Make Some Drawers for Any Wardrobe!




You want to add drawers to a wardrobe? Here is how you do it.
These drawers are especially light because they are made from thin plywood. They are plenty strong though. You can adapt this technique for your drawer and application.

Tools you need:

Materials you need:

Step 1: Measure Twice, Cut Once.

I know this is the boring part, but it is very important. We get to the fun stuff in the next step.

You need to minimum width of your wardrobe. In this case from the left, all the way to the metal hinges on the right. This is the width you have for your drawers including their slides. Deduct the width of the slides to get the width of the drawer front. Not to bad is it?

Step 2: Cut the Wood.

I think this is step is self explanatory, so I am just going to advise you to always use a push stick. I try to never get my hands closer to the blade than a hands width.

If you were never instructed about how to use a table saw, watch a youtube safety video! They are safe if you use them right.

Step 3: Assemble the Sides and Front.

Since I was using very thin plywood, I could not use any nails or screws. They would only split the layers. Instead I used these 90° corner clamps to hold the pieces in place while the glue dried. I also added 90° corner supports to give the box more strength. Without them, the glue joint would quickly become undone. You don´t need them if you use thicker plywood. (Particle board could be used, too.)

Step 4: Add the Bottom.

It is wise to cut the bottom after you assembled the sides and the front to get a perfect fit. I glued the bottom in place and added some finishing nails with a nail gun. This is quicker and easier than using screws since you don´t need to pre drill or counter sink the heads.

Step 5: Oil It!

This step is optional, since the wood will not be handled very much or be in contact with the elements. I used a natural oil blend with a white pigment. Apply the oil with a rag and let it soak for a few minutes. Then wipe off the excess. There are minimal solvents in the oil which will evaporate quickly. The oil then oxydises over days, weeks or even months. You can handle it after a few hours though. Its just oil, that is the nice thing. This finish is very easy to apply compared to epoxy or paint.

Dry the rags on a none flamable surface afterwards. They can self combust when bunched up!

Step 6: Make Some Handles.

This step is optional. You can just as well buy some. Making your own is probably cheaper than driving to the hardware store. Even including labour.

I made a little sketch of the profile on the endgrain of the wood. Then I cut everything away that wasn´t part of the handle. This took a bit of adjustment to get all the cuts at the right position and depth. Make sure to use push sticks! Never ever put your hand near the blade!

A router is overkill for such a small piece. I used a little block plane to round over the edges, followed by some sandpaper. I oiled them too, but later on gave them a clear coat finish with a spray can.

The whole process took about 20 minutes.

Step 7: Mounting the Slides to the Drawer.

Drawer slides are always separatable. Otherwise you could not mount them.

I took the side that goes on to the drawer and attached it with machine screws. Wood screws would not grip into the thin wood.I used a little spacer to ensure the right position on the drawer. I also used double sided tape to keep them in place while drilling and screwing.

You should always use nylock nuts or thread locker when building anything that can move. Things like cars, bikes, tools or office chairs. The vibration of the movement will work any nut loose over time. But nylock nuts are also a little bit bigger, so in this case I used normal nuts with super glue as thread locker. I could not find the little bottle I had.

Step 8: Mounting the Slided to the Cabinet.

Place your drawers including their slides into the wardrobe. Use spacers to get them off the ground and also to separate them from each others. Then mark the position of the slides on the wardrobe.

Since my cabinet sides were resessed, I had to make wooden spacers at the sides. I held them in position loosely to mark their position. Then I removed the drawers, fitted the spacers and the slides to the wardrobe and I was done.

Sounds easy? It is not. But what can you do?

If the slides don´t run absolutley smooth, they are misalligned, to close together or to far appart. Nothing you cannot fix with spacers. It just takes more tries and time.

Step 9: Attach the Handles.

You could use screws of course, but after mounting the slides, I did not feel about measuring and marking even more holes. I just used double sided tape from 3M to attach the handles. This tape is much much stronger, than any other double sided tape you get. It holds the handles in place without a problem. I also use this tape to mount any other stuff in the RV without an issue even in warm temperatures.



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    13 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Nice , we are Plaswood supplier , we have better solution to make this ,,, not same method as yours

    6 replies
    WinsionLMax Maker

    Reply 1 year ago

    There is co-extrude pvc foam board , i am researching its application & selling , and use pvc glue to stick . fast and strong , I am thinking if I can find some friend here to let you test small sample . A4 sample free , freight collect or. paypal collect . Thanks


    Reply 1 year ago

    So you don’t actually have a better method; instead you’re researching a different method that uses PVC instead of wood. I’ll tell you right now; a lot of people will prefer to work with wood since we can get it everywhere (North America). Ordering A4 sheets of PVC from wherever you reside (overseas?) is not a better solution than the one presented, for making a drawer-slide-mounted box for a closet.


    Reply 1 year ago

    Plaswood? Googled it. Now I finally know what that material is called!


    1 year ago

    Very nicely done! It's amazing how much more useful a small space like this is with just a couple drawers. Great instructable :)

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    Oh very nice! Thanks for sharing.

    I've been thinking about space saving ultra thin drawers as well because I'm planning to convert a box truck.

    One thing I was wondering is if you actually need slides. They take up space and cost time and moneys. There are plastics like polyethylene (or UHMWPE) or Polytetrafluoroethylene / PTFE / Teflon or Polyoxymethylene / POM / acetal who all have very low coefficient of friction.

    If you could get your hands on a thin sheet of something like this you could build sliders for days. Just mount them on the bottom of the drawers.

    I guess the only problem with this would be to find the right glue to glue this to the drawers.

    And you still need some kind of locking mechanism.

    1 reply
    Max MakerDejayRezme

    Reply 1 year ago

    You could very well use the plastics you named. I would go for HDPE, since you can get it cheaply from cutting boards. Gluing all of the mentioned one is almost impossible though. You can tap them very easily though and use screws.

    The downside to not using sliders though is that you can only extend such drawers 80% of the distance. The sliders that I used go 100%.