DIY Fluted Drawers

Updated: Jul 16


I have been seeing fluted surfaces on different types of furniture all over social media and the internet for months. And I have to admit, I have been loving the look of it. So, when it came time to design our home office built in's, I decided to add some fluted accent by creating the face covers for the drawers.

Fluted design can be achieved in many different ways. The ones, you see in the most high-end designer works and hotels, is made by using wood routers. There is a special tip for the fluted design that you can get to achieve that wavy look on the wood. However, as I'm not a professional woodworker and I didn't want to buy a special router and waste tons of wood with my trial and error, I started looking for an alternative way of creating the look without spending tons of money and time on it.

The results of my pretty time-consuming research were to create the look using the dowels. Yes, I said dowels, the ones that kids create artsy-craftsy thingys in the art classes.

So here is the step by step guide of how we created the fluted drawers:


Step 1: Make the drawer boxes

  1. Take 3/4 inch pine S4S boards and cut (pre-thought height of drawer, ex. 5.5") the sides, fronts, and back of the drawers to form a square.The width of the drawer should be the width of the opening for the drawer minus the space the drawer slides take up (this can be found on the drawer slide instructions). The depth is determined by the drawer slide ex. 10". In our case, we wanted short drawers because of a half wall behind our built-in so we cut the drawer slides with an abrasive cut wheel. You can just get correct sized slides, we just already had long ones and didn't want to buy more.

  2. Once you have all the sides, take either 1/4" router bit or the table saw and cut the grooves in the bottom of the each drawer slide (you'll have to run it through twice to get 3/4" cut). The grooves should approx end up being 1/2 inches on one side on each plank, this is where the floor of the drawer will sit.

  3. Calculate the inside opening of your square made of plank ex. 8"wide x 8.5" deep. Add 1/2" to each to that and use that measurement to cut 1/4" plywood for the drawer floor ex. 9" x 9.5".

  4. Using wood glue and trim nailer, assemble your drawer by inserting the 1/4" plywood into the rips you made earlier and joining the planks with wood glue and a trim nailer.

Drawers without the fluted facings.

Step 2: Make the drawer facings

  1. To make the face, cut a sheet of 1/4" plywood the size of the drawer opening minus 1/6" on all four sides (total of 1/8" from the total width and height).

  2. Cut 1/4 inch dowels to the height of your drawer face and coat the face with wood glue and simply place the dowels onto the glue side by side and allow to dry overnight.


I put a few pieces of scrap wood around the wood to keep the dowels aligned and straight.
This is how the drawer facing looked before we put the trim on.

3. Complete the drawer face by buying half round trim or ripping a larger dowel.We used 1/2 inch dowel and cut in half with the table saw. Use this profile to border the face by cutting 45-degree angles on each end and gluing them to the face.

4. At this point, you should have a drawer. If you haven't already installed your drawer slide, you may now follow the drawer slide instructions to install the box into your built-in, . The only reason I'm not breaking this down is that there is a large variety and each one of them has different instalation instructions. So, I would suggest to just follow the manual.


5. To finish it up, add the knobs. I bought 2x6 pack knobs from amazon and painted with rub and buff paint.




The materials we used:

  1. 3/4-in x 16-in x 4-ft pineboards.

  2. 1/4 inch plywood.

  3. 1/4 and 1/2 inch dowels.

  4. Wood Glue.

  5. Nails for the nail gun.

  6. Knobs

  7. Drawer Slides.

Tools that we used:

  1. Mitter Saw.

  2. Router

  3. Nailgun

  4. Wood Clamps.

  5. Abrasive cut wheel.




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