Easy DIY Drawer Boxes – Simple Rustic Drawer Design

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How to build Easy DIY Drawer Boxes with lumber. Simple rustic drawer design for storage and other woodworking projects.

Most of the tutorials you find for building drawer boxes are for plywood boxes with a face or for high-end lumber with fancy joinery. BUT, sometimes you just want an easy, low-cost, simple drawer like this this drawer with a pretty, rustic design. Here’s how I build Easy DIY Drawer Boxes.

How to build Easy DIY Drawer Boxes with lumber. Simple rustic drawer design for storage and other woodworking projects.  Most of the tutorials you find for building drawer boxes are for plywood boxes with a face or for high-end lumber with fancy joinery. BUT, sometimes you just want an easy, low-cost, simple drawer like this this drawer with a pretty, rustic design.
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What Tools Do You Need?

If any of the steps for Easy DIY Drawer Boxes are confusing, I highly recommend watching the short video. Hopefully seeing it done can help clear up any confusion.

How Much Smaller Should A Drawer Be Than the Opening

The width of your drawer really depends on the drawer slides you decide to use. I used low-cost Euro Slides for this project. They need a half inch of space on either side to operate properly. Be sure to read the directions that come with your slides before figuring out what size your set of Easy DIY drawer boxes needs to be.

Quick Note, If I was building drawer boxes for indoor furniture, like my DIY Farmhouse Console Table, or built-ins; I’d go with nicer soft-close drawer slides.

You can see the 1/2″ gap for the slides on the left and right sides of these drawers. You could make the front piece wider to hide the gap or make it even wider to have the drawers overlay or sit on the face frame of a cabinet.

What Size Should My Drawer Boxes Be?

For this type of drawer, we won’t be attaching a face to the drawer box. So, you want the width of the front and back of the drawer to be the “width of the opening” minus “the space needed for the slides to work”. Then you have a full piece of lumber on the front and the ends of the side pieces won’t be showing when the drawer is closed.

When I use plywood, I usually have the height of my drawer 1/2″ or 3/4″ below the opening. But, again, the overall height of your drawer depends on where you mount the slides. I say, if you’re new to building drawers and all the math that goes along with that, install your slides before you build the drawer. Then you’ll know for sure how much room you have above the slide so you can figure out how much clearance you have.

Also, I used 1x Dimensional Lumber to build these drawers. A 1×10 was perfect for my drawers. It left me with about a 3/4″ gap above the drawer boxes. If you want your drawers to be simple and quick to build, pick a standard size for your opening to avoid cutting along the length of the lumber.

So, if a 1×4 leaves a 1″ or 1 1/2″ gap but you just want a quick and easy to build drawer box and would rather avoid cutting the length of the board, then go with it. It’s your drawers, after all. OK, now that you know how to set the width and height of this Easy DIY Drawer Boxes, let’s get to the build steps.

I marked my cut line with a pencil then clamped a board on the line to use as a guide for my Circular Saw.

 

Sanding the pine boards cut to make my Easy DIY Drawer Boxes.

Steps to Build my Easy DIY Drawer Boxes

Note: I recommend using 1x Common Board, Whiteboard, or Cheap Pine to get the same look as my drawers. These boards look similar, it just depends on what region you’re in and what is available at that time. It’s the cheaper, knotty version of 1x in Lowe’s or Home Depot (not the Cedar). Pick the nicest, straightest boards you can find.

You can see me doing all of these steps in the Easy DIY Drawer Boxes video above.

