[DIY] How to Fit a Magnet in the Kitchen Drawer – My Top Tips!
Magnetic latches are a great way to keep cabinets closed, but can be tricky to install for drawers. Unlike cabinets, drawers offer little clearance to fit a bulky magnetic latch.
How can you fit a magnet in the kitchen drawer? If you don’t have enough space between your drawer’s sidewall and framework, then you can fit the latch inside the drawer and attach to the top framework. For latches that don’t line up, use a bracket and/or spacer.
Whether used as a child lock or simply as a way to ensure drawers stay closed, magnetic latches can be a great way to add some extra functionality to your kitchen. When clearance is an issue for fitting your magnetic latch, there’s a few different options you have.
Fitting a Magnet Inside the Kitchen Drawer
Sometimes drawers are designed in such a way that mounting a magnet on the side is just not going to happen. The sidewall of the drawer might be high enough that you can’t reach around, or the space on the backside of your cabinet may just be too narrow.
You can usually still manage to attach a magnetic latch, however, if you’re willing to sacrifice a little bit of drawer space.
With your drawer open, check the top overhang of your cabinet framing. In most kitchen setups, there’ll be enough of a lip here for you to attach part of your latch.
There’s two ways to attach your magnetic latch. The easiest way is to attach the bulky part of your magnetic latch inside the drawer and then put the plate flush on the top framework. This will take up a corner of your drawer, but it’ll make the latch easily accessible.
Shallow drawers, however, may not be deep enough to fit a bulky latch. If this is the case, then you’re still not down for the count yet. Reach behind the cabinet framework at the front of your drawer to see how much space you have above. If there’s room and you can reach it, you can attach the bulky part here.
Types of jigs or extra hardware you might need to get your latch aligned correctly:
- A right angle bracket to rotate your latch in the needed direction.
- A spacer (can be as simple as a wooden block) so that the two parts of the magnetic latch can be flush.
Ultimately, the kind of setup you’ll need for your magnetic latch will depend on how much space you have in and around your drawer. If you really just don’t have enough room in your drawer, you may have to consider recessing magnets into the woodwork, using thinner magnets, or switching to a different latch setup.
Fitting a Magnetic Latch on the Side of a Kitchen Drawer
The best place to install a magnetic latch is on the drawer’s side. However, it’s often the case that the space between the drawer and the adjacent cabinetry wall is too small for most magnetic latches.
When the space isn’t too narrow, you absolutely should take advantage of your drawer’s clearance and install your magnetic latch according to the installation directions. If the space doesn’t have enough clearance, however, then it’s time to be creative.
If you don’t have enough room to attach your magnetic latch in the right orientation, a little bit of hardware trickery can buy you extra real estate. You can attach a corner brace (also called a right angle bracket) on the backside of the wood or plywood frame adjacent to your drawer.
Note that all of this is assuming you can access the backside of the cabinet frame. If your drawers can’t be pulled all the way out, then you may not be able to access this area on the side. You’ll have to use space inside your drawer if that’s the case.
Usually corner braces are best attached with screws. But if you’re unable to pull your kitchen drawers all the way out without having to disassemble them (yet still have enough clearance from the top to reach around to the side), then managing to screw in a corner brace (or even the magnetic latch itself) can prove difficult.
If you need to avoid screws, try using adhesive mounting tape. Be sure to get strong tape; too weak and it might fall off when you’re opening your drawer.
Even if the attachment of your child-lock to the right angle bracket is strong, if the adhesive connecting the bracket to the cabinet paneling is weak enough to fail then your lock won’t be effective.
Tricks to attach a magnetic latch when you have a narrow space between drawer and frame:
- Try attaching the bulky part on the backside of the cabinet’s frame.
- If you need more clearance or need to change angle, check to see if a corner brace will work.
- Use strong adhesive mounting tape instead of screws to attach parts in hard-to-reach areas.
If you can’t or don’t want to attach your magnetic latch on the outside edge of the drawer, then you still have options.
Why use a Kitchen Drawer Magnet?
There’s plenty of reasons to use a kitchen drawer magnet, all of which center around wanting closed drawers to stay closed. The degree to which the drawers need to remain shut depends on how serious your application is.
If you just want a quick fix to stop your old, poorly unaligned drawers from rolling open, then you won’t necessarily need your magnet to lock your drawers shut. On the other hand, if you’re installing a child-lock and are expecting your drawers to stay shut, then your latch absolutely cannot fail.
Reasons to use a magnet on your kitchen drawers:
- As a baby-proof latch.
- To keep old, loose drawers shut.
- For a drawer design that’s flush with the frame.
Using magnets to keep a door locked shut is popular when baby- and toddler-proofing your home. Some of the more common child-proofing drawer and cabinet magnets use a mechanical latching mechanism to hold the drawer shut, with an external magnet that’s brought to the mechanical components to trigger the latch to release.
These baby-proofing latches, however, are often bulky and can prove difficult to install in most smaller drawers. Magnetic latches that don’t need a lot of clearance are best for most drawers. However, you can still install bulky magnetic latches if you’re willing to get a little creative.
Another underused application for magnets on kitchen drawers is for style. Most drawers need a front face that’s larger than the frame to stop the drawer from rolling too far backwards. With powerful enough magnets, however, the drawer will stop right where the magnets on drawer and frame line up.
With magnets installed, you can fashion your drawers to be flush with your cabinet framing. A neat feature of drawers that close by magnet instead of with a large face is that they can close silently. No more banging drawers around the kitchen!
How can I align the two parts of my magnetic latch?
Most magnetic latches are designed to be flush with the edge of cabinets. Mark where the edge of your drawer is when shut and align the two parts of the latch as close to flush with the edge as possible.
If I need to use a right angle bracket, which size is best?
You’ll want the bracket’s face to match the width of your latch as closely as possible. As flat of a bracket surface is also ideal to help with adhesive attachments.