Easy DIY Wood Drawer Front – Slab Overlay Design

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How to build a Quick & Easy DIY Wood Drawer Front with a pretty routed edge, slab overlay design.

I love how adding a simple routed edge to this DIY Wood Drawer Front gave it a beautiful, classic, high end look. That was so, so easy!

These drawer fronts are going on the big 14-long wall of built-ins I am building in our playroom. This room has had some big changes in the last 6 months. I started by removing the arched doorway in the wall between the playroom and the foyer.

This is the partially demo’d archway that used to be on this wall.

Then I removed the glued wood flooring. And, I had to cut and hang drywall on the 2×4 framing I installed to fill in that arched doorway. Then, I was ready to get started on the massive, massive built-ins. šŸ™‚

How to build a Quick & Easy DIY Wood Drawer Front with a pretty routed edge, slab overlay design. I love how adding a simple routed edge to this DIY Wood Drawer Front turned it into a beautiful.
Here’s a look at this wall of built-ins, as of January 2021. Still, a lot of small detail work to do before I can paint.

This Easy DIY wood drawer fronts tutorial is the first DIY project I’m sharing from this wall of built-ins. More will be coming soon.

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What Wood Do You Use For Drawer Fronts

If I am making inset drawers, like with this DIY Console Table or this DIY Kids Desk with Drawers, I go for Plywood with Edge Banding. Plywood is less expensive, won’t cup or warp like lumber might. And plywood is less likely to dent.

But, when I want to make an overlay drawer front, I always use 1x Dimensional Lumber. Like the Select Pine I use in this tutorial.

You can use whatever type of wood you like. It all depends on the final look you want. Let’s stick with the 3 Main Types of Dimensional Lumber sold at Home Depot and Lowes.

Poplar

Poplar is popular for DIY furniture because it’s generally the most affordable hardwood sold at big box stores. Poplar has a smooth feel and almost never has knots or imperfections. It’s easy to stain and paint for a pretty look.

Check out this DIY Geometric Poplar Table Top to see how pretty Poplar looks with a whitewash finish.

Select Pine is a softer wood than Poplar. But, I find it’s still durable enough to stand up to my 2 little masters of destruction. šŸ˜‰

Select Pine

Honestly, I never have problems with Select Pine getting dings in my home. And, Select Pine also has a smooth feel that paints nicely. Most of the trim in homes today around doors, windows, baseboards, ceilings, everywhere is Pine.

Just be sure to pick Select Pine pieces without any knots. Most of the boards sold won’t have them. But, every now and then I see one. Just avoid that knot to avoid any resin staining through paint. It’s not quite as easy to stain Pine for a nice look though. Gel Stain Finishes probably work best.

Oak

The Oak sold at Home Depot or Lowes works too. But, Oak will have a grain texture. Meaning it won’t feel smooth. And, it won’t look smooth when painted. Some people love that painted Oak texture though.

So, go with the look you like and the budget you can afford to spend.

What Tools Do You Need?

What is an Overlay Drawer?

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

Make A Quick & Easy DIY Wood Drawer Front

You can see me doing all of these steps in the Quick & Easy DIY Wood Drawer FrontĀ video above.

Cutting the DIY wood drawer fronts to size with a circular saw and a straight edge.

DIY Tip: Let the router work slowly along the board. Don’t rush it or push it through the wood. You want a nice even pace. Go back over the routed edge a couple times to make sure it’s perfect.

  1. Cut your 1x Dimensional Lumber to Size. You can do this with a table saw or circular saw. If you use a Circular Saw, I highly recommend a straight-edge cutting guide. You can buy one or clamp a straight board onto the lumber as a guide.
  2. Sand the ends and edges smooth before using the router. For Select Pine, I used 150-grit on my power sander. If you’ll be staining your drawer fronts, you should sand the face, or front, of the drawer too.
  3. Next, test the depth on your 1 3/8″ Classic Cove and Bead Router bit on scrap wood to make sure it’s set up correctly.
  4. Clamp your drawer front securely to your work surface.
  5. Carefully route all 4 edges of the top side of the DIY wood drawer front. Watch the video for tips on which side should be the front to avoid cupping and wood movement issues.
  6. Lightly wipe a sanding block along all edges to smooth off any tiny bits left behind by the router. Don’t sand to hard. You want to keep those clean, sharp corners.
Make sure to work with the grain when deciding which side of your drawer front should be facing out. The front of all of these drawers is facing up. Watch the video for an explanation of cupping.
This little Bosch router makes jobs like these quick and easy. Make sure to clamp the DIY Wood Drawer Fronts down before you start.

