Wood Pullout Cabinet Drawer Organizer

pull out drawers in kitchen cabinets
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After organizing my junk drawer successfully, I felt confident and inspired to tackle some more cabinet storage.  And of course, first up, what to do with all the princess plates, lunchroom trays and sippy cups with missing lids.

How about a drawer, right at the height of a four year old?  And how about a nice deep drawer, with a big chalkboard label on it?
Of course, you could install this drawer on the bottom shelf, make the drawer have taller or shorter sides, or even put it under the sink for trash cans . . . and attach the cabinet door to the front of it for a real pullout trash can on a super budget.  There are no limits, beyond your time and your imagination.
I'm going to show you today how I built this drawer for Grace (and will probably be building more drawers for my pots and pans and maybe even one for our dog  . . . ) and you can easily modify it to fit your cabinets.  I spent about $10 on the drawer, with $6 for the 1x6 (I actually had scraps so this was free for me) and about $4 for the drawer slides.  I also used half of a 2x2, so there's another buck. I made the chalkboard label with scrap plywood and chalkboard paint and glued in on.  The drawer as shown here has not yet been finished.
pull out drawers in kitchen cabinets
pull out drawers in kitchen cabinets
Custom to fit your Cabinets


Shopping List
  • 1 - 1x6 @ 8 feet long
  • 1 - 2x2 @ 4 feet long
  • scrap 1/4" plywood 
  • 21" Drawer Slides
Common Materials
2 inch screws
1 1/4 inch finish nails
Cut List

Cut to fit your cabinets.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
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

The first thing you need to do is measure the opening of your cabinets and the depth of your cabinets. Mine had a clearance opening (the hinges took up a little room too) of 14 1/2". Remember that your drawer slides also take up 1" all for both, so that's a total drawer width of 13 1/2". To be safe, I made mine 13" wide, and cut 2 1x6s to this length. Then I measured the depth of the opening. Mine was 22 3/4" deep. So I cut the 2x2s to the depth of the cabinet and then cut the two 1x6s to this measurement minus 1 1/2" - so for me, 21 1/4". I then cut the 1/4" plywood to 13" x 22 3/4".

Step 2

With all the boards cut, I built a simple box (used 1 1/4" pocket hole screws but you could also use 2" screws countersunk) and glue. The I tapped the bottom on with 1 1/4" finish nails and glue.

Step 3

Because these cheapo drawer slides (that actually work really well and are quite strong) are side/bottom mount, you can get away with just tacking 1/4" plywood to the bottom. The weight of the drawer contents sits right on the slides. I attached the two drawer parts of the slides to the bottom of the drawer as shown above.

Step 4

Then I attached the remaining drawer slide pieces to the 2x2s as shown here. Make sure these pieces are attached level and in the same position on both 2x2s. This is important. I used the screws that came with the slides, and followed the directions on the slides.

Step 5

Step 6

Then I simply positioned the whole setup inside the cabinet, and because of the tight fit, screwed the 2x2s to the shelf from the underside. But if you had more clearance from the top, you could screw from the top too. Used 2" screws here, just two per 2x2.

Step 7

And then just put the drawer in. The drawer is easy to remove and clean (and in my case, finish) and I really love the 2x2s in there, because they keep things from sliding under your drawer. Off to build . . . six more.

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.


Jeanne Miller (not verified)

Mon, 03/21/2011 - 23:20

We have a lazy Suzan style cupboard in our kitchen. I love the amount of room in it, but that shelf never stays up so I want to pull it out again. I was wondering if you might have some ideas about how to make it more functional?


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 05:28

I've done this before in our previous house... and really need to do it in this house for the tupperware lids! So nice to have a clear picture of how to make it work smoothly!

Brilliant... now to see if I have any wood to build a box with!


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 05:44

we are remodeling our house so we are going to need stain for all kinds of things: doors, trim, etc and now that I found your site:  I need it for furniture!  Our cabinets and vanities are maple; one company calls is Sandelwood.  They look really similar to yours, at least in the picture.  I am having the toughest time matching up stain to it!  Help!

