Installing Cabinet Drawer Faces

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After reading this, you will have the skills and methods to install cabinet drawer faces more easily. When switching out cupboard doors, installing the kitchen cabinet fronts will be very time-consuming and intricately demanding. It is a skill that will require the use of common sense and good carpentry or handyman skills.

This is going to be a very challenging task for you to do as well as difficult for me to explain. You will have a couple of options here to select from.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  1. Double-face foam mirror tape that is one eight of an inch thick
  2. Three eights drill bit
  3. Three sixteenths drill bit
  4. Electric or cordless drill
  5. Fastening screws and large washers bigger than the three eights hole you will be drilling
  6. Driver bits
  7. 2 Large clamps
  8. Hammer
  9. Driver drill bits for fastening the screws
Installing with Drawer Spacers

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Your first order of business is to get the kitchen cabinet doors perfectly adjusted prior to changing out the drawer faces. The position of the doors will determine the alignment of the drawer face. DO NOT install any faces on the drawers unless the doors are perfectly adjusted.

Then, make proper sized spacers to set on-top of the doors that the drawer fronts will rest on while you are installing them. These spacers determine the margin distance between the doors and the drawer front edges. Just make two of them about 1” x 3” long x (however big the margin will be). There’s no rule of thumb here other than the margin size should be accurate.

Double Face Tape Method
If you have a four sided drawer that is separate from the actual decorative drawer face, use double face foam tape to adhere the new front temporarily to the drawer.

This tape can be purchased at any hardware store. It’s about one eight of an inch thick and is made out of foam. The tape is generally used for installing mirrors, but it works great for fastening cabinet drawer faces.

  • Place the spacers on-top of the base cabinet door where you will be fastening the drawer face
  • Adhere two pieces of tape vertically on the right and left sides of the drawer
  • Set the drawer on-top of the cabinet door, but do not stick it
  • Align it properly, push and hold it firmly in position, open the cupboard door, reach underneath and push the drawer from the back so that it adheres to the decorative face piece. Apply plenty of pressure.
  • Clamp the front to the actual drawer and fasten it with the proper length screws.

Measuring Method
The other method just involves using common sense and measuring the distances from the kitchen doors in relation to where you want the drawer face to be. This tutorial is also intended for installing a kitchen cabinet drawer face on a four sided drawer.

  1. Mark the backside of the drawer face with pencil in the location that the drawer will be in relation to the front.
  2. Pre-drill two holes in the drawer that are three eights of an inch wide.
  3. Place the decorative drawer face face down on a well-padded towel.
  4. Set the cabinet drawer on-top of the decorative face and align it with the pencil marks.
  5. Using two screws and the large washers, fasten the face to the drawer. Because the 3/8” holes you drilled are larger than the screw shank thickness, you will be able to tap the drawer face with the rubber butt of the hammer left-to-right or up-and-down to adjust it into perfect position.
  6. Once it is aligned correctly, clamp the face to the drawer and attach two final lock-down screws.

Three Sided Metal Drawers

Installing Drawer Face on Metal Sides

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Some drawers are built with four sides and then the decorative front is a fifth piece. Other drawer styles are fabricated with three sides and the decorative face is the fourth piece.

If you have a three sided application, the metal brackets that get installed on the drawer front should always be mounted in the same position on every front. So, in other words, once you determine where the brackets get installed on one of the faces, the locations will be the same for all of the drawer faces.

An optional method is seen in the photo illustration above.

  • Note: The double face tape used in the image is not 1/8″ thick. For this application you will use thinner double sticky tape.

Installing Drawer Faces on a Drawer Stack

First, take all of the drawers out of the base cabinet. Start by installing the bottom drawer face and work your way to the top. Use spacers as you stack the front on-top of the previously installed panel. You can use the double face tape and clamps as you go along.

Installing kitchen cabinet doors
and  fronts will greatly enhance the beauty of your kitchen. When switching or changing the drawer faces, DO NOT get in any hurry at all. Be very precise with your measurements and your thoughts. This is not time for guess work or trial and error. Think through every step that you are going to be doing before you drill or screw anything at all. There’s nothing worse than drilling or screwing a screw all the way through a decorative kitchen cabinet drawer front during the installation process.

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