Create a Custom Pantry Drawer

Gain extra storage with this custom project.

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Create a custom pantry drawer out of wood and galvanized metal.

If you need extra storage space or just want to update your current kitchen drawers, consider building custom pantry drawers.

Materials and Tools:

wood glue
hex head pocket hole screws
1/4-inch birch (2 X 2 sheet)
3/4-inch maple (4 X 8 sheet)
1-1/4 inch solid maple lumber (6-foot board)
galvanized steel 2 x 2
double-sided tape
drawer slides and guides (2 of each)
pocket hole jig
tape measure
orbital sander with 150-grit sandpaper
nail gun


1. Measure the dimensions of the space the drawers will fit into and cut the maple pieces appropriately. You'll need two cut to the depth and two to cut to the width. Be sure to sand the edges for a smooth finish.

2. Make a dado cut close to the bottom of each piece so that the drawer bottom will slide in snugly. To do this, run each piece through a table saw with saw depth set at 1/4-inch. Move the saw 1/8-inch wider and run the pieces through again.

3. Glue alone won't hold the pieces together, so insert screws with the help of a pocket jig, which creates recessed holes that are easy to cover up. Drill at least four evenly-spaced pocket holes on the outside of each drawer piece since the drawer will need to hold a lot of weight. Be sure the dado cut is on the inside.

4. Next, secure the pieces together. Place a moderate amount of wood glue along two connecting edges, which will form the back and sides of the drawer. Hold the edge pieces together so they meet at a corner, beginning with the back and two sides. Be sure to place a clamp at the corners so they hold together and give the glue time to set. The pointy end should be stuck into the pocket holes themselves for greater stability.

5. Once the corners are lined up flush, screw the hex head screws into the pocket holes. Continue this process until the back piece and sides are secured.

6. Next, slide the wood bottom through the dado cuts and into place. Consider grain direction when placing the bottom so the grain is visible from above when pulling out the drawer.

7. Glue the edge of the front drawer piece and secure it. At this point, it should fit in nice and tight without the need for a clamp. Tighten the remaining screws.

8. Attach one drawer slide to the drawer and screw it into place. Attach the corresponding guide to the surrounding cabinet at the same height as the slide so the drawer will fit in nicely. Repeat this process for the other side.

9. Next, it's time to make the drawer face frame. Cut four pieces of solid maple into two rails (on the top and bottom of the face frame) and two stiles (on the sides of the face frame). Keep in mind that the two rails will fit inside the stiles around the perimeter and will overhang 1/2-inch around the entire perimeter so there is something to grasp when pulling out the drawer.

10. Use the pocket jig and drill at least two holes on each side of the rails to secure them to the stiles. Glue the pieces together. Fit the clamp along the corners if necessary and screw them in tightly. Put the frame aside until after the drawers are installed inside the pantry.

11. Cut out and attach a piece of galvanized metal to the front of the drawers to give a more contemporary feel. This also allows you to stick magnets on the face. Measure and cut the galvanized metal to fit the front of the drawer. The cuts do not have to be entirely precise since they will be covered with the wood face frame. Buff the metal using an orbital sander to create a more abstract, industrial look.

12. Install the drawers by fitting the drawer slide inside the glide and pushing the drawer into place.

13. Now it's time to attach the metal and frame to the drawer face. Place some strips of double-sided tape on the back of the metal and stick it to the front of the drawer.

14. Once the metal face is on, hold the wood face frame to the drawer on top of the metal. Hold a level on the top of the frame to make sure everything is nice and flush, and then secure the frame in place with a nail gun. Nail from the inside of the drawer so that the nails aren't visible from the outside.

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