BTW, love the drawers!  :-D


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 06:11

OK Ana - you must have read my mind.  I am building a craft room - and want to put in drawer slides - this came at the perfect time!!!  Thank you so much!

Guest (not verified)

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 18:17

It does depend on the length but I just bought 22 inch ones for 7.48. They had some that were MUCH more - around $25 - but you don't need all the hoopla that comes with it. I got mine at Home Depot but Lowe's and Home Depot are owned by competing brothers so I am surprised that they would have prices so different even if there isn't competition in your area. 


Thu, 03/24/2011 - 15:44

I found the ones online at HD that you're talking about.  I think I'll print that out and take to Lowe's.  Maybe they have some comparable ones that I couldn't find when I was there.


Thu, 03/24/2011 - 12:32

Though Lee Valley Tools only has stores in Canada, they do offer online shopping.  Right now, there is a no shipping fee deal on until March 28.  You can find all kinds of drawer slides ... the standard kitchen slides hold about 55lbs which is more than I need.  The prices for a 21" (550 mm) set of slides range from $4.80-$6.00 depending on how many you buy.  If you live in a rural area like me where there is no Orange or Blue or much of anything within a 30-45 minute drive, online is the way to go!


Thu, 03/24/2011 - 15:39

Maybe because I'm in the US, the free shipping is only on orders of $40 or more.  I don't need that many slides.  The shipping for up to $20 will be $8.50.  Even though the closest HD is a ways away, it might still be cheaper for me to do that.  But I appreciate your help!

Guest (not verified)

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 09:13

We bought ours at Lowes on isle 4 last night for I think 5.50 a piece hope this helps!


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 06:49

Thank you thank you thank you!! I have been waiting for this. You are awesome. I am going to build it this weekend. You have saved me a a pile of money. Store bought ones are $100 each.

Jenny graddy (not verified)

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 06:49

thanks! I have been saving drawer slides from furniture and now can get motivated to use them for this!!

I started installing drawers everywhere..mostly the plastic storage kind or the wire kind. I like the look of these better.
I also made a mini dresser with boxes, paper mache and covered it with fabric. I know your site focuses on wood items, but since so many of boxes from all the online orders, this is a cool project to consider :)

Sarah R. (not verified)

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 06:53

I have been thinking of this very thing as of late! I desperately need an accessable drawer for my kids to retrieve their own cups, plates, etc. Awesome Ana--thanks so much!!


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 06:55

Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I have wanted to know how to do this forever!  I have been watching your site faithfully in hopes of finding just this.  (Of course, I've fought several other projects along the way, too:)  I don't comment often, so, while I'm at it; I LOVE your site, thank you so much for all you do.

Janey (not verified)

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 07:20

I have been planning to figure this out for myself for a long time now, but you've taken the guesswork out of it for me, Ana! Yay! It's actually cheaper than I thought it was going to be. My bathroom cabinets are in dire need of these drawers. Now that I think about it, the kitchen cabinet would be great with them too. Now I have no other reason to procrastinate doing it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! And my cabinets thank you.

cate (not verified)

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 07:30

Can you come up with an organizer for a blind corner PLEASE.  I REALLY need one.


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 10:47

My to do list just keeps getting longer.  I have a 'kid cupboard' where whenever you open the door, something falls out.  This would be a perfect fix.  Thank you!

Guest (not verified)

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:09

I was just asking my husband to show me how to install drawer slides.  Now I can do it all on my own!  Thanks Ana, I love your new website and visit it daily!

Ulrike (not verified)

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:19

I've been thinking about doing something like this for my pots & pans. I wouldn't have thought to use 2x2s. Glad you posted this.

Lynn Peters (not verified)

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 03:12

As always, you are awesome!


