How to Build a Classic Dresser With our DIY Plans

Building a Classic Dresser – DIY Plan and Instructions

Building utility pieces for oneself, besides being extremely cost effective, is immensely satisfying. Once you start, every new project gives you the confidence to build more complex and intricate objects. The internet is a great source of a variety of video as well as text tutorials for newbies in the structural crafting jobs. This article will show you how to build your own dresser using the provided dresser plans.

Wood Crafting DIY Plan

When looking on the Web for a perfect DIY tutorial, one must be very careful in choosing the right one to follow.

Instructions should be comprehensive, covering every aspect of the construction from materials, tools, to a schematic diagram, paints, varnishes, etc. At the same time, it should be easy to understand and follow and should not be overwhelming for a beginner.

Key Ingredients of a Good Tutorial

Every first timer should look for a guide that eases him into the project. The guidelines should be devoid of jargon and focus on introducing the crafter with his tools, materials, etc., in an easy and fun manner!

The woodworking plan should include:

  • Detailed directives, which require no further research. The steps should be able to make the woodworker more efficient!
  • Detailed lists of materials, tools, requisite sizes, etc. that allow for calculated adjustments accordingly. This will help the crafter in saving time and money and avoid excessive wastage.
  • Clear diagrams detailing each stage of the construction. This helps the maker in avoiding mistakes and follow proper steps sequentially.
  • 3D perspective of the plans at each stage. This is much better than a pdf outline. It is useful to the crafter in keeping a constant check on his product’s look as per the instructions.
  • Blueprints for all types of skill sets. This allows beginners to gradually graduate to the next level with ease and with the same trusted platform.
  • Approachability, in the sense that any queries should be resolved within a minimum time frame with constructive resolution.

On an intermediary crafting level, most dresser carpentry jobs would involve either refurbishing an old piece or be recreating a dresser from another wood article or constructing a compound piece.

For a novice with rudimentary carpentry skills and basic working tools, below is an A to Z procedure of building a plain dresser from scratch. Keep in mind that there are lots of sizes, most dressers are either a 3, 6 or 7 drawer. Some are referred to as a Tallboy or Long Dresser.

Building a Clothes Dresser – Materials Needed

Constructing a basic modern dresser would require the following materials:

  • 2—1×2 at 8′
  • 2—2×2 at 8’
  • A full sheet of ¾” plywood
  • A 1/2 sheet of ¾” plywood

Each part of the bureau should be cut out from the plywood sheets according to the following listed measurements:

For the Frame, Panels, and Legs

  • Four legs should be cut as 2×2 at 33 ¼” each.
  • Four side frames should be taken out as 1×2 at 13” each.
  • Two side panels from the ¾” plywood at 13” x 29 ¾” each.
  • For the back panel, a 29”x 31” slice from the ¾” plywood.
  • For the top, 16 ½” x 35” section from the ¾” plywood.

For Back Frame and Front Stretchers

  • Two pieces as 2×2 at 31” each and four pieces as 1×2 at 31” each.

For the Drawers

  • A 1×2 at 8 ½” piece as the divider, a 1×2 at 13” as the slider support, and eight segments of 7” x 10-½” of ¾” plywood for the drawer sides.
    • 2 top drawer bases would require 10 ½” x 12 ⅝” of the ¾” plywood, whereas, the two bottom drawer bases would be needing 10 ½” x 28 ½” of the ¾” plywood.
  • 4 top drawer faces and back at 7” x 14 ⅛” of the ¾” plywood and four sections of 7” x 30” of the ¾” plywood for the bottom drawer fronts and backside.
  • Two more fronts for the top drawer at 8 ¼” x 14 ⅞” of the ¾” plywood and another two fronts for the bottom drawer at 9 ¼” x 30 ¾” of the ¾” plywood.

Additional Supplies Required

  • A pocket hole screw measuring ¼”
  • A couple of ½” pocket hole bolts
  • A ¼” brad nail
  • 12” drawer sliders—4 sets
  • Appropriate amount of cabinet handles.
  • Finishing supplies like varnish, paint, or edge banding, whatever is required for customizing it.

Step-by-step Construction Procedure for the Classic Dresser

  1. First, cut the measured and marked sections of the legs, the panels for the side, and the border frames. Auger the pocket holes and assemble the parts using the 1 ¼” pocket hole screws and glue. The screws should be inserted keeping in mind that they are not visible externally. Also, if edge banding is being used, it should be applied to the exposed sides before fabrication.
  1. Secondly, back panel and frame should be removed from the ¾” plywood and assembled using the 1 ¼” pocket hole screws and glue. Legs should be linked to the top frame using the 2 ½” pocket hole bolts and to the base frame using 1 ¼” screws.
  2. Next, the front stretcher pieces should be cut out. The 2×2 piece should be affixed at the top using 2 ½” pocket hole screws and glue, with its drilled pocket holes facing upwards. The 1×2 stretcher strips should be attached to the legs using the 1 ¼” screws, with the pocket screw holes facing downwards.
  3. In the next step, a divider for the drawers and its slide support planks should be affixed using 1 ¼” pocket hole screw and glue in the center of the 2×2 stretcher and to the 1st 1×2 stretcher.
  4. For the fifth step, secure the dresser top using the 1 ¼” brad nails in such a fashion that ½” hangs out in the forefront and on both sides.
  5. Next is the drawers turn. Arrange all the parts of the drawer using the 1 ¼” pocket hole screws and glue. Pocket holes should be drilled at the end of all the side panels and the four corners of the base panel. Drawer sliders should be installed as per the instruction manual. Lastly, situate the drawer fronts, handles and knobs.


Concluding a woodworking project to satisfaction gives an amazing sense of accomplishment. Completing it on time and within budget is even more gratifying. Virtual DIY tools enable the crafter in expressing his creativity in a structured, cost-effective, and fruitful manner! Check out our cool woodworking projects for more ideas.