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New Dresser Drawer Glides

I am excited to post about this today because I think alot of people will find this useful.

We bought two of these dressers about 3 years ago from JC Penney.  The kids have trashed worked their magic on the finish with markers and pencils and other sharp objects.  While this irritates me to no end, the bigger problem was with the cheap, crappy drawer glides that were already broken due to kids using the drawers for step stools.  We were going to get rid of the dressers and I even posted them on Craigslist. Luckily, they did not sell!

We decided we would switch out the crappy glides for some nicer ones and just live with the scratches.  It would really be pointless to get new dressers when I KNOW my kids would quickly ruin the finish on them as well.

Anyway, I took pics of the process of installing the new glides.  I hope I can explain it well enough for you to be able to do it too.  There are FAR too many dressers out there that come with these nasty useless things:

Here are the new glides we bought at Home Depot.  I think they were about $15 per pair.  Buy the length that most closely matches the side dimension of your drawers without going over.

See those beautiful little balls?  That is what makes these glide so smoothly!
Here are the tools you will need for this project:

 new glides, sharp pencil, accurate ruler, screw driver, drill with bit much smaller than screws, drafting triangles both large and small

Ready??  OK, here we go!
1. Remove all the crap from the drawers and remove the drawers from the dresser.  Duh!
2. Use a screw driver to take off the old glides from the drawers and the inside of the dresser.  Throw them in the trash because they are WORTHLESS!
3. Now, you need to figure out where you are going to mount the new glides.  I think you want the glide to be about in the middle of the side of the drawer.  It does not have to be perfectly in the middle.  What you want to do if find the middle, and then decide on an even measurement from the top of the drawer front.  So, if the middle of the side of the drawer is 4.694859" from the top of the drawer, you should go with 4.5", understand?  You want to make it easy for you to measure this over and over again on your drawers.
SO, my measurement was 4.5".  Measure 4.5" (or whatever yours is) from the top of the drawer face and put a mark with a sharp pencil.  Then use your triangle to make a line down the side of the drawer that is perpendicular to the face of the drawer.  Do this on each side of each drawer, making sure to measure from the top and measure accurately.  When you use a triangle to draw a line, you don't place the triangle right ON the tick mark you made.  If you do that, your line will be a pencil lead thickness AWAY from the actual measurement.  What you do is place the tip of your pencil on the tick mark and THEN place your triangle up against it and then draw your line.  (Remember, I have a degree in interior design so I know how to use these tools:))

pretend the pencil line isn't drawn yet and you can see the mark above 4.5 better:)

4. Take apart the glides.  There is a little black plastic lever that releases the 2 pieces from each other.  The smaller piece is going to attach to the sides of the drawers.  Place the piece on the line.  Make sure you have it going the right direction so that the end that slides into the big part first is at the back of the drawer.  Line up the glide so that the pencil line is perfectly centered in the screw holes.  Place it flush up against the face of the drawer.

Doesn't my husband have nice hands???
 5. Now, remove the glide and use your drill with a very fine drill bit to drill some pilot holes where you did your pencil marks.  There are probably more holes than you need.  It comes with 3 screws per glide, so place one at the very front, one at the very back, and one in the middle.  Drill some little holes so that it is easier to get your screws in.  Don't go all the way through the wood.
6. Place the glide back in place and use your screwdriver to drive in the screws.  Do this on all the drawer sides.  Good job!!  (NOTE:  You MIGHT want to complete ONE drawer first to make sure you are doing everything correctly.)
  Oops, no picture...image my husband screwing in the screws:)

