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. Gary Allman

    Thank you. I’ve been sitting on a desk drawer project for a few months because I bought drawer sliders and they came with no information / instructions. I have been struggling to work out how to fit them ever since they arrived.

    The very obvious point #5, gave me the prompt to go back and check the sliders for some sort of mechanism to detach the section that fits to the drawer. Sure enough there was one … D’oh!


    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Colleen,

      I can’t speak for all drawer slides, but the slides I used for this tutorial required 1/2-inch clearance each, so the width of the drawer had to be a total of 1 inch less than the width of the opening. Hope this helps! –Jenn


  2. Ray Moynagh

    With different height for different drawers in different cabinets, what is the best and easiest way TD calculate the distance from the bottom of the cabinet for the first slider installation?


  3. Pat Nolan

    I like your website and I like what you do. However, when I came to your page from Pinterest for the drawer slide page, the website wouldn’t let me view the page without signing up. I worked around it, but please fix the sign-up page so that we can “x” out of it. Didn’t see an “x”. Thank you.


    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Pat,
      I’m so sorry that happened! The X on the sign-up page is on the upper right corner, but can be difficult to see—especially on mobile. Again, my apologies for the inconvenience! I’m glad you were still able to view the tutorial!



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