I ran across these inexpensive nightstands on Amazon which I thought were pretty cool but they are ridiculously small and unusable in my opinion. I like nightstands that come up to a couple of inches below the top of the mattress. That way they're easy to access but you won't hit your head on the corners if you roll around in your sleep or other things you do in bed. So I decided to build my own based on the design.
I made one set to fit with the larger ClosetMaid 25066 Deep Fabric Drawer, and two with the smaller ClosetMaid 5878 Cubeicals Fabric Drawers which come in a variety of fun colors. I painted all of them black.
What You'll NeedI'm making 4 nightstands of 2 different sizes and these are the materials I used. If you're making different sizes or different quantities you may need more or less.
- 1 4' x 8' sheet of 3/4" Plywood. I would have normally made it out of PureBond Birch but the 3/4" Sandeply looked good this trip so I decided to give it a shot. If I was staining it instead of painting I'd go for a nicer PureBond plywood.
- 2 ClosetMaid 25066 Deep Fabric Drawers in Mocha
- 2 ClosetMaid 5878 Cubeicals Fabric Drawers in Purple or preferred color
- about 130' of Birch Edgebanding
- 48 Kreg 1-1/4" coarse threaded pocket hole screws
Tools & Supplies
- Table saw or Circular saw with guide. See my article on how to cut plywood with a circular saw
- Kreg pocket hole jig
- Edgebanding trimmer
- 150 grit sandpaper and a sanding block or sander
- Wood glue
- Combination square
- tape measure
- primer and paint or stain and other finishing tools and supplies.
Cut ListI broke out the cut list into 2 sets. One for the bigger nightstand that uses the deep storage drawer and one for the smaller nighstand that uses the Cubeical fabric drawer.
- (2) 20" x 17-1/2" Tops
- (4) 17" x 16" Shelves
- (8) 20-3/4" x 4" Legs
Small Cubeical Nightstand
- (2) 14-1/2" x 14-1/2" Tops
- (4) 11" x 11" Shelves
- (8) 20-3/4" x 3" Legs
Step 1: Cut out all parts from PlywoodI had an associate at Home Depot make the 4 cross cuts so I could fit the plywood in my cargo area instead of on my roof rack and I made the remaining cuts with my Milwaukee M18 Cordless Circular Saw and my Kreg Rip Cut Jig.
Step 2: Edgebanding and SandingSand the edges where the edge banding is going to be applied to get a nice smooth surface and, clean off any sawdust and start applying the edge banding along the edges shown bellow for the different parts. If you want to save a bit of edgebanding you can skip the backs of the tops and shelves.
Cut the edgebanding slightly larger than the edge and iron it on. Use a roller or scrap wood to press it down firmly after ironing. Let it cool a bit then trim it with a trimmer.
After edgebanding is a good time to sand all the pieces so they're ready for finishing after assembly.
Step 3: Drill Pocket Screw HolesOn the inside top of each leg drill 2 holes so the center of the hole is about 1/2" in from the side of each leg. On the bottom side of each shelf drill 2 holes at each of the 4 spots on the side of the shelf where the legs will connect. Make the holes about 1" from the edge and 1" from where the edge of the leg will be.
Step 4: Mark Shelf Locations on LegsFor each set of legs clamp them together and mark the location of where the tops of each of the shelves will go.Measure from the top to where the top of the shelf will be.
So for the Big nightstand legs I made lines at 6-1/2" and 15-3/4" from the top.
For the Cubeicle nightstand I measured 3-3/4" and 15" from the top to make my reference lines for the shelves.
Step 5: Temporarily Attach Legs to ShelfWe're going to start assembly by temporarily attaching one of the shelves so that it's flush with the top of the legs. This isn't going to be it's final position but it will make assembly easier.
It's easiest to do this upside down on a flat surface. Lay one of the shelves upside down and use screws to attach the legs in each corner as shown. Make sure the legs line up squarely with the shelf.
While you're at it also mark the center of the shelf on each of the edges and use a combination square to draw a line on the edge as shown.
Step 6: Attach Bottom ShelfI used some straight cut scrap wood and quick clamps to hold the bottom shelf in place (remember we're still working upside down. I set the scrap so that it was in line with the reference marks I made previously on the legs so the bottom shelf would line up properly. After checking to see everything looked okay. I applied some wood glue to where the pieces would join and screwed them together while holding them in position.
I don't always feel the need to use glue along with pocket hole joinery but for this design I thought a little extra strength would be helpful.
Step 7: Attach Legs to TopStart by measuring the center of each edge and marking lines on the underside of the top as shown.
Then place the leg assembly and line up the centermarks on the edge of the side with the reference marks you just drew on the top.
Once you have all the legs screwed down, unscrew the shelf that we attached temporarily and clean up any glue that spilled over on all pieces using a slightly damp rag.
You may want to fill the temporary screw holes with wood filler and sand it down after it dries.
Step 8: Attach Top ShelfThe final step of assembly is to attach the top shelf to it's actual location instead of just using it to hold the legs in place.
Just like we did for the bottom shelf, use some straight scrap pieces aligned with the reference marks we made on the legs held with clamps to provide a space for you to rest the shelf.
After checking to see everything looks okay, remove the shelf, apply some glue where the shelf meets the leg and screw the shelf to the legs. Remove the clamps and clean up any glue that oozed out with a damp rag.
Step 9: FinishingClean off any sawdust and finish the nighstands as you'd like. I chose to prime and paint mine black but you could also stain and apply polyurethane instead. Follow the directions of the finishing materials you choose.
I wanted to paint mine black. I primed with a water based primer then sanded down the primer with 150 grit sandpaper lightly because water based primers raise the grain. Cleaned up the sanding dust after it had dried and followed with 2 coats of black paint.
Once the paint dries the drawers simply unfold and slide into place.