I was cruising the Restoration Hardware catalog looking for some ideas for my next build, when I ran into the Printmaker’s Series. I was immediately in love with the Printmaker’s Side Table and started working on a version of my own to use in the bedroom as a nightstand. This DIY 3 Drawer Nightstand is what I ended up with … and I’m in love!
I love the shape of this piece, the flush top and sides give it a sleek feel with clean lines. The nightstand is distressed just enough to give a rustic feel, but not enough to take away from the modern look.
You can make the DIY 3 Drawer Nightstand entirely out of wood and supplies from your local home center and with pocket hole joinery. This version of the rustic side table has a poplar frame for a little added durability paired with pine panels and drawers.
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Here is the cut list you’ll use to make the DIY 3 Drawer Nightstand.
Cut the 1×6’s and 2×2’s for the side panels, top and back. Make sure all the pieces are consistent in length and width to get tight fitting panels without gaps. Each side panel is made of (3) 19-7/8″ 1×6’s surrounded by a 16-1/2″ top and bottom 2×2 and (2) 26″ 2×2’s for the sides.
Prepare one of the side assemblies by drilling pocket holes in the 1×6’s and 2×2’s. I use a Kreg K4 to drill my pocket holes. If this jig is out of your price range, Kreg also has lower priced models like the Kreg R3 and the Kreg Mini which give you the exact same holes but just take a little longer to use.
Assemble the 1×6 side panels using 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws.
After joining the 1×6’s together, attach the top and bottom 2×2’s to the panel and then attach the side 2×2’s. I used a combination of the Kreg Face Clamp and the HART Quicktight C-Clamp to clamp together the different sized pieces during assembly.
Next assemble the back of the nightstand, which is exactly like the side assemblies you just made except it doesn’t have 2×2’s on the left and right.
Now connect the sides and the back together, clamping the pieces firmly together while assembling. Use a known right angle to check for square during assembly. I also used the Rockler Assembly Square with clamps on each side to hold the pieces together while attaching them.
The last major assembly to build and attach is the top. It uses (3) 16-1/2″ 1×6’s with only 16-1/2″ 2×2 frame on what will be the front of the panel.
Now we’ll get a little creative to attach the top. Flip over the nightstand and clamp everything firmly in place. Since you can’t effectively clamp the backside of the top, pull those dusty dumbbells or other heavy objects out and use them to hold the top down flush to the workbench.
Start by screwing the top to the back and then work your way down both sides and finish with attaching the front 2×2 frame.
The last pieces of the 3 Drawer nightstand to attach are the (3) remaining 16-1/2″ 2×2 front stretchers. Attach the bottom stretcher first and align it with the bottom 2×2’s of the sides.
To get perfect spacing on the remaining stretchers, cut 5-7/8″ spacers and use them to position the 2nd and 3rd stretcher. This sized opening will give your 1×6 drawer fronts a 1/16″ reveal on the top and bottom.
Now that the body of the 3 drawer nightstand is done, it’s time to make those 3 drawers. Before you start cutting the drawers, take the measurements of the drawer openings and adjust as necessary, leaving enough room for your drawer slides (1/2″ on each side for me).
Use 1×6’s for the draws and cut (6) side pieces at 16″ long and (3) fronts and (3) backs both at 14″ long. Then rip the (6) sides and (3) fronts down to 4-1/2″ in width and the (3) backs down to 4″ in width.
Now cut grooves in the sides and front to accept the bottom panel, the back pieces don’t get a groove since they will be ripped smaller later. The groove should be on the bottom of the inside face of each board and should be 1/4″ deep, 1/4″ wide, and 1/4″ up from the bottom.
Drill pocket holes in the outside face of the front and the back drawer pieces on both ends. Flip the pieces so the top edges are on the workbench and assemble the drawer with 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws. Make sure the grooves in the sides and front are all facing inward and are aligned where they meet in the corners. The Kreg Right Angle clamp is a lifesaver when building drawers.
When finished you have a U-shaped channel made by the grooves and open on the back. Cut a bottom panel to size so it will go into the channel and fully overlap the back piece. Slide the panel in and attach it to the back piece of the drawer with 3/4″ screws.
Here is a shot of my drawers all with views of (starting from the bottom) the front, back, and bottom back.
The last thing to attach are the drawer slides. Because the outside is flush with the frame, there is a 3/4″ difference between the frame and the inside of the panels.
Cut (6) 15-7/8″ cleats from the 1×4 (it’s okay they’re 1/8″ shorter than the drawer slide since it saves from using another board). Premount the drawer slides to 1×4 cleats and then attach the cleats to the inside of the panel. Using a jig to mount your slides will help with consistency.
To mount the cleats to the nightstand body, predrill 1/4″ holes in the corners of the cleats. Locate them at the height recommended in your drawer slides instructions.
Now you can mount the drawer extensions to the drawers using the same jig from before. You’ll need to mount them 3/4″ back from the front of the drawer to account for the false drawer front and 2×2 frame. I used a scrap block the same thickness as the drawer front as a spacer for this.
Now all that is left is the staining and attaching the drawer fronts. I went with a Kona stain from Rustoleum.
Install the drawers so you can measure and adjust the fronts as necessary.
Cut the false drawer fronts to size and attach them from the back with 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws through 5/16″ holes drill in the front of the drawer box. This gives you some wiggle room to adjust the drawer front just right for perfect reveals.
Before mounting the drawer pulls, I put 3 coats of General Finishes Arm-R-Seal wiping varnish on the outside and drawer fronts. It is a wonderful finish and easy to apply.
Lastly mount your drawer pulls by drilling through both the drawer box and the false front and use the long bolts the pulls came with.
That’s it! You’ve got yourself an awesome DIY 3 Drawer Nightstand for a fraction of the cost of buying it at the store.
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