In summary, chalk paint goes on evenly, dries quickly, leaves a flat finish, and covers more surface area with less paint.
BTW, I'll email you the recipe for free. Simply visit my blog post here and fill out the form on at the end of Step 7 in the post.
Step 8: Attach Epoxy Resin Drawer Knobs
First, find the center of the drawer face. Do this by measuring the length and dividing by 2.
Then, measure the width and divide by 2. The center of the drawer face is where these lines intersect.
Step 9: Drawer Installation
First, make sure the bottom drawer has a support which is even with the bottom frame.
Next, I had to get creative with this step because I didn’t want to waste a piece of wood for the base cabinet support for the bottom drawer.
Also, a leftover piece of sinker cypress from a previous project along with 2 paint sticks and 2 popsicle sticks was perfect for a base support.
Each paint stick is ⅛” thick and a popsicle stick is 1/16” thick. Finally, I turned the sinker cypress 45 degrees so that it would balance the drawer when placed on top of it.
Next, I cut 2 pieces of scrap ¾” plywood the length of the cabinet frame (18”) and 1.5” wide for the drawer slide to rest on.
Then, place the drawer slide on top of the scrap piece of plywood and make sure it is aligned/flush with the back of the ¾” cabinet face frame. Remember, this is an inset cabinet so ¾” of an inch is needed for the drawer face.
Also, it is a good idea to place the magnetic torpedo level on top of the drawer slide to make sure it is level.
Gently slide the drawer slide forward to reveal the holes in the back of the slide. While holding the slide in place from the rear, drive 3 cabinet screws in the holes provided.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what holes are used as long as they are spaced appropriately (rear, middle, front). Finally, remove each scrap piece of plywood.
Fasten Drawer Slide to Drawer
First, place 2 paint sticks on top of the bottom support to lift the drawer ⅛” from the bottom as depicted in the drawing at the beginning of this section.
Next, place the drawer on top and ensure the paint sticks are supporting the drawer evenly. The drawer should fit snugly between each drawer slide.
Step 10: Base Cabinet Drawer Face
First, drill 2 pilot holes and counter sink into the back of the drawer front.
Next, place 2 popsicle sticks on top for the 3 bottom drawers and on bottom of the top drawer. Then, align the drawer face so that it is flush with the popsicle sticks minus about a tiny bit (1/32”).
Afterwards, drive 2 pocket screws to secure the drawer face from the rear. Check to make sure the drawers fit and adjust if needed.
Step 11: Attach Base Cabinets With Drawers to Table Top
First, I used my kreg pocket hole jig and clamp to make 2 pocket holes per cabinet base - one on the left and one on the right. This prevents the table from moving or sliding.
Also, pocket holes are perfect for this application because I may want to remove it in the future.
Step 12: Conclusion
In summary, this DIY Base Cabinet with Drawers project was fun. I learned many new skills, which is always the goal.
Additionally, checkout DIY base cabinet with drawers digital plans by clicking the red button below.
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Click HERE to download the Base Cabinet with Drawers DIY plans
- 48 page pdf with photo illustrations for each step
- Also included in this pdf: Material List, Tool List, Video of Project.
- Spreadsheet with Cut List (xls format)
- Plywood Layout Cut List
- DIY Chalk Paint Recipe