That’s it for making this Easy DIY Wood Drawer Front. So easy, right?!

How to build a Quick & Easy DIY Wood Drawer Front with a pretty routed edge, slab overlay design. I love how adding a simple routed edge to this DIY Wood Drawer Front gave it a beautiful, classic, high end look. That was so, so easy!
I love the detail on this 1 3/8″ Classic Cove and Bead Router Bit.

Now, let’s talk about how I attached these drawer fronts.

How to Attach Drawer Fronts

I think most woodworkers struggle with attaching drawer fronts. At least, I do. And most of my woodworking friends complain about this chore too.

It takes practice and finding the method that works for you. Here are a few ways you can attach drawer fronts to drawer boxes.

I wanted these drawers lined up perfectly straight and evenly spaced. AND, since I am painting the entire built-in, I knew I could use wood filler. So, I went with the easiest, most-reliable way I knew to keep everything lined up.

How to build a Quick & Easy DIY Wood Drawer Front with a pretty routed edge, slab overlay design. I love how adding a simple routed edge to this DIY Wood Drawer Front gave it a beautiful, classic, high end look. That was so, so easy!

I started by brad nailing a straight edge to the cabinet face. about 1/2″ from the drawer opening.Ā  I used just 2 brad nails so that the board would be easy to remove.

I made sure that straight edge was level before nailing. I used that as a guide to keep the 3 drawers lined up perf while I nailed the DIY wood drawer front onto the drawer boxes.

You can see in the pictures, I used a lot of nails. Originally, I planned on just using wood glue and brad nails to attach the face. That’s why I went overboard on the nails. BUT, I decide these big drawers would be better off with screws from the back.

So, I could have just quickly nailed the drawer fronts in place at each corner. And, then opened the drawers to attach them from inside the drawer with self-tapping screws. I used 1 1/4″ long #8 self-tapping screws on this project.

Because my DIY wood drawer fronts are nearly 3′ long, I used 6 screws on each drawer. 2 at the top and bottom of each end and 2 in the middle. Those screws hold the front tight against the drawer and help prevent any potential cupping or wood movement over the years.

I used flat head screws that you can barely see after screwing them in. You can countersink the screws to recess the heads. If you do, I recommend switching to a 1″ screw instead.

How to build a Quick & Easy DIY Wood Drawer Front with a pretty routed edge, slab overlay design. I love how adding a simple routed edge to this DIY Wood Drawer Front gave it a beautiful, classic, high end look. That was so, so easy!
Well, I better get back to work! Good luck with your project, guys!

That’s it for this Quick & Easy DIY Wood Drawer Front tutorial, guys. I’ll be sharing a lot more DIY tutorials from this huge wall of built-ins. So be sure to sign up for the newsletter to see more.

Looking for more of my DIY Beginner Woodworking Videos? Check out this playlist on YouTube.


How about a bigger woodworking project? Check out this DIY Laundry Table Over Washer and Dryer. It’s a huge improvement in looks and function in a Laundry Room.

Hide those ugly machines with this DIY Table Over Washer and Dryer or DIY Folding Table. Full tutorial and free printable build plans.

And, I love this DIY Modern Farmhouse Bench too.

Step by Step Video and written steps for How to Make a No Sew Bench Seat for your window seat, table, or bench.

If you have an old dresser that needs a new life, here’s how to cut a dresser in half to make 2 new pieces of furniture.

How to cut a dresser in half to make 2 new pieces of furniture. This is how I built Toy Storage and a Vanity out of this $25 Dresser. How to cut furniture in half.


Feeling inspired? Now that you’ve read these steps for Easy DIY Wood Drawer Front, 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.get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.

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