While there are many types of drawer slides one can purchase or make, I always seem to gravitate back to these full-extension ball bearing slides. I find I never have to worry about the drawer tipping out or binding the way I do with other systems. With that said, they are also extremely easy to install. If you haven’t already, check out our easy DIY Drawer tutorial (hint: no router or table saw required!), and then follow along below to get the drawer installed and sliding smoothly.

Note: Measurements and installation are tailored to our Midcentury Nightstand tutorial.


Cost: $12

Time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: Easy. With a couple careful measurements, these slides screw right into place.

Tape Measure


Ruler or Straightedge


(1) Set of two Ball Bearing Full-Extension Drawer Slides sized to the inside depth of the cabinet.

Note: If you’re building a drawer using our tutorial, we’ll be using 14-inch slides.





1. Mark the Placement of the Slides


Measuring from the inside floor of the cabinet, mark a height of 8¼ inches near the front and back of each side wall. Using the marks and a straightedge, draw a level line across the wall on each inside wall of the cabinet. Make a mark on each line that’s 7/8 inch from the front edge of the cabinet. This allows room for the thickness of the drawer front plus an 1/8-inch inset.
How-to-Install-Drawer-Slides---Step-1-copy copy

www.Build-Basic.com2. Position the Slides


Align the bottom edge of the first slide above the line, as shown. Position the front edge of the slide behind the mark near the face of the cabinet.


3. Install the Slides


Holding the slide firmly in place, push the extension forward until both sets of screw holes are visible. Using a drill/driver, drill shallow pilot holes in one screw hole near the front and back of the slide. Using the screws provided, mount the slide to the inside of the cabinet. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to mount the second drawer slide on the opposite side of the cabinet.


4. Mark the Drawer Sides


Using a tape measure, mark the center of the height of the drawer box on its outer side walls. (Note: this drawer is shown without the drawer face, which will be installed at the end of this tutorial.) Using a straightedge, mark a horizontal line along the outside of the drawer box on each side.


5. Position the Slide Extension


Remove the detachable section of each drawer slides, and place it on the corresponding drawer side. Position the slides so that they are centered on their corresponding line and flush with the face of the drawer box, as shown.


6. Attach the Slides to the Drawer


Using a drill/driver and the screws provided with the drawer slides, mount the slide to the drawer.


7. Insert the Drawer


Hold the drawer level in front of the cabinet. Place the ends of the slides attached to the drawers into the tracks inside the cabinet. Pressing evenly on each side of the drawer, slide the drawer into place. The first slide inward can sometimes push a bit tougher, but once the tracks are engaged, the drawer should slide back out and in smoothly.


8. Position the Drawer Face


Apply wood glue to the face of the drawer box. With the drawer closed, position the drawer face with equal gaps along the top and side edges. Using clamps, secure the drawer face against the drawer box.


9. Attach the Drawer Face


Carefully slide the drawer open, and then drive 1-inch screws through the holes in the drawer box and into the backside of the drawer face to secure it in place.






25 thoughts on “How to Install Drawer Slides

  1. Eileen

    My fear of drawer slides has seriously hampered me from progressing with my building skills. Your tutorial makes it seem so easy, I think I’m ready to give it a try. Thank you!


  2. Jane

    So enjoyed reading your instructions on making drawers. I do a lot of home 🏠 improvements, but do not have a table saw, chop saw or any fancy building tools. Just the average circ. Saw, drill/ driver. Etc. I am presently redoing my our bath 🛀/ shower. It all started with a small leak. Lol. Needless to say there was no cartridge to pop out n replace.(House was built in 72) . It was all one piece. One thing lead to another, was only going to replace the caulk, found nasty mold and crumbling drywall. You know how it is I’m sure. New plumbing, wallboard is done, just finished the waterproofing, and tomarrow the tile. Yada, yada, yada. I will be painting 🎨 the tub, replacing the toilet 🚽. I really want to build the sink cabinet myself, with a few drawers maybe on the bottom. I have yet to try actually building anything myself, although, a few pieces in my home 🏠 were built by my dad. So hopefully with your tips, I’ll suceed. I will def send you pics if you like so you can put yourself on the back for helping with your page.
    2 summers ago I refused our concrete steps and walk 🚶 with patio pavers, and faux brick on the fronts of the steps. I used a large clamp like the one’s in your pic, as my straight edge. I don’t have a wet saw, I used a cheap cement saw from H. F. and it worked out well. I can send b4 and afters of that if you’d like to see them.
    Sorry so long winded. Just so happy 😄 to have found your site with such easy to follow instructions.
    Thanks, Very young, Gramma of 8


  3. groceryshrink

    I’m so glad I found you. I did a google search for how to build a drawer and yours was the easiest to follow. Now I’m just staying to click around and see what other goodies you have :). I have a quick question, I’m custom fitting a bench with two drawers in the bottom into a closet. How much space do you allow between the drawer and the frame to make room for the slide hardware? Angela @groceryshrink.com


    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Angela,
      Sorry it has taken me so long to respond! The spacing depends on the slides you choose, but most of the ball-bearing, full-extension drawer slides require a 1/2-inch gap between the drawer and frame on each side. This means the width of the drawer would be a total of 1-inch less than the width of the opening, but definitely check your slides to be sure. Hope this helps!! –Jenn


  4. javier arreola govea

    muchas gracias por las instrucsiones porque es la primera bes que boy a aser cajones no se escrevir muy bien el ingles pero todo les entendi lo unico que no se es cuanta tolerancia se debe de dejar entre el cajon y el gavienete gracias thanks for that information imgoint tu built my work cabinets on my garage but i do not have a crew howmach clerance i supos to leave betwing the drowers and the cabinet thank you sorry for my espeling javier arreola octuber 11 20015


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