Wood Pullout Cabinet Drawer Organizer

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 03/21/2011 - 23:03
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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
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.



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.

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