How to Build Custom Vanity Drawer Storage

Most bathroom vanities aren't very big, but that doesn't mean they're short on storage potential! We'll show you how to make plywood vanity drawer compartments for all of your bathroom necessities.

Bathroom with wooden storage cabinet

Getting ready in the morning doesn't have to be a hassle. With the right storage solutions—such as these pull-out drawers—all of your bathroom essentials can be within reach. 

We developed two types of drawer storage: a compartmentalized piece and a simple box. Each pull-out can be customized to fit your specific vanity drawer dimensions. We'll walk you through the basic building process for each and offer helpful tips that will make the job go smoother. 

Editor's Tip: This project requires a table saw. If you do not own this piece of equipment, consider renting one from a local hardware store or tool library.  

More smart (and simple!) bathroom storage tricks.

What You Need

  • Tape​ ​measure
  • Pencil
  • 1/2-inch ​birch​ ​plywood
  • Table​ ​saw
  • Sandpaper (medium and fine grits)
  • Tack cloth
  • Wood​ ​glue
  • Carpenters square
  • Clamps
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Polyurethane
  • Paintbrush
  • Drawer​ glides

How to Make a Compartmentalized Drawer Pull-Out

pull-out wooden storage container

Step 1: Measure and Cut Base

Measure the interior height, width, and length of the cabinet you are building a pull-out for. Write these measurements down. Then, transfer the length and width measurements to a piece of plywood. This will be the base of your pull-out. Cut the wood with a table saw. For reference, our base was 7-3/8x17 inches.

Get our ultimate guide to plywood and sheet stock.

Step 2: Measure and Cut Back

Next, use your height measurement from the first step to create the back of the pull-out. We suggest cutting the wood an inch or two shorter than the actual drawer—you'll want to leave enough room for a power strip cord. Transfer the width and reduced height measurements to plywood and cut out. For reference, our back piece was 7​-3/8​x​12-1/2 inches.

Step 3: Measure and Cut Sides

In order to form the compartments, you'll need two side rails and a front piece. The side rails exist to support the contents of your compartments, so they need to span roughly the entire length of the drawer. The front piece should sit flush against the edge of the bottom wood plank and the two side rails to form a rectangular cube. For reference, our inside side rail was 2x16 inches, our outside side rail was 6x16 inches, and our front piece was 6x3-1/2 inches. We left a gap between the inside rail and the bottom board to allow electrical cords to snake through to a mounted power strip.

Step 4: Measure and Cut Slots

You should now have enough pieces to create one long compartment. The next step is to build divider slots. You can have as many (or as few!) dividers as you'd like; we opted for four sections, so we needed three dividers. To determine how many compartments you'll need, plan which electrical items, like a hairdryer, straightener, or electric toothbrush, you'd like to store. Then determine the width you'll need for each item. The compartment pieces should all be cut the same size, and will have a height equal to that of your front piece and a width about an inch less than the front piece. For reference, our divider slots were 6x2-1/2 inches.

Step 5: Sand the Wood

Sand all edges of the plywood before assembling the box. The grit of sandpaper depends on the grade of your plywood, but you'll likely need to start with a medium grit and work your way up to a finer grit. Once smooth, wipe away sawdust with a tack cloth.

Step 6: Assemble the Box

Use wood glue and clamps to assemble the box. Start by laying the base on a level surface. Then attach the back piece, using a carpenter's square to ensure you have a 90-degree angle. Let dry, then drill together with screws. Align the side rails with the front piece, as shown, then glue and attach. Let dry in clamps before drilling together with screws. Space the slots at desired increments, then repeat the process of gluing, clamping, and screwing together.

Learn how to use four different types of wood clamps.

Step 7: Add Finishing Touches

Give the box a protective finish with a coat of polyurethane and let dry. Then install drawer glides onto the bottom of the cabinet and the pull-out box according to manufacturer's instructions. Align the glides and push the pull-out box into place.

Related: How to install soft-close drawer slides.

How to Make a Simple Drawer Pull-Out

organized bathroom vanity drawer

Step 1: Measure and Cut Base

Measure and record the interior height, width, and length of the cabinet you are building a pull-out for. Then transfer the length and width measurements to a piece of plywood. This will be the base of your pull-out. Cut with a table saw. For reference, our base was 7-3/8x17 inches.

Step 2: Measure and Cut Front and Back

Next, use your height measurement from the first step to create the front and back of the pull-out. This measurement will determine the depth of the finished pull-out, so consider what you'd like to store in the drawer and the storage containers you might use within. A deep drawer will have a height only a few inches less than the height of the cabinet, while a shallow drawer will have a height roughly half of the cabinet's initial height. Once you've picked measurements, transfer them to plywood and cut out. For reference, our front and back pieces were both 4x7-3/8 inches.

Step 3: Measure and Cut Sides

For the sides, you'll need pieces that span roughly the entire length of the cabinet. The heights will need to match the height determined in step two for the front and back. Once you've picked measurements, transfer them to plywood and cut out.

Step 4: Sand and Assemble

Sand all edges of the plywood before assembling the box. The grit of sandpaper depends on the grade of your plywood, but you'll likely need to start with a medium grit and work your way up to a fine grit. Wipe clean with a tack cloth. Use wood glue and clamps to assemble the box. Start by laying the base on a level surface. Then attach the back, front, and side pieces each at a 90-degree angle on top of the base. Use a carpenters square to ensure proper alignment. Once dry, drill together with screws.

Learn how to use a manual sanding block.

Step 5: Add Finishing Touches

Give the box a protective finish with a coat of polyurethane. Let dry. Then install drawer glides onto both the bottom of the cabinet and the pull-out box according to manufacturer's instructions. Align the glides and push the pull-out box into place.

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