How to install handles on kitchen cabinets & drawers

With a little online help, most DIY homeowners are capable of installing their own kitchen cabinets, but incorrectly positioned or misaligned door and drawer handles can spoil the entire installation. Install your wall cabinet pulls within reach of all household members. Position upper and lower handles close to the edges to provide maximum leverage while opening and closing doors. For a finishing touch, use a cabinet hardware drilling template to line up your door and drawer handles in a perfectly straight line across the width of the kitchen.

Select the best door handle or single knob position. Place a kitchen hardware drilling template over the lower corner opposite the hinges on a wall cabinet door. Choose the most aesthetically pleasing position that supplies adequate leverage while opening and closing the door. Leave the hole or holes you intend to use open and mask off the unused holes on the template with strips of masking tape to avoid drilling in the wrong place.

Mount the correct size drill bit in a cordless drill/driver. Position the template across the corner of the door and use it as a guide. Place the drill bit in the selected hole and drill straight through the door while holding the drill at a right angle; apply moderate pressure to avoid splintering the back of the door as you drill through. Drill the second hole if you are fitting a two-screw door handle. Repeat by drilling the rest of the wall cabinet doors.

Reverse the template and place it over the upper corner opposite the hinges on a base cabinet door to duplicate the wall cabinet handle alignment. Use the template as a guide and drill through all the base cabinet doors.

Mark the centre line of all your drawer fronts with a steel measuring tape. Draw a vertical line through the centre of the drawer fronts, using a carpenter's square and an erasable felt-tipped pen.

Slot a drawer drilling template over the top of the drawer front. Line the centre notch on the template up with the centre line of the drawer front. Select the most aesthetically pleasing height for the knobs or handles and mask off the rest of the holes in the template with masking tape.

Drill through the drawer fronts by using the holes in the template as a guide.

Drill through both top corners of deep pot drawers the same way while using the door handle template as a guide.

Mount your hardware. Slip washers onto the hardware attachment screws, then insert the screws through the holes from the inside. If you're fitting knobs, thread them onto the screws and tighten the knobs firmly by hand while holding the screw head steady with a screwdriver. With two-screw handles, position the handle against the door and start the screw threads by hand. Tighten the screws with a screwdriver bit fitted to the drill/driver.

Things You'll Need

  • Kitchen hardware drilling template
  • Masking tape
  • Drill bit
  • Cordless drill/driver
  • Steel measuring tape
  • Carpenter's square
  • Erasable felt tipped pen
  • Drawer drilling template
  • Kitchen cabinet handles or knobs and attaching screws
  • Screwdriver
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About the Author

After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand and qualifying as an aircraft engineer, Ian Kelly joined a Kitchen remodeling company and qualified as a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD). Kelly then established an organization specializing in home improvement, including repair and maintenance of household appliances, garden equipment and lawn mowers.