#ModularClosetDIYs: Painted Drawer Fronts

#ModularClosetDIYs: Painted Drawer Fronts

The Perfect DIY Closet Weapon

Working for Modular Closets, the best characteristic I’ve found in our closets is: They’re ALL PLYWOOD (I can't stand particle board & wire shelving has been making me ill). We make closet shelf, drawer, tall hanging & double hanging units in different sizes in easy to assemble kits made out of 3/4" plywood. 

So when I’m looking for an easy to assemble closet organizer kit that’s sturdy but cheap enough that I could do as I please with them without feeling like I'm ruining it- I look no further.

My project was to accent the Drawers Unit with a cool pattern by painting the fronts a geometric line pattern.

Here's how they arrive. Here's a link to the Modular Closet Drawers Unit- comes in 18", 24" or 30" wide http://www.modularclosets.com/collections/closet-modules/products/drawer-unit. They cost $232 for the plywood 24"w Drawer kit, all included.

Modular Closet drawers unit, 24" wide x 14" Deep x 36" tall


Plywood closet kit, finally-

Here's a look at the 3/4" plywood boards each closet kit is made of.



My son helped me lay out the parts.

The unboxing.

I laid out all the parts as indicated- 3/4" Plywood upper, side & lower panels for the Drawer Unit frame, 3" cross panels to support the Drawer boxes, 3" back hanging rails which are used to hang the Drawer unit to the wall. the drawer boxes come with side, back & thinner under-panels. The Drawer fronts are the glossy finished panels. All the plywood is covered with a matching white melamine finish veneer, all hardware included. & easy assembly instructions so I still feel like a DIY bada** ;)

Tools I used


Phillips Screwdriver, Mallet, bag of modular closet hardware including 5/8” Screw, cam posts, cam locks & wooden dowels to attach the completed Drawer unit to a matching Shelf Unit on top of it (Modular Closets calls this a stack of Shelves & Drawers), long screws for wall install (not included), Assembly instructions, my boy's toy drill

Pre-drilled holes for Cam Posts


I used a regular phillips screwdriver to screw 11 of the cam posts into the 11 pre-drilled holes in the 2 side panels of the outer drawer unit frame as indicated on the instructions- I promise you, I set my kid up to screw in one of these posts with a real screwdriver, he was totally able to do it!

Double secure

I inserted the top & bottom panels by aligning the pre-inserted wood dowels to their slots; the cam posts slide into the cam lock slots in which I had placed the included metal cam locks. I love the cam lock plus wood dowels that give the plywood a solid secure fastening. 

Drawer slides


Had some difficulty with these- till I found this easy latch you push to slide out the female slide from male for easy access to screw either side onto their indicated panel- male slide on the drawer boxes; female on the inside of the drawer unit frame to hold the drawers. I used my Phillips screwdriver & 2 of the included 5/8” Screws for each drawer slide 

Quick tip: Drawer slides first!

For installing the drawer slides, I put in the drawer slides first BEFORE completing the assembly of the whole drawer unit outer frame- even though the instructions make it sound like you do them after- much easier to install while it's still open, like so. This dowels & cam posts I screwed into the long side panel with the drawer slides on it align &  go down right on top of those back and lower panels (vertical) to complete the Drawer Unit frame. 

The Drawer boxes assemble with the same system- cam posts & cam locks, as indicated in the instructions.

Knob holes

Here's looking at the inside of one of my assembled Drawer boxes. They include 3 Predrilled holes for knobs- One in the center for a single knob, & 2 holes around 96 mm from center to center for a long drawer pull. I made a single hole for my round-detail antiqued brass knobs I bought from Lowes, but I also drove 2 holes through for longer, chrome pulls I plan to use later. I used a power screw driver & long 2" screw to drive straight through to the front of the drawer box. 

Drawer units ready to paint in the backyard

After assembling the 4 included drawer boxes, I lined them up ready to paint the geometric pattern lines on. I used 3M painters tape & started by taping the edges of the drawer fronts to protect from dripping paint later. I made sure to line them up straight & precisely in the order as they'd be positioned in the Drawer frame. I wanted to make sure the lines I'd be making as an outline would continue straight across the divide between all the drawer units, so it had to be lined up perfectly. 

Chalk paint for Glossy drawer fronts

While we don’t generally advise painting our units, I went to Lowes & they said this Vaspar Chalk Finish Paint would do the trick. I went with black, but it comes in a variety of colors http://m.lowes.com/pd/Valspar-Chalky-Finish-Flat-Chalky-Latex-Interior-Paint-Actual-Net-Contents-29-fl-oz/50372914 . They gave me a 2" soft bristle polyester paint brush so the bristles wouldn't fall out while I painted.


Painter's Tape Lines

My wife & I taped down these painter's tape lines in the pattern we wanted- a geometric overlapping line pattern going across the front of all the drawers to have a cool effect when you open them. We measured 1 1/2" between each piece of tape to keep the lines straight & even. we started with 5 lines of tape across the upper left corner of our drawers.

Go Under Each Corner

Easiest way to make this shape was to start in one corner & go clockwise, taping so the adjacent corner came out under the next, like so. Another 5 lines with the effect that they go under the first 5 lines.

Here's the finished taping, pre-paint

5 lines on each corner for the pattern we wanted, with 5 lines in the middle to round it off.

Night Painting

Brushing even horizontal strokes across the exposed drawer fronts between the paint tape lines, I found the paint adhered very nicely to the glossy drawer fronts. I made sure to paint the exposed parts in between each drawer to make the effect look as if the line crossed over to the next drawer.

I pulled the tape off while the paint was still slightly wet, so it wouldn't peel the paint off. There were some leaks under the paint tape, but I'm going to go over the edges with a razor to make them straight. You can tell it has some imperfections, but we love it!

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