Three years ago I was reading up on how to install drawer slides and was totally overwhelmed at the thought of needing to level everything perfectly (I’m more of a “near enough is good enough” girl). Fortunately, I stumbled across John Heisz’s video. This guy is SO GOOD at what he does. He makes installing drawer slides easy and there’s no measuring or leveling involved. I’ve watched his videos over and over again, geeking out about each new woodworking tip I learn. As I recently installed a couple of drawers in one of our kitchen cupboards, I thought I’d talk you through each step with as many photos as I can. You’re welcome 😀
Step 1 – Prop it up.
Start with your lowest drawer and prop it up on something. If your drawer is going right at the bottom of a cupboard then lie a sheet of plywood or MDF at the bottom of the carcass. I wanted my two drawers at the top so I found a couple of pieces of scrap MDF that were the same height and stood them up at each side.
Step 2 – Rest your drawer slides on top.
Place your drawer slides on top of your prop. I wanted to allow plenty of room for my drawer faces (which I haven’t made yet so I don’t know how thick they’ll be) so that’s why my slides are about 30mm back from the front of the carcass.
Step 3 – Attach slides to cupboard.
Pull open your slides.
Remove the slides to predrill holes (otherwise the runners will fill up with sawdust). Replace the slides and attach to the carcass with screws. (I find three screws is plenty but if you’re going to be storing something really heavy then go ahead and use more screws – the runners come with an absolute shit-load of predrilled holes in them.)
Now open and close the slides to make sure they close all the way, without catching on any screws.
Step 4 – Open up the slides.
You won’t be able to reach them once the drawer is in place, so go ahead and open both slides up now.
Step 5 – Attach slides to the front half of the drawer.
Rest your drawer on top of your props so that it’s hanging out of the carcass a bit.
Then line up the slides with the front of your drawer.
Predrill a couple of holes on either side, making sure the slides are still aligned with the drawer front. Blow out any sawdust that collects in the slides.
Then screw the slides to the drawer. Make sure you have at least two screws firmly in place on both sides.
Step 6 – Remove the drawer.
Pull the drawer out as far as it will go. On each side you’ll see these little plastic tabs that can be flexed up and down.
When you flex both the slides’ tabs together you should be able to pull the drawer completely out of the carcass.
Step 7 – Attach screws to the back half of the drawer.
Now that your drawer is free, you can access the back half of the slides. Add another couple of screws on each slide.
In the photo above you can see that I’ve got two screws in toward the front of the drawer. I then added two more screws behind that flexible black plastic thingummy.
Step 8 – Insert drawer.
This is it. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Remove your temporary props. Line your drawer slides up and slowly push the drawer in so the slides click together again.
Party hard my people.
To add the next drawer on top, I simply cut some strips of scrap MDF to lay on top of the first drawer as my prop. Then repeat the above steps.
I hope that this helps someone, somewhere. Installing drawer slides can be truly horrible but with this method it is quick and easy, with just one pair of hands and a drill.