  1. Cut your front and back pieces to the width of the opening minus the drawer slide allowance. I like to use a straight board clamped to my boards to get straight cuts with a circular saw. Just be sure to adjust your measurement for the distance between the blade on your circular saw and the guide on it.
  2. Cut your 2 side pieces to the depth you want minus the thickness of the front and back pieces. Should be 1 1/2″ for Pine or Common Board Dimensional Lumber. Sand all 4 pieces with 120-grit sandpaper before assembly. Be sure to smooth the ends too. I also like to lightly sand all corners and hard edges for a prettier look. But that’s optional.
  3. Assemble the box with wood glue and brad nails. Use a square the keep the boards square. If your drawer boxes aren’t square, it might stop your drawer slides from working properly.
  4. cut a 1×1 to the length of the inside of the left and right sides of your drawer box. Or, you can rip plywood or lumber to this size with a table saw. Use wood glue and brad nails to attach the 2 – 1×1’s to the inside bottom edge of the drawer box. These will act as the supports for the drawer bottom. Of course, there are lots of ways to attach a drawer bottom, but I think this is the easiest way to do it. And, we are building Quick and Easy DIY Drawer Boxes, after all. 🙂
  5. Once the 4 sides and 2 bottom supports are assembled and the glue dries, use wood filler on the nail holes on the front of the drawer box and any other spots you think need filler, let that dry then sand again with 120-grit sandpaper.
  6. Now, use 3/8″ or 1/2″ plywood to cut a bottom for your drawer box with your circular saw. I sanded the edges and just dropped mine into place. But, you could glue and nail it down, if needed.
Assembling the drawers with wood glue and a brad nailer.

 

You can see me attaching the drawer bottom support here. You need one running the length of the left and right sides of the drawer, level with the bottom of the drawer box.

That’s it for building these Easy DIY Drawer Boxes. Now, let’s talk about how I got that pretty, rustic finish on my drawer boxes.

How I Finished this Simple Drawer Design

Here’s how I did that pretty whitewash finish on my drawers. I used my DIY Chalk Paint Recipe to make my own chalk paint from Latex Paint.

All of these steps were done after building my Easy DIY Drawer Boxes, using wood filler anywhere that needed it, and sanding that smooth when it dried. All of this is shown in the video above too.

  1. Apply Danish Oil in Medium Walnut to the entire drawer box, inside and out. Follow the directions on the container for the best result.
  2. Once the Danish Oil dries, use a cream-colored chalk paint to whitewash the drawer fronts. To do this I used a clean, wet rag dipped in chalk paint. Then wiped that across the drawers. The rag needs to be wet to keep the paint thin. I rinsed my rag and re-wet it after doing 2 drawer fronts. If the rag is too dry, the chalk paint will look more like paint than a whitewash. Wipe off excess chalk paint with a clean, dry rag before it dries.
  3. Once the whitewash is finished and dries, apply 2 coats of water-based poly over the whitewash. There is no need to poly over the Danish Oil, but you can, if you want to change the sheen or feel of the Danish Oil alone.

That’s it for this Easy DIY Drawer Boxes tutorial, guys.

How to build Easy DIY Drawer Boxes with lumber. Simple rustic drawer design for storage and other woodworking projects. Most of the tutorials you find for building drawer boxes are for plywood boxes with a face or for high-end lumber with fancy joinery. BUT, sometimes you just want an easy, low-cost, simple drawer like this this drawer with a pretty, rustic design.
The whitewash is just on the drawer fronts, but the Danish Oil was applied everywhere to seal and protect the wood.

 

How to build Easy DIY Drawer Boxes with lumber. Simple rustic drawer design for storage and other woodworking projects. Most of the tutorials you find for building drawer boxes are for plywood boxes with a face or for high-end lumber with fancy joinery. BUT, sometimes you just want an easy, low-cost, simple drawer like this this drawer with a pretty, rustic design.
You can see the easy DIY Scrap Wood Table Top I put over the drawers here.

 

I’ll be adding some shelves, wooden drawer pulls, and acrylic front boxes over these drawers soon.

Looking for more of my Home Improvement Videos? Check out this DIY Home Improvement playlist on YouTube.

Easy DIY Drawer Boxes

How to build Easy DIY Drawer Boxes with dimensional lumber. Simple rustic drawer design for storage and other woodworking projects.

