How To Mount Drawer Fronts

White-front drawer with black knob slightly ajar.
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 25
What You'll Need
Drill & bits
Screwdriver bits
Countersinking bit
Measuring tape
Router bits

If you have drawer fronts that are old and worn, replace them with new drawer fronts for an updated look. You can change the fronts of the drawers without replacing the rest of the drawer box. The drawer front is a separate piece of cabinetry, and you can alter it in many ways that do not affect the fundamental construction of the cabinet or drawer.

There are a couple of approaches to installing drawer fronts, but each requires care in measuring and centering.

1. Center Carefully

If you have a pull knob in the center of your drawer, this can make it easier to measure and center the drawer front.

Measure and find the center on the drawer box. Mark and drill. Then measure and find the center in the drawer front. Drill. Line up the holes and install the drawer pull. Then you can screw on the drawer front.

2. Use a Spacer

Another method used by many cabinetmakers is to create a spacer out of Formica or some other thin and durable building material. Measure the first drawer and carefully center the drawer front. Then cut the spacer to show the distance between the drawers.

As you add each of the additional drawers, you can simply use the spacer to help you gauge the distance between drawers.

3. Mark the Place

screwing the knob into a drawer front

Another method suggests using the screws with which you will attach the drawer fronts. Put them through holes in the front of the drawer box and allow them to extend slightly out from the box.

Align the front of the drawer using a spacer or measuring table to put it in the right position. Then tap sharply on the drawer front, making two slight indentations in the back of it.

Remove the drawer box and place the drawer front face down on the floor with a protective cloth under it. Screw the front of the box onto the drawer front from the inside, using the two indentations as guides.

General Tips

1. The drawer fronts should always be screwed on from the inside of the drawer carcass. Use wood screws that will go completely through the drawer box and extend just slightly (about ¼-inch) into the front for a solid attachment that will not extend through the drawer front.

2. Routing out the edges on the drawer front before installation will also enhance the appearance of the drawer front by adding to it a specific style. You can do this with a router and a bullnose, a roman-ogee, or some other type of edge treatment bit, most of them available at your local hardware store.

3. Make sure you don’t rush the sanding portion of the installation. Start with 80-grit sandpaper and move on until you get to 120-grit and have your desired finish.