A Simple Step By Step Guide On How To Build A Dresser

Do-it-yourself furnishings not only add the appeal to your living room or bedroom space but also help you save money in your pocket for your next time home decoration too.

In this article, we will talk about a simple DIY on how to build a dresser from scratch. This dresser has five drawers made from plywood framing lumber with white paint.

This tutorial will also guide you a step by step plan on how to build chest drawer that you can customize to fit your bedroom space perfectly:

What is Important Materials You Need To Prepare?

  • Framing lumber
  • Plywood
  • Wood
  • Pocket screws
  • Drill
  • Sandpaper

Making the Wood for the Top

This project features a basic design of a dresser with a contrasting wood top to remove the monotony of using one plain color. For the wood on top, you may use a piece of CVG douglas fir, or you can customize whatever you have on hand.

Stained plywood also provides a great contrasting look. If you have a limited amount of time, you may begin by working on the top as it takes a long time to install and set up. For this project, we will use 1” x 8” wood, which will be doubled up to achieve the right size.

build a dresser

The resulting of measurement of the top should be 24 x 16 inches. Hence, the wood is cut into two eight inch pieces while leaving some space for trimming later.

Start to Building and Staining

There are several ways of laminating the pieces of wood together by using pocket screws, a small doweling jig, or bracing the boards together. For our project, we will use four dowels that will be spaced out to attach the two boards.

Drill the dowels into the board, connect and clamp them while the glue dries. Be sure to clamp down the two pieces so that the board does not get damaged. For the staining, we will use a red gel stain to give our wood top some bit of color.

Gel stains make perfect alternatives for staining wood surfaces as they don’t splash, making it easier to regulate the amount of color you want to apply on the wood. Follow it up with a coat of polyurethane and finish as you begin from the bottom to the top. A good brush does not create bubbles and allows you to apply the right amount of coat.

Preparing the Wood for the Base

For the rails and posts, we will use 2 x 10 framing lumber and 3/4 inch plywood for the sides. You may use the left over plywood to make scraps for the drawers. Connect the pieces using pocket screws and a drill.

You may place a thin piece of wood underneath the plywood to raise it up when drilling the screws in. To attach the sides, begin by gluing the sides of the plywood on the posts and connect them to the pocket screws.

The rails on the back of the dresser should be of similar length, while those at the front should be longer because they are placed between the posts. Before constructing the base, we should drill two pocket holes on both sides of the plywood, which will be used to connect the top.

Constructing The Drawers

Now, we are going to partition the space for the drawers and add rails to provide support. If you are not all about partitioning the spaces by hand, you may use a mechanical drawer slider.

You will need to space out each of the Drawer Slides and fasten them where each rail fits. It makes it easy to drill in the pocket screws. For this project, we will use 3/4 inch plywood boards to set up the drawers, which we will screw and nail together.

For the bottom of the drawer, you may nail hardboard pieces. Then, cut out face frames that measure 1/2 an inch of plywood to design the fronts to avoid leaving spaces in between them.

Video by: Matthias Wandel

The Process for Applying The Paint

Once you have finished constructing the base, it’s time to Paint The Dresser. You may paint by hand or use a spray gun as it makes the work easier and a lot faster. Once the primer dries, apply two coats of flat and follow it up with water-based polyurethane to protect the base.

Be sure to also apply several layers of polyurethane while sanding them in between as the base dries. Allow the top to dry and then sand it using sandpaper or other equipment to create a smooth finish. Be sure to allow the polyurethane coat to dry before sanding.

For a neat finish for your drawers, you may create edge bands using thin strips of cedar wood that are attached to the edges of the drawers. Then, apply wax polish at the bottom of the drawers and on the slides for easy sliding.

Assemble the Drawers into a Dresser

The final process is installed drawers into a dresser, measure the hardware and drill the holes that will be used as brushed nickel pulls and assemble the drawers into a dresser.


The tutorial should help you construct a simple dresser that helps you store clothes or the makeup sets. Note that in this tutorial, we have used pocket hole construction for DIY purposes. Make sure this project fit with your desire.