7.  Now, its time for the dresser part.  Lay the dresser on its side so you can work on it easily.  Here's where its gonna get a little tricky.  You need to figure out where to put the big part of the glide on the inside of the dresser.  You don't want to use the same measurement because then the top of the drawer face will only come up to the top of the opening and it won't cover the hole well enough.  so, you need to see how big your drawer face is in relation to the opening.  So let's say the drawer face is 9" tall.  And let's say the opening is 8" tall.  This means you will have an inch to work with and could have 1/2" above the opening and 1/2" below it.  However, it is more likely that your opening would be like 8.5" or 8.75", which gives you less room to work with.  Mine was very tight, so I only gave myself a 1/8" difference in the measurement so the drawer face is 1/8" higher than the opening for the drawer.  If I had made it bigger than that I was afraid the opening would show at the bottom of the drawer.  This is hard to explain.  I hope I am making sense.  So, for me, I measured down from the top of the opening 4 3/8" (or 4 1/2" MINUS 1/8")  and made a mark.  You will have to determine what yours needs to be.  If you can make it more like 1/4" that would be ideal.  For some strange reason the opening ended up just barely showing on the bottom drawer of both dressers.  Still baffled by that, but oh well.

Again, pretend the line isn't drawn yet and you can just see a little tick mark at 4 3/8"

8. Now, because a big triangle won't fit in this tight space, use your little triangle to start your line perpendicular to the front of the dresser.  Make sure the triangle is flush against the front edge.  You can place something rigid up against the edge like a hard book or your ruler so that you can be sure the triangle is flush.  Draw a line as long as your triangle, again making allowance for your pencil thickness.

9. Now, use your straight edged ruler to extend that line back into the dresser, making it as long as the glide.  Make sure to make allowance for your pencil lead.  Try to be very accurate.

10. Take the big part of the glide and place it on the line.  Place it so that the front of it (or the end that would fit back with the parts you put on the drawers) is flush with the front edge of the dresser.  Now, open it up so that you can get to the screw holes.  Meaning, extend the inner piece out.  If you have it the right direction it will extend towards the front of the dresser and not the back.  Center the pencil lines on the screw holes.  Mark them with your pencil.

 11.  Remove the glide and use your drill to drill pilot holes just like before.  Be EXTRA careful not to go too deep or you will drill out to the side of your dresser where it will be seen.

See how the glide is opened?
12. Now, put the glide back in place and screw in your screws.  Push the glides back in so they aren't extended anymore. Repeat these steps for every opening and then flip the dresser over and do it again on the other side.  Be sure to measure from the TOP of the opening each time!

13. Place your dresser upright and slide your drawers in.  Congratulations!  You now have a dresser that actually functions!

14.  Replace all the crap back in the drawers:)

Do you have a decent dresser with crappy glides you would like to try this on?  Let me know how it goes!

I linked up to the DIY Showoff

The DIY Show Off


  1. WOW, I never thought about replacing the glides! What a good idea! I know I have a few dressers I need to do this to. Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

  2. I am SO doing this! We bought a nice lookin dresser at a model home furniture sale.. But the glides are useless! I have to giggle it to get the drawers to close! Thank you so much!

  3. Awesome! I, too, have a dresser that was my daughter's in my closet--and the glides are trashed! I also tried to sell it on CL--even GIVE it away--no takers so I kept it. I will try this. Thanks for the great tut.

  4. Great info...I have a dresser and the drawers need major repair! Simply Creations Link Party

  5. Wow! I have a dress that really needs this!
    Thanks for sharing that idea.
    I am a new follower from the Homemaker on a Dime party.

  6. Ooooh! I have a file cabinet that is in desperate need of this tutorial! Thanks!

  7. Great tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing this with us at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop :)

  8. Ha, I knew this was possible... I just had no idea how to do it. I just bought a beautiful dresser second-hand. Some of the glides are busted; others are missing. Thank you so much for sharing your idea and technique. I am going to make those dresser drawers glide like butter!


I appreciate comments so much! I love to hear your thoughts or answer your questions. Thank you for taking the time to comment! Some Firefox users have had trouble commenting. PLEASE email me at remarkablehome@gmail.com if you have any problem commenting. Thanks so much!

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