Shaker style dresser plan

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Shaker style dresser

These plans are a little different than the dresser that I built, so I can't say that the plan has been tested.

The first design difference is how I constructed the sides and legs. I made this change because it is simpler and sleeker. I made the top two drawers slightly shorter and each drawer width 1/4" smaller so you would only need one sheet of 3/4"plywood making it much less expensive! The remaining design and construction methods are the same as my dresser - consider this the new and improved version! The Purebond really made this dress pretty!

(Remember this is a mod of Patrick's Beach Dresser - thanks!)

***special notes***

If you do not have a jigsaw or if you are planning to stain the dresser, there is a modification for each instance in steps 8, 9, and 10. Each of these requires the purchase of an additional 1x2x6.

If you do not have a compound miter saw, there is a modification in step 21. This requires a change to the cut list, so please review it first.


Shopping List

4 - 1x2x8

1 - 1x2x6

2 - 1x3x6

1 - 1x5x6

3 - 1x8x8

1 sheet 3/4" birch plywood

1 sheet 1/2" birch plywood

2 sheets 1/4" birch plywood (review cut list below before purchasing)

8 pair 14" euro drawer slides

16 knobs

2" finish nails

1 1/4" finish nails

5/8" finish nails

1 1/4" pocket hole screws

wood glue

wood filler

Cut List

Side trim:

4 - 1x2 @14 1/4"


4 - 2x2 @35 1/4"

Front trim:

2 - 2x2 @ 62 1/4"

Back brace:

1 - 1x2 @ 62 1/4"

Drawer dividers:

6 - 1x2 @ 30 3/4"

Small drawer fronts:

2 - 1x5 @ 30 1/2"

Large drawer fronts:

6 - 1x8 @ 30 1/2"

Top trim:

1 - 1x2 @ 67 1/4"

2 - 1x2 @ 18 1/4"

CUT LIST - Plywood

3/4 Plywood:


2 - 14 1/4" x 32 1/2"


1 - 17 1/4" x 31 3/4"

Top and bottom:

2 - 15 3/4" x 62 1/4"

1/2" Plywood

Large drawer front/backs:

12 - 5 3/4" x 28 3/4"

Small drawer front/backs:

4 - 3 1/2" x 28 3/4"

Large drawer sides:

12 - 5 3/4" x 14"

Small drawer sides:

4 - 3 1/2" x 14"

1/4" Plywood

Drawer bottoms:
8 - 14" x 29 3/4"


1 - 32 1/2" x 65 1/4"

Cutting Instructions

PLEASE read through the directions entirely before starting this project.

You may not need the second sheet of 1/4" plywood if you have some scrap 1/4" already, so please review the cut diagrams.

If you are doing any of the mods for jigsaw, miter, etc., the cut list and/or shop list will change, so please reviews those steps.
Please use eye and hearing protection as well as any recommended safety features on your equipment.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
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

If you are getting this cut at a store, have them make the 32 1/2 rip cut to make the sides. Having the sides exactly the same measurement is very important to getting the dresser square.

Step 2

These are the drawer sides and front/backs. I like to lightly label each crosscut by its row number. For example, each drawer front/back from the first rip cut would be labeled 'row a.' This way, I know to pair two 'row a' pieces for one drawer which ensures the pieces will be exactly the same length helping to make the drawer box square. If I matched a front/back from row a with one from row b, they might be slightly off in measurement. Likewise, I match sides from the same rows.

Step 3

You may not need the second sheet if you have some scrap 1/4" already.

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Attach the posts to each side with pocket holes and 1 1/4" screws keeping the tops flush.

Step 7

Attach the dresser bottom to the sides keeping the back of the dresser bottom flush with the back legs. There should be a 1 1/2" space at the front. Lay the pieces on the ground like the dresser is on its back. Making sure each corner is square, attach using pocket holes and 1 1/4" screws from underneath.

Step 8

Using a jigsaw, cut inserts in center section as shown below. In addition to drawing the lines, you may want to use a straight edge to keep these corners square.

Step 9

***no jigsaw***

If you don't have a jigsaw, make the center dimenstions as shown below and attach 1x2s as shown. The extra 1x2 cut will be 1@ 29 1/2" and 1 @ 31". Use pocket hole screws to screw from the center section into the 1x2s. Try to place these where the center of the drawers will be to avoid interfering with the drawer divider or drawer slide placement.

Step 10

***staining the dresser***

If you want to stain the dresser, this option will let you avoid sanding the plywood edge to accommodate edge banding and will also keep all the front trim the same type of wood taking the stain more evenly. The extra 1x2 cut will be 1@ 29 1/2". Use pocket hole screws to screw from the center section into the 1x2. Try to place these where the center of the drawers will be to avoid interfering with the drawer divider or drawer slide placement.

Step 11

With the dresser still on its back, attach the center section using plenty of glue and screw from underneath. Use 5 1 1/4" screws.

Step 12

Attach front trim pieces (2x2s) using the cutouts as guides. For the bottom trim, glue and use 2" finish nails or pocket holes from underneath. Screw directly from underneath into the cutout using 2 1/4" screws.

For the top trim, attach with 2 pocket holes on each side underneath and screw directly from the top into the center cutout using 2 1/4" screws. (I also used glue on each cutout.)

Step 13

Attach the 1x2 brace to the back with pocket holes under each side and screwing directly into the cutout using 1 1/4" screws.

Step 14

Close up view

Step 15

Drill 2 pocket holes into each end of the drawer dividers. With the holes facing downward, attach to the center and sides. Cut a piece of wood 7 1/2" and one 4 3/4" to use as a guide/jig for each opening. It is very important that each opening is square.

Step 16

Build large drawer boxes as shown. There should be 6 larger and 2 smaller. Check for square. Put your pocket holes in the front and the very back. The drawer fronts will cover the front pocket holes, and you won't ever see the back holes.

Step 17

Build small drawer boxes.

Step 18

Add drawer bottoms using glue and 5/8" finish nails. Both the small and large boxes are handled the same way.

Step 19

Install drawer glides according to package directions allowing for a 3/4" inset to accommodate the drawer front. Working one drawer at a time, put the large drawer box in the dresser. Using 1/8" craft wood strips as spacers on all four sides, position drawer front and clamp. Attach using a few 1 1/4" nails. Don't put nails where your knobs will be be. I like to write in pencil where the drawer was originally fit (e.g. L4 for left side, 4th drawer down.) I found that the 1x8s I used varied slightly in width. (It's probably overkill, but I wanted to be extra cautious!)

Step 20

Repeat with small drawers.

Step 21

Attach trim to top using glue and pocket holes from underneath or 2" finish nails. (If you don't want to miter the corners, cut the 2 side pieces to 15 3/4" and do a butt joint with the unmitered 67 1/4" front trim piece.

Step 22

Place dresser top upside down on the ground. Remove drawers, and place dress upside down so that the backs of the dresser and dresser top are flush and there is a 1" overhang on the front and sides. Attach using the pocket holes and 1 1/4" screws. Also, screw through the brace into the top using 1 1/4" screws.

Step 23

Using glue and 5/8" finish nails, attach back to dresser.

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.
Project Type



Mon, 04/30/2012 - 08:10

we're hurting for some good dresser / matching designs here. thanks for posting this.


Fri, 03/30/2018 - 07:51

I just made this dresser, and realized the plans are just a little off. I ended up with an extra 1 x 8 x 8. Also, the cuts for the top trim are on the 1 x 3, not a 1 x 2. Aside from that, this dresser is gorgeous and a lot of fun to build.