how to install drawer slides on old drawers

How to Install Drawer Slides on Your Old Drawers – 5 Easy Steps (with Pictures)

When you are fond of buying old and vintage drawers from a yard sale or any thrift shop, you ought to come across broken drawer slides. The furniture may look unscathed on the outside, but there could be rusty drawer slides on the inside. With quick work, it won’t take much to repair and replace the old slides. 

Begin your DIY project on how to install drawer slides on old drawers. You will find different ideas to restore all your vintage finds. It can be the beginning of your fascination with refurbishing old furniture. But, of course, before you get ahead of yourself, learn first the ways on how to install drawer slides. 

What Do You Need? 

You don’t have to feel frustrated with your sagging old drawers. You won’t have to constantly take too much effort in opening and closing your drawers. Give yourself and the old drawers the convenience of a new drawer slide. 

You will need the help of the following tools: 

  • Drill 
  • Circular Saw 
  • Hammer
  • Mallet 
  • Chisel 
  • Level 
  • Wood clamps
  • Measuring tape

Additionally, you will need different supplies to install the drawer slides on your old drawers. You will need a trip to your local hardware store to get the following items. 

  • 1-inch wood screws
  • 1 ½ inches wood screws
  • ½ plywood sheet
  • 1 x 3 wood boards
  • 1-inch nails 

Metal Drawer slides

Use the metal slide drawer. This type is durable and will last longer than other ones. You can choose stainless steel, so you won’t have to deal with rusty drawer slides in the future. Though you still need to do proper maintenance to preserve their excellent quality. 

Before You Start 

Before getting started, find a suitable place to do the work. It may take time, especially if you don’t do this fixing all the time. Make sure you are in a safe and dry working space. You will be using tools and dealing with old wood drawers. Thus, provide yourself a spacious working area where you can quickly move and deal with your tools and supplies. 

It is necessary to clean your old furniture first, whether it is a dresser or a vanity. Clean the wooden furniture first before you start installing the drawer slides. You wouldn’t want to deal with all the dirt and dust that clings to the old drawers. 

Plus, you may see a couple of bugs and other insects making a home inside the drawers. So, take time to clean and dust everything before starting. 

You can put all your supplies near your working space. It is easier to reach out to them when necessary. Ask for extra help if you can. You will need help in installing these drawer slides. The extra hand will make it easier to do the job. 

How to Install Drawer Slides on Your Old Drawers 

Start the make-over of your old drawers by following these uncomplicated steps in replacing and installing new drawer slides on your old drawers.

1. Take the Previous Slides Off 

How to remove the drawer 150lb - YouTube

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Chances are, there are already old slides inside your old drawers. Start taking them off using a chisel together with your mallet. Be careful when handling for they can be dangerous. 

You will need to look and focus your work on the inside of the furniture. So, position yourself in a comfortable posture. You may need to remove several drawer slides, depending on the number of the installed ones. 

2. Dismantling Your Old Drawers

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You will need to dismantle your drawers to make way for the new metal drawer slides. Thus, dismantle the drawer and take off the bottom of the drawer. You have to pry the nails off using your trusted hammer. 

You can use the bottom later. However, if it doesn’t look good and is not in excellent condition, you have to throw it out and buy another set of wood for your bottom drawers. Then, you can use your circular saw to cut the sides off. 

3. Installing Your New Slide Spacer 

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Get a 1 x 3 wood board. You need to attach them where you will put your new drawer slide. To attach them securely, use a clamp. It is helpful, especially when you don’t have any help. Use the level to make sure the board gets attached straight. 

Then, using your 1 ½ wood screw to put the woodblock in place. To avoid any damages, use your drill first before inserting the screws. To get the right thickness of the wood, use a wood shim. Remember that each side should have a clearance space of ½ inches to ensure the fit of the slides. 

4. Rebuilding Your Drawers 

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Once you have the new slide spacers installed on the furniture, you can now rebuild your drawers. You can reconstruct your drawer first before installing the new drawer slide spacer, whichever you feel you are more comfortable doing. 

Now, measure the width of the new drawers. It is easy to know the accurate measures with the drawer spacers installed. Make sure the new drawers will fit well when you install the drawer slides on the furniture. 

5. Installing the New Metal Drawer Slide

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Now that your slide spacer and your drawers are ready, it is time to install your drawer slides. Mark the spots where the drawer slide will go inside the furniture. Attach it using the needed screws. Test it with the other part of the slide. It is before you install the other side of the drawer. 

Once you see it working well, mark the side of the drawer to know where to put the other side of the drawer slider. Attach those into the drawer using the added screws. There is no need to hurry. If you make mistakes, you can adjust the screw until your drawer slides efficiently. 

Check the position to see if both parts are straight. Level them accurately, so it is easier to position them right. You can get your drawers to slide smoothly. Once they do, you can now enjoy your new and smooth drawer slides. 


There are only a few steps when you learn how to install drawer slides on old drawers.  In general, they may look easy, but you will have a difficult time making sure everything gets leveled. It isn’t an easy task but is worthwhile. After all, using your drawers won’t be so frustrating anymore with your newly installed drawer slides. 

Now, you have a more comfortable and quicker pace opening and closing your old drawers with new drawer slides.



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