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I needed a dresser a specific size for Mia’s room, so I chose to build her one. I had built her the loft bed, but this was the first free standing furniture piece I’ve built and the first time building and installing drawers. I already had in my head sort of what I wanted the outside to look like, but I had to do a little research about what the inside needed to look like to be strong and for the drawers to work properly. I found these Ana White Plans for a dresser to get a better idea of how to build it. I didn’t go by these plans exactly, just looked at these to get an idea of how to build the structure.
I started by drawing up the plans so I could figure out what I needed to buy from the store.
Then I drew my measurements out for the plywood to be able to maximize the cuts of a 4×8 sheet so I was wasting as little as possible.
I wrote out “thin plywood” below, but this is where I ended up buying particle board.
Once I had an idea of what I needed to buy, I made my way to Home Depot. They are always more than happy to cut plywood for me at my location. If it’s a bunch of cuts like this I’ll tip them for their trouble. Side note, I wish I had a saw like this!
I had him cut the pieces a little big so I could trim them down to the exact size at home. The smaller pieces are easier to manage on my own vs. a 4×8 sheet of 3/4in plywood. That stuff is big and heavy and I’m only 4’11”! Once I got home and trimmed it down I started putting it together. I used pocket holes and wood glue to attach everything together.
I used a couple scrap pieces of 1x2s cut down to how tall I wanted the bottom opening to be to make sure both sides were the exact same height. I was planning on 7 drawers, the bottom drawer being all the way across for shoe storage.
After that I flipped the dresser upside down to attach the top.
Then I got the face frame put on with picket holes, usually I just use glue and brad nails but this frame was going to be holding the weight of the middle supports, so pocket holes it was. A face frame is just 1x2s, I used Select Pine here.
I also installed a back support to give me something to connect the middle drawer supports to. The middle drawer supports were just scrap plywood. I used 2 back to back pieces to get the thickness I needed.
I also had to add more supports to the sides so the drawers would clear the face frame.
I started installing the drawer slides before I built the drawers so I knew exactly how wide to make the drawers, I like to build as I go instead of cutting everything down beforehand. I cut down a scrap piece of wood to have something to set the level on to make sure the drawer slides were level from left to right. There are many different ways to do this but this is the way I did it.
Then came the drawer build. Lots of drawers! I built them out of 1×6 common board for the sides and 1/2in particle board for the bottoms just because particle board is cheaper than plywood.
Then came time to install the drawers. I left the backs off the drawer initially so it would be easier to install the drawer fronts. Those are easy to install afterward with pocket holes.
I got all of the drawers installed and made sure everything worked and fit properly.
I made the drawer fronts out of the same plywood I used for the outside of the dresser. To cover up the ugly plywood edges I added edge banding. You just add it on with an iron and cut the excess off with a razor or one of these handy tools and then sand it smooth. It can be stained and painted. I also added edge banding to the top of the dresser where the plywood edge was showing. Fun fact: This is the first time I used an iron!
I put the drawer fronts on the drawers sitting on pennies as spacers to keep the drawer front the perfect distance away from the faceframe since they are inset drawers, then shot in a few brad nails to hold it still. I had Mia hold the front of the drawer on tight as I screwed it on from the back. I could reach since the drawer backs weren’t on yet. Again, I’m sure there are plenty of different ways you can do this. Then I had to get a handle on it because I was too excited to wait!
Once the fronts were all on, I added the backs of the drawers and a couple angled supports on the back of the dresser so that way the dresser wouldn’t sway from side to side and would be more stable. I didn’t end up adding a back to it, but you can! If I ever do I’ll use really this brown board.
Then came the stain! I used Special Walnut by Minwax.
What do you think? I LOVE this dresser! Once I got it in the room it was A LOT bigger than I realized it would be, but it holds so much! I’d love to get the official plans for this dresser up on my Etsy Shop eventually, so watch out for that!
All Mia’s bedroom links here.
Next up, a DIY pendant light dupe for Mia’s room.