Updated: May 25, 2022
This DIY drawer is really simple to make! I take you step by step showing how I made this storage shelf. It also makes a great DIY monitor stand too!
Watch the full step by step video here:
18mm Birch Plywood
Step 1 - Make The Drawer
The first step in this project is to cut the 18mm plywood pieces to size. You can of course adapt the sizes to best suite your needs but I will list the sizes I went with as the project progresses.
I cut 2 strips at 35mm wide, 1 at 150mm wide and another at 200mm wide. These will for the body to the drawer along with the top to the shelf. Off cuts will be used to make the drawer front later.
Using the mitre saw I cut the pieces to length. I cut the drawer bottom to 500mm long, the front & back sides to the drawers were also cut to 500mm long and the two short sides to the drawers were cut at 114mm long. I also cut the top shelf to 650mm long.
I find it better to offer up the pieces and mark them exactly rather than measuring. In this instance, I cut the drawer bottom to size and then offered up the side pieces and marked them flush. I find this method much more accurate.
At this stage, with the pieces all cut, it's easier to sand the inside faces smooth before assembling the drawer. I sanded the inside faces to 240 grit.
Then it was time for assembly. To make things easier I used some clamps to the hold the side pieces together while I drilled pilot holes at the corners. I could them add wood glue to the joints and secure the sides back together with screws. To attach the bottom in place I first added a bead of wood glue around the edges, added the bottom piece and drilled pilot holes. I also countersunk the holes so the screws would sit below the surface. With the screws in place, the drawer can be put to one side to dry.
Step 2 - Create The Side Pieces
I used 30mm MDF for the sides to the shelf. I first cut a strip of it to 180mm wide using my track saw.
I then cut 2 pieces to 120mm long at the mitre saw.
Using a roundover bit in the router, I created a radius at the front of the sides pieces.
I think it makes a big difference to the appearance. A curved front will look much nicer with the fabric later.
To make it easier to create a neat edge with the fabric, I routed a groove in the back of the side pieces. I did this with a 6mm slot cutting bit in the router.
With that done, I could apply the fabric. I used a linen type fabric that is designed for upholstery. To stick it in place I used contact adhesive, applying it to both mating surfaces before sticking it in place. I then trimmed away the excess leaving some at the back to tuck into the groove later.
I used the same contact adhesive to glue some magenta felt to the bottom of the side pieces. This will not only add a slight pop of colour but it will prevent the bottoms from scratching my desk.
To neaten up he back edge I cut a piece of 6mm MDF and painted it magenta. A few dabs of super glue and hammered flush into the groove creates a really nice feature. It tucks the fabric in to the groove and holds it all secure. I'm really pleased with how this turned out.
Step 3 - Fit The Drawer Slides
I opted to use 150mm full extension drawer slides on this project.
I sat the drawer slides flush to the bottom of the drawer and marked where the mounting holes would fall on the sides.
I could then drill pilot holes to make it easier to add the screws in place.
To make it easier to add the drawer slides you can separate the pieces by pressing down the plastic lever. This enables you to separate the piece that gets attached to the drawer itself.
2 screws secures it in place. I did the same on the other side of the drawer too.
I reattached the drawer slides and offered it up to the MDF side pieces. I sat the drawer on some scrap 6mm MDF to ensure it would scrape on the shelf later. I could then make sure the drawer slide was flush to the back of the side pieces, drill pilot holes and then secure in place with screws.
Step 4 - Attach Top Shelf
With the drawer in place it was time to sort out the top shelf. It was already cut to size earlier in the project but I wanted to add some slight details. The first was to cut round corners at the front. To mark the radius I used a pot of super glue to trace around.
I rough cut the radius with a jigsaw and then sanded it to the final shape with a 3\4 sheet sander.
Using a 45 degree chamfer bit in the router I added an under bevel to the front and sides of the shelf. I think this makes a big difference to the overall appearance of the shelf.
To stain the plywood shelf I used the chocolate colour from Rubio Monocoat. It applied really easily and provides a protective finish too. I also used it on the drawer.
To attach the shelf to the sides pieces I opted to use dowels. To help position them correctly I first drilled 2 holes into both MDF side pieces. I then added some dowel centre finders. These just sit in the holes and offer a point in the centre of the hole.
I could then add the shelf in place and hit the top to leave some indents from the dowel centre finders. These give clear position points that I can drill and know the dowels will line up perfectly. I added wood glue and dowels to the holes before securing the shelf in place.
Step 5 - Add The Drawer Front & Drawer Liner
I cut the drawer slide to size by offering it up the opening, marking the sizing on the piece of 18mm plywood and then cutting it to size. I allowed roughly 2.5mm gap around the sides. I then stained it with the same chocolate colour I used on the shelf and drawer body.
To secure the drawer front in place I used both wood glue and super glue. The wood glue adds the real strength but it's slow to set so adding super glue too gives you really fast holding power while the wood glue dries.
Holding it in place for a few seconds lets the super glue take hold. The drawer can then be left for the wood glue to dry.
The last thing to do is to add some felt to the bottom of the drawer. This adds a pop of colour and also stops the drawer contents from clattering around inside. I offered up an oversized piece of felt and cut it to size inside the draw with a sharp knife. I then applied some spray adhesive to the back of the felt and secure it in place. I could then add the drawer back into the shelf and that completes the project.
I'm really pleased with how this project turned out! It's made a huge difference to my desk already. Everything I need quick access to is always at hand without it cluttering up the desk. This is a great solution to help with productivity! I hope you give it a go for yourselves. I do take commissions too so don't hesitate to get in touch if you would like one.