White floating nightstands with oak drawer fronts

these are our mid century floating nightstands made out of white painted MDF with oak wood drawer fronts

We built this set of two mid century white floating nightstands to show in detail how we made them look so nice. The first design we tried was almost identical as this one.

another design of this type of mid century white floating nightstand
The old white floating nightstand

The difference was that the drawer fronts are now inset, behind the routed edges of the boxes.

We also made a video to show more details about how we built them:

White mid century floating nightstands with oak wood drawer fronts

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We divided the process in three steps, one for each main elements:

Building the simple MDF boxes for the floating nightstands

The first step was to build the boxes out of MDF boards and then get them to the final shape.

1. We cut the MDF boards to the required dimensions and we built two simple boxes out of them. We used water based PVA adhesive.

we started the building of the white floating nightstands by gluing two simple MDF boxes
Building the simple MDF boxes

We used F clamps to tighten the boards together. We took care to have 90 degrees angles at the corners. We checked the angle with a square and by measuring the diagonals, which have to be equal.

we verified that the MDF boxes had 90 degrees angles by measuring the diagonals which must have the same length
Verifying the 90 degrees angles

2. To get the rounded shape of the MDF boxes, we added extra support at the corners. We cut some 1,8 cm by 1,8 cm MDF strips with their length equal to the depth of the nightstands. We glued them by using one C clamp.

we glued up the MDF strips in order to round the inner and the outer corners of the floating nightstands
Gluing and tightening the MDF strips

We made sure the strips were very well pressed against the walls along their entire length, so we used other scrap strips to tighten them better in the middle.

we tightened very well the MDF strips at the ends and in the middle
Gluing and tightening the MDF strips

3. We increased the strength of the corners, by using wooden dowels:

  • we cut an 8 mm diameter round bar into a lot of short pieces
  • we drilled 8 mm holes. The holes had to pass through both walls and the reinforcing strip
  • we applied water based adhesive in and around the holes
  • we put in the wooden dowels, making sure to cover them as much as possible with glue
  • in the end we cut the dowels with a hand saw
we used wooden dowels to increase the strength of the mid century floating nightstands corners
Increasing the strength of the nightstands corners

4. Before rounding the corners, we drew the shape on each corner, both for the inner corner and for the outer corner.

we draw the inner and the outer round corners of the mid century floating nightstands
Drawing the inner and the outer round corners

5. For rounding the outer corners:

  • we used an electric hand plane to rough cut the corners. We took care not to exceed the shape drawn earlier
  • we sanded using the belt sander until we got to the desired roundness of the corner
  • we used the sheet sander to further smooth the surface
we rounded the outer corners by using the electric hand plane, the belt sander and the sheet sander
Rounding the outer corners

6. For rounding the inner corners:

  • we used a chisel to cut as much as possible of the MDF strips
  • we rounded the inner corners using a thin belt sander
  • then we sanded each corner by hand using 120 grit sandpaper and a round piece of wood as support
by using a mini belt sander we rounded the inner corners of the mid century floating nightstands\
The rounded inner corners

7. When all the corners were rounded we started to route the edges of the nightstands:

  • for the front edges we used a 45 degrees chamfer and bevel router bit (it was perfect to precisely follow the curved corners). We used some 18 mm mdf boards to add extra support for the router. This way it was easier to keep it perpendicular to the edges.
in order to route the front edges of the white floating nightstands we used a 45 degrees chamfer and beveled router bit
The 45 degrees chamfer and beveled router bit
we used a slot cutter router bit to route the back edge of the floating nightstands
The slot cutter router bit used for the back edges of the floating nightstands

8. We cut the plywood for the back of the nightstands to size and we rounded the corners using the belt sander clamped to the table.

we rounded the corners of the back in order to match the edges of the floating nightstands
Rounding the corners of the plywood back