Thu, 03/24/2011 - 12:38

I've been wanting to work on this project for some time now, but until now did not feel confident (or have instructions as clear as yours!).  As the snow and temperatures continue to fall and fluctuate here in rural Alberta, it may still be some time yet before I can work outside.  This project is actually feasible in my small garage  ... and this is something for which I can enlist the help of my kids (who will be off for Spring Break for the next 10 days and will need activities to keep them busy!).  Thank you!


Fri, 03/25/2011 - 15:17

I've got a tape measurer at my side and am going to take measurements right now!

I see a new home for the lids to my pots and pans!!!


Fri, 03/25/2011 - 20:01

I have a beautiful mission style entertainment center. I am considering mounting my tv on the wall and for the past 2 weeks have been trying to figure out how to refit the shelving underneath with drawers (which currently house CDS and DVD player, etc.). I am running out of DVD movie shelving elsewhere and felt like drawers here would solve my problem and I would be re-purposing a piece of furniture I love! THANK YOU!


Fri, 04/01/2011 - 23:22

Ditto the above request. I soooooo need to do something with a deep, dark, corner kitchen cupboard.

I actually put an old drawer from my neighbor's kitchen remodel (they were throwing out our exact cupboards! hmmm... couldn't mean they're shabby, could it?) and just placed it on the bottom shelf. For a while I considered gluing a frame around it on the cabinet base so it would come out straight, as I saw the $25 slides and about fell over! Now I will definitely look for slides. And it's MUCH heavier than your rendition, which would work so much better. Repurposing only goes so far! ;)

Thanks for all you do, Ana.


Mon, 05/02/2011 - 21:12

I found heavy duty drawer slides for $3 at our local Restore. Yeah!


Mon, 04/11/2011 - 07:32

Hi Ana!! I am sitting here figuring out what I need to get for my cabinet project.  I have a cut list ready to go.  But I can't seem to find the Getting Started page that you suggest reading at the beginning of the instructions.  Maybe I don't know where to look for it.  Also didn't you used to have a post about how to select wood and where to find what you're looking for?  

Anyway, I think I'll just go wander around until I find the right wood, but I love the new site.  Looks beautiful!

debbie (not verified)

Thu, 06/16/2011 - 08:33

I love this!!1 I need this desperately for my pots and pans drawer.


Wed, 01/14/2015 - 00:19

I looked in the comments, but didn't see any solution for cabinets that do not have a shelf :( My bathroom cabinets for example desperately need sliding drawers / organizers and this project actually seems affordable & do-able! However, I was so excited by finding this tutorial and really excited while finding deals, sales, pre-used, scrap supplies,etc - that I completely overlooked a major obstacle. My cabinets do not have shelves or brace supports or anything at all actually. So ... should I now go look up how to add a shelf to a cabinet? I'm assuming the shelf must come first since the 2x2's get attached to the shelf - is there any certain way this shelf needs to be? Sorry for all the questions - the term newbie doesn't even begin to cover it. Thanks in advance for any & all help with this :)

Ana White

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 13:37

Hi! I actually think pull out drawers are even easier if you don't have an existing shelf. You'll just attach your drawer slide cabinet members directly to the cabinet itself (no 2x2 blocks are required).

If you have a euro style cabinet (meaning there is no frame on the front of the cabinet) you would just attach to the inside of the sides of the cabinet (just make sure the drawer will pass the hinges, if not you'll need to shim the drawer slides in ward with maybe a 1x2 on the hinge side - scroll through this post http://ana-white.com/2013/12/momplex/drawers-closet-tower for images)

If you have a face frame, you can attach the drawer slides directly to the face frame and the back of the cabinet - here's an example http://ana-white.com/2013/12/momplex/kitchen-cabinet-drawers-metabox- you don't need to use those slides)

Hope all this helps!


Wed, 01/14/2015 - 17:52

More than impressed with your quick and informative response :-D I think you are officially my hero! You are not only handy, talented and inspirational - you are kind and helpful! Thank you thank you thank you!


Wed, 01/14/2015 - 17:52

More than impressed with your quick and informative response :-D I think you are officially my hero! You are not only handy, talented and inspirational - you are kind and helpful! Thank you thank you thank you!