Build Your Own Stylish and Customized DIY Dresser
Forget ordering another flatpack, use your woodworking skills to build your own dresser.
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Looking for some more storage at home? Rather than buying some cheap, and frankly rubbish, flatpack nonsense, why not consider making your own masterpiece?
Like any project of this nature, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.
Bits and pieces needed
For this particular build, you will need:
- 3/4 inch (1.905cm) plywood (for the main assembly)
- 1/2 inch (1.27cm) plywood (for drawers)
- 1/2 inch hardwood (like rosewood)
- 1/4 inch (0.635cm) hardboard
- Iron-on edge banding
- Wood glue
- Mini pocket hole jig system
- Pocket hole jig
- Kreg foreman
- ACS Track Saw
- Drawer slide jig
- Drawer pull jig
- Mixing-mate paint lid
With all your kit gathered together, it is time to get on with the build. If you want full measured plans for the dresser, you can find the full instructions here.
Step 1: Cut the sides and main central divider
Take the 3/4 inch (1.905cm) plywood and cut it down using your table saw and track saw to cut the sides and the dividers of the dresser. As always, wear appropriate protection if not working in a well-ventilated space.
For the track saw, measure out lengths of 106.68 cm (42 inches) and cut to size for the sides, and 35.09 cm (38.13/16 inches) for the central divider.
With that, the main dresser sides and central divider are basically complete -- for now.
Step 2: Cut the cross members and cut pocket holes
Next, take some more of the 1.9 m (3/4 inch) plywood and cut 6 no. 54.3cm (21 and 3/8 inches) long, 4/45cm (1 and 3/4 inch) wide strips of plywood, and 4 no.54.3 cm (21 and 3/8), 5.93cm (2 and 1/3 inch) wide strips. These will form the base (the larger pieces) and draw cross-members to the dresser.
Use your table saw and track saw, as required.
Next, create a template for the base piece (and side piece) arches. You can use anything for this, but the creator of this dresser chose to cut a piece of scrap wood for the purpose.
Once created, this is then to be used as a template for the base pieces and sideboards.
Cut out the shapes carefully, sand down, and clean up as needed. With that complete, it is time to move on to the next task.
Take your iron-on edge banding, and apply it to the frontmost edges of the main dresser sides, central partition, and cross members. Cut to length and iron them into place on to the wood. These strips will prevent the dresser parts from aging, or tanning, at different rates.
Step 3: Begin assembly of the main dresser body
Next, drill pocket holes into the ends of the cross members for ease of assembly of the main dresser. You can do this by hand, or by using the tools mentioned above.
Once complete, line up the cross members with the main dresser sides, and mid-partition, and screw them into place. Take care to ensure the pieces are aligned correctly and at 90-degree angles.
You can use some 90-degree blocks to help you out here.
Once complete, sand down and level the edges if need be. Now, chisel out some small ledges around the wood frame to the rear of the dresser.
This should be just enough to allow the backboard to fit snuggly into. Measure and cut the cardboard, or hardboard, to fit and secure to the back of the dresser, as shown.
Secure by hand using nails, or use a nailgun or stapler as needed.
Step 4: Make the drawers
With the main carcass of the dresser more or less complete, we can now move on to making the drawers. Especially since we now know the final dimensions.
Grab your 1.27 cm (1/2 inch) plywood, measure, and cut down to size. The dimensions will be determined by the final dimensions of your actual dresser but should be roughly the same length as the cross members.
You will need to measure and cut 32 of these (four for each drawer). You will also need to measure and cut the bases of each drawer too (you will need 8 of these).
Once cut, begin to assemble them, as needed. Use a combination of wood glue and screws or nails as needed.
Step 5: Cut the hardwood drawer fronts and dresser top
With the drawers complete, it is time to move on to the hardwood portion of the build. Grab your hardwood, measure, and cut to size.
You will need 8 pieces to fit the front of each drawer and one larger piece for the top of the dresser. Measure and cut, as required. Depending on the dimensions of hardwood lengths you have, you may need to glue and cut down thinner lengths of hardwood to the required dimensions.
With that complete, round off the edges as needed. Varnish and/or lacquer the frontmost faces of the hardwood drawers, as required. You can do this by hand or by using a spray gun.
Step 6: Paint the main body of the dresser
Next, take your desired varnish or stain and paint the main body of the dresser. As with the draw faces, you can do this by hand or by using a spray gun.
Ensure you get an even, and smooth coverage whichever method you choose. It may take a few coats to complete.
Step 7: Secure the dresser top
Once the paint has fully dried, the next step is to add the dresser top. Drill pilot holes through the topmost cross members, and then screw the main dresser top to the main body of the dresser.
For best results, drill the holes from the bottommost side of the cross members to keep the screws "invisible".
Step 8: Add and complete the drawers
Now it is time to add the drawers into place. Grab your draw slides, mark out their position, and secure them into place using screws. To help you out, you might want to consider using a drawer slide jig.
Next, secure your draw fronts into place, and secure them to the draws, as required. Use draw clamps, or any other clamps to help you out, if needed.
Again, screw or nail the draw fronts from the rear if you don't want them to show from the front of the dresser unit. You can also add your draw handles at this point too.
Like the drawer slides, you may want to also consider using a specialist draw handle jig to help mark the required positions. For best results, drill pilot holes from the front at the desired location, and screw the handles into place from the rear. Use washers if needed.
With that, your wonderful handcrafted dresser is now complete. Now all you need to do is find the perfect location to put it.
And, find some stuff to store inside it! Building on the success of this dresser, why not consider a new project, like say a wooden mallet?
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