Small Dresser with Open Bottom Shelf - Cabin Collection

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 01/09/2012 - 10:52
| Print this plan

Build your own dresser with simple DIY plans! Inspired by Pottery Barn Kids Camp Dresser, this dresser features two small and two large drawers and a large open bottom shelf.


Special thanks today to Patrick for building this dresser from this plan.

I really love how this dresser turned out!  
And now some tips from Patrick ...
If your drawer fronts are 7 1/4 inches wide and you want a 1/8th inch gap around the front, cut a wood spacer block 7 1/2 inches long and use it to get perfect drawer spaces. This keeps you from having to measure every time. Measuring offers chances to make mistakes. This ensures the same gap every time.

Just move the block over and you get the same space.

Pine 2x2's are very soft so I put pocket holes on 2 sides of the board. Both the back and bottom have pocket holes for added strength.

Don't Forget!

PS - Don't forget to enter today to win a $100 Home Depot Card from PureBond!  Wouldn't this project be pretty PureBond plywood?  Remember, the giveaway is happening every single weekday in January, and you can enter every day for more chances to win!
Dimensions are shown above.


Shopping List

1 –sheet of 3/4 plywood, cut into 15 ¾” wide strips
1 – sheet of ¼” plywood for back and drawer bottoms
2 – 1x8 @ 6 feet long
4 – 1x6 @ 8 feet long
6 – 1x2 @ 8 feet long
5 – 2x2 @ 8 feet long
1 – 1x3 @ 4 feet long
4 – 15” drawer slides, euro style bottom corner mount
4 knobs or pulls

Common Materials
1 1/4 inch finish nails
2 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
Cut List

2 – ¾” plywood @ 15 ¾” x 26 ¼”
4 – 1x2 @ 15 ¾”
4 – 1x2 @ 23 ¼”
4 – 2x2 @ 40 ¼”
2 – 2x2 @ 15 ¾”
4 – 2x2 @ 40”
1 – ¾” plywood @ 15 ¾” 40”
6- 1x2 @ 40”
2 – 1x2 @ 7 ½”
1 – ¾” plywood @ 15 ¾” x 9”
1 – ¾” plywood @ 15 ¾” x 41 ½”
2 – 1x2 @ 15 ¾”
1 – 1x2 @ 44 ½”
1 – 1x3 @ 44 ½”
Cut drawers to fit

Cutting Instructions

NOTE: This plan is designed for 1x8 boards measuring 7 ¼” wide for perfect fitting drawer faces. If your 1x8 boards differ in width, you will need to adjust the plan. This plan gives 1/8” gaps around drawer faces.

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

Attach legs with 1 ¼” pocket hole screws through predrilled holes. You will need to make two of ends.

Step 2

Now simply attach legs. Do this on both sides.

Step 3

Attach bottom shelf side. Do this on both sides.

Step 4

Now it's taking shape! Attach side to side as shown above.

Step 5

Step 6

Trim between drawers.

Step 7

Divider between smaller top drawers.

Step 8

This board gives you something to hang your drawer slides too.

Step 9

Build the top first, then attach to dresser top, 1" overhang on front and sides.

Step 10

Build drawers to fit, 1" smaller than overall opening.

Step 11

Install drawers into boxes with slides. Remember, we still have the faces to put on, so inset drawers 3/4" from front of dresser.

Step 12

Attach drawer faces with 1 1/4" finish nails, with an even gap around all sides. Remember to mark location of pulls or handles to avoid nails where you will later drill holes for hardware.

Step 13

I like to attach the back after drawers so it's easy to reach in and work on the slides.

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.



Mon, 01/09/2012 - 13:31

Wow! You have perfect timing on this one! I was just going to start trying to figure out how to make your other open bottom dresser just using a face frame to avoid all the weight caused by the "box"
I love the block Patrick used to ensure the correct spacing for the drawer, that's exactly what I did for my nightstands!

Guest (not verified)

Mon, 01/09/2012 - 13:47

Ready to build but unfortunately the PDF is not working. Looks like a great chest.


Mon, 01/09/2012 - 13:48

Ana, Can you add detail to the cut list like you have on the other posts so we know what each piece is for. This really helps me when I'm modifying a plan.
Thanks! :) So excited to get started!

Brett (not verified)

Mon, 01/09/2012 - 14:22

This is awesome! I want to try and make this for our baby's room. Two questions:

1. What type of wood do you suggest using?
2. What color is the stain that you used? I love it!

In reply to by Brett (not verified)


Mon, 01/09/2012 - 15:06

This was made from white pine and I used an ebony stain. I didn't even seal the wood first. I just sanded it down to 150 grit and applied the stain. Pine tends to blotch so a lot of folks like to use a sealer or shellac to keep it from blotching so bad. That definitely works but I kind of like the blotchy rough look. Have fun!


Mon, 01/09/2012 - 17:48

This just what I was looking for! I think I will modify a little and try for some beadboard fronts. Anybody have any tips on that? I need a router.


Mon, 01/09/2012 - 18:56

How wide could I make this dresser before things start sagging? Would using vertical braces in the rear be necessary, if at all? A third leg to support in the middle? Is the drawer size determined by the weight the drawer slides can hold? I would like to maintain the design with single drawers across the bottom, but make the piece maybe a foot wider. Thanks.


Tue, 01/10/2012 - 07:24

There are pretty good tools on the web for figuring out what you can get away with. I like this one for the name:

As a practical matter, wider drawers have a tendency to bind. Wider dressers tend to use a center support member and put drawers side by side to avoid this problem.


Tue, 01/10/2012 - 20:30

Now that you mention it, I would probably be better off building two dressers and placing them side by side. I have a tiny bedroom and about a nine foot wall. I want to build my dressers to fit as a wall unit. Small enough to get in and out of the room in pieces and fit together to look like one wall of storage.

Free Plans Made Possible By Our Sponsors