9. We secured the back of the nightstands:

  • we applied the water based adhesive in the routed chamfer
  • we placed the plywood in it’s final position
  • we drilled the holes for the wooden dowels
  • we hammered the wooden dowels in place
  • we cut the dowels with a hand saw
we secured the back of the nightstands by using water based adhesive and wooden dowels
Securing the back of the floating nightstands

10. The next step was to sand the boxes very well:

  • we hand sanded the routed edges. For the rounded corners we used the same piece of round wooden bar as support for the sandpaper
  • we also hand sanded the sharp edges
  • we sanded the back of the nightstands using the belt sander

After all these steps, the MDF boxes were ready for applying the water based primer and the water based paint.

The MDF drawers of the mid century floating nightstands

For the drawers we also used MDF boards. This time we used 12 mm thick boards. We cut four pieces for the bottoms of the drawers and some strips for the sides.

For building the drawers:

  • we drilled holes with a 3 mm drill
  • we countersunk them
  • we applied water based adhesive on the edges
  • we secured the sides with 4 cm by 4 mm screws
we built the drawers for the floating nightstands out of 12 mm thickness MDF boards
The MDF drawers

Preparing the drawer boxes for painting:

  • we filled the holes with two parts wood putty
  • after the putty dried, we sanded the excess using the belt sander
  • we sanded all the edges flush, also using the belt sander
  • we hand sanded the sharp edges of the drawer boxes

This was the quickest way to build the drawers. After painting the drawers, the surfaces become very smooth.

we used two components polyurethane putty to cover the screw heads used to build the drawers
Two parts putty for filling the holes and cover the screw heads

Oak wood drawer fronts for the two mid century nightstands

For the drawer fronts we used oak. We chose a beautiful oak plank, wide enough to make the fronts out of one piece:

  • we cut the board into 4 shorter pieces
  • we planed and squared all the faces
  • we cut them to the required size
  • we rounded two corners of each one to match the rounded edges of the nightstands
the two rounded corners of the oak wood drawer fronts match the rounded inner corners of the white floating nightstands
The oak wood drawer fronts with two rounded corners

We used a finger pull router bit to route the edges of the drawer fronts.

the finger pull router bit we used for routing the pulls of the wood and MDF drawer fronts or furniture doors
The finger pull router bit

To make sure all the pulls have the same length and depth, we built a simple router template out of some MDF scraps.

we used a simple routing jig in order to route quickly the pulls of the white floating nightstands
The simple routing jig

The final step was was to sand them:

  • we sanded the faces and the edges using the belt sander and 150 grit sandpaper
  • we hand sanded the rounded corners, the end grain edges and the sharp edges
  • we used the mini belt sander to sand the routed pulls
  • we hand sanded the routed chamfers and their edges
  • for the hard to sand areas we used the multitool
  • in the end we filled the knots with two parts putty and we sanded again the excess
we used two components polyurethane filler to fille the knots and other imperfections of the oak wood
The two components filler

All the components of these mid century floating nightstands being ready, we applied the water based primer, the water based varnish (for the drawer fronts) and white water based paint (for the MDF boxes and the drawer boxes). We sanded each piece with 320 grit sandpaper after each layer applied:

  • the oak wood drawer fronts
we used water based primer and varnish for the finish of the oak wood fronts
Applying the water based primer and varnish
  • the MDF drawers
we painted the MDF drawers with white water based painted
Painting the MDF drawers
  • the MDF boxes
we painted the inside of the MDF boxes and the routed edges with white water based paint
Painting the inside of the MDF boxes
we painted the outside surfaces of the rounded corners floating nightstands
Painting the outside of the MDF boxes

The final result, after installing the soft close slides and the fronts:

these are our mid century floating nightstands made out of white painted MDF with oak wood drawer fronts
Mid century floating nightstands
the white floating nightstands made out of painted MDF and oak wood
White floating nightstands
this is the way the mid century floating nightstand looks like with an open drawer
Our modern mid century floating nightstands

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