Tools

  • Circular Saw
  • Carpentry Square
  • Pencil & Tape Measure
  • Brad Nailer & Nails

Instructions

Steps to Build my Easy DIY Drawer Boxes

Note: I recommend using 1x Common Board, Whiteboard, or Cheap Pine to get the same look as my drawers. These boards look similar, it just depends on what region you're in and what is available at that time. It's the cheaper, knotty version of 1x in Lowe's or Home Depot (not the Cedar). Pick the nicest, straightest boards you can find.

You can see me doing all of these steps in the Easy DIY Drawer Boxes video.

  1. Cut your front and back pieces to the width of the opening minus the drawer slide allowance. I like to use a straight board clamped to my boards to get straight cuts with a circular saw. Just be sure to adjust your measurement for the distance between the blade on your circular saw and the guide on it.
  2. Cut your 2 side pieces to the depth you want minus the thickness of the front and back pieces. Should be 1 1/2" for Pine or Common Board Dimensional Lumber. Sand all 4 pieces with 120-grit sandpaper before assembly. Be sure to smooth the ends too. I also like to lightly sand all corners and hard edges for a prettier look. But that's optional.
  3. Assemble the box with wood glue and brad nails. Use a square the keep the boards square. If your drawer boxes aren't square, it might stop your drawer slides from working properly.
  4. cut a 1x1 to the length of the inside of the left and right sides of your drawer box. Or, you can rip plywood or lumber to this size with a table saw. Use wood glue and brad nails to attach the 2 - 1x1's to the inside bottom edge of the drawer box. These will act as the supports for the drawer bottom. Of course, there are lots of ways to attach a drawer bottom, but I think this is the easiest way to do it. And, we are building Quick and Easy DIY Drawer Boxes, after all. 🙂
  5. Once the 4 sides and 2 bottom supports are assembled and the glue dries, use wood filler on the nail holes on the front of the drawer box and any other spots you think need filler, let that dry then sand again with 120-grit sandpaper.
  6. Now, use 3/8" or 1/2" plywood to cut a bottom for your drawer box with your circular saw. I sanded the edges and just dropped mine into place. But, you could glue and nail it down, if needed.

That's it for building these Easy DIY Drawer Boxes. Now, let's talk about how I got that pretty, rustic finish on my drawer boxes.

Notes

How Much Smaller Should A Drawer Be Than the Opening

The width of your drawer really depends on the drawer slides you decide to use. I used low-cost Euro Slides for this project. They need a half inch of space on either side to operate properly. Be sure to read the directions that come with your slides before figuring out what size your set of Easy DIY drawer boxes needs to be.

Quick Note, If I was building drawer boxes for indoor furniture, like my DIY Farmhouse Console Table, or built-ins; I'd go with nicer soft-close drawer slides.

What Size Should My Drawer Boxes Be?

For this type of drawer, we won't be attaching a face to the drawer box. So, you want the width of the front and back of the drawer to be the "width of the opening" minus "the space needed for the slides to work". Then you have a full piece of lumber on the front and the ends of the side pieces won't be showing when the drawer is closed.

When I use plywood, I usually have the height of my drawer 1/2" or 3/4" below the opening. But, again, the overall height of your drawer depends on where you mount the slides. I say, if you're new to building drawers and all the math that goes along with that, install your slides before you build the drawer. Then you'll know for sure how much room you have above the slide so you can figure out how much clearance you have.

Also, I used 1x Dimensional Lumber to build these drawers. A 1x10 was perfect for my drawers. It left me with about a 3/4" gap above the drawer boxes. If you want your drawers to be simple and quick to build, pick a standard size for your opening to avoid cutting along the length of the lumber.

So, if a 1x4 leaves a 1" or 1 1/2" gap but you just want a quick and easy to build drawer box and would rather avoid cutting the length of the board, then go with it. It's your drawers, after all. OK, now that you know how to set the width and height of this Easy DIY Drawer Boxes, let's get to the build steps.


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Feeling inspired? Now that you’ve read these steps for Easy DIY Drawer Boxes, you can do it too. Let me know if you have questions. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.

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    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
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