Dumpster Dresser from 2x4s

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 09/29/2014 - 13:13
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Free plans to make a crate style dresser from Ana-White.com

Happy Monday folks!

I'm so excited today to finally start our Blogger Feature Series! 

(For those of you that have no idea what I'm talking about, you can read more about it here.  And for those of you who have submitted, thank you! Please be patient, we've had an awesome but overwhelming response, and we will be taking this one week at a time.  We'll be continuing the series indefinitely.)

So meet our first new blogger, Vicky from Made at this Place.

My name is Vicky, I live in a beautiful valley on the outskirts of Brisbane, Australia. I have an awesome husband who doesn’t roll his eyes when I say “how about we make this” or “build this”. We have a six year old son, who likes to build a bit too. 
I remember when I first started building. I had fallen in love with a timber sectional at a store that at that time wasn't even in Australia, and while googling how I could get my hands on a cheaper version and one sold here I came across Ana White's blog, and there were the plans for the outdoor sectional I wanted. I managed to convince my husband that he should build it, I helped along the way of course and that was it, I was off and racing. 
One of my next/first builds was the kids $4 stacking chair, a simple enough project, but to me back then, oh so daunting. I procrastinated over it for weeks and finally just had a go, and it was not as hard as I thought, sure it didn't scream craftsman’s skills but hey at that time our son was only a few years old if that, and he though it was wonderful. His excitement at my build spurred me on.
I discovered lots of blogs from ordinary people, who liked to share what they were doing. So I started mine. http://madeatthisplace.blogspot.com.au
Here are a few of Vicky's projects -
And a brand new project today!!!
A solid wood crate dresser!!!
Here's from Vicky -
This dumpster dresser has been on my wish list for a long time, I had seen it for sale in a catalogue but the cost of the dresser plus shipping made it too expensive to justify.  I could not wait to get started. It was straight forward to build. It took me a week on and off, but it is school holidays here and I have a six year old to entertain at the same time. You could probably do it in a weekend with no distractions. I used mini wax weathered oak stain, then followed with a cedar stain. I think the cedar warmed it up a bit.
The cost came in at just under $300 Australian dollars which included the finish. That’s about $260 US I think.
The dresser is now in our sons room, it is the perfect height for him and the big drawers give him quick and easy access. 
You can go check out more projects on Made at this Place here.
Thank you so much Vicky for collaborating!
Plans for the dresser follow - enjoy!
XO Ana
Dimensions shown in diagram


Shopping List

8 - 2x4 @ 8 feet long

3 - 2x2 @ 8 feet long

3 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long

1 - 1x4 @ 3 feet long

2 - 1x6 @ 8 feet long

24 feet of 1x10 boards or other boards for drawer boxes

1 - 1x12 @ 8 feet long

Cut List


4 - 2x4 @ 31"

4 - 2x2 @ 43-1/2"

2 - 2x4 @ 43-1/2

4 - 2x2 @ 11-1/2"



10 - 2x4 @ 16-1/2" (should be equal in length to the width of three 1x6s (see step 6)

8 - 1x2 @ 16-1/2" (drawer guides)

6 - 1x6 @ 29-1/2"

4 - 1x2 @ 16-1/2" (cut to fit)

2 - 1x4 @ 16-1/2" (cut to fit)



6 - 1x10 @ 12-1/4"

12- 1x10 @ 17"

6 - 1/4" plywood @ 17-3/4" x 13-1/4"

6 - 1x12 @ 13-1/4"



6 - 2x4 @ 47-1/2"

2 - 2x4 @ 21"



Cutting Instructions

This plan must be altered if your boards do not measure as follows -

2x4 - 1-1/2" x 3-1/2"
1x12 - 3/4" x 11-1/4"
1x6 - 3/4" x 5-1/2"

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Build the face frames for front and back.  It is very important that the face frames be identical to keep the drawers from sliding cockeyed.


TIP: You may wish to drill 1-1/2" pocket holes facing up on the inside of the project for attaching the top in later steps.

Step 2

Attach the two frames together with 2x4 boards.  The drawers will run along the top of these boards.

Make SURE your face frames are direcltly in line with each other.

Step 3

Add 1x2s on top of 2x4s to guide the drawers as they slide.  Make sure the 1x2s are square to the front face frame.  Screw these down with just 2 screws so they can be easily adjusted if needed.

Step 4

Build the drawer boxes to fit - 1/4" less in width and height than the openings to allow an 1/8" gap on all sides of the drawer.

Step 5

Once you are happy with the drawers, attach 1x6s to side panels.

Step 6

Trim side panels with 1x2s and 1x4s to keep the look consistent.

Step 7

Build top seperately with pocket holes and attach to top.

Add 1/4" plywood to back if desired.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.



Wed, 10/15/2014 - 17:23

I really really love this!  I have been wanting to make a dresser for sometime now but all the plans were to difficult or required a small fortune in wood.  This is pefect.


Sat, 05/09/2015 - 12:42

I'm building the drawers now. The back measure is not adding up. The fronts are 13 1/4. The sides are 3/4 thick. So the backs should be 11 3/4 not 12 1/4? What am I missing?


Thu, 08/24/2017 - 08:38

I love this dresser. It is exactly what I was thinking of buying/building for the house I am looking at to buy. I would much rather build it so I am glad I found this post. I am thinking of using 3/4" prefinished T&G hardwood flooring for the drawer fronts, sides & maybe the top. We'll see how it goes.


Tue, 07/05/2022 - 13:16

Clarifying question: For the face frame is it only the front that needs the 11.5 inch 2x2?The cut list only called for 4.

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