Custom kitchen pantry shelving doesn’t have to be confusing or overwhelming. Learn how we took an ordinary pantry and created a custom DIY pantry shelving system.
It’s been a minute since we’ve last talked and so much has happened! As you know we welcomed a new addition to our family and our lives have changed forever. Now that we’re getting used to our new normal, I’m ready to rejoin civilization and get back to hanging with you guys like we used to. And what better way to do that then with a new project… our Easy DIY Pantry Shelves!
If you’re new here and found your way over from Crystal’s home at The Holliday Collective then Welcome! I’m so excited you decided to follow along for the Spring Into Action Blog Hop!
You’re now apart of my family and welcome to stay as long as you’d like! So now let’s get down to the real reason why you stopped by. Have you ever had one of those projects that completely changed your life? You know, the kind that makes you change how you operate in your daily life. That’s what this easy DIY pantry shelving makeover did for my family. I have never been the organized type. As a matter of fact, I usually operate in complete “organized chaos”. For so long our pantry was the definition of dysfunction. Things go in and sometimes things don’t come back out. It was like an episode of Hoarders. The pantry edition. Just look at this chaos. Shameful…. I know…
BEFORE PANTRY SHELVING SYSTEM
I have always wanted to get our home organized. Give me a few glasses of wine and I might be brave enough to let you in to the other deep dark spaces of our home. But for now, I have too much pride and this is as far as I’ll go.
HOW TO PLAN FOR DIY BUILT IN PANTRY SHELVES
Before I started, I pulled out my notebook and got my Joanna Gaines on. I sketched out a plan and literally spent an entire day measuring. I also scoured Pinterest for tons of pantry shelving ideas.
Just so you know, measuring is also not a quality I possess. I thought I had done pretty good on this one though. I proudly handed over my sketches to Jerome with the measurements and was returned with some questionable looks. He and I both know that had he depended on my measurements alone, we would have ended up with shelves longer than the pantry space itself. Needless to say, he had to remeasure and because of that, I’m able to share this project with you guys. Thanks Jerome!
So, to get started, here’s what you’ll need:
Materials Needed for DIY Pantry Shelving:
3/4 in thick MDF board
1×2 inch Pine Wood Boards
2×4 inch Pine Wood Boards
Dry wall screws (Spax Screws)
Semi gloss Paint in your desired color
Lint free clothes
Sanding Sponges (80 & 220 Grit)
Mini Kreg Jig
REMOVE EXISTING SHELVES AND MOLDING
First things first. You’ll need to remove the existing shelves and baseboards. Don’t worry about the holes for now. You’ll patch those later.
Once the baseboards were removed, Jerome created a frame using 2×4’s around the perimeter. He then placed 3/4 inch thick MDF on top which would serve as the base for the entire structure as well as the bottom shelf. I think the builders of our home had to be drunk the entire time. Not a single wall is straight or makes a bit of sense so he had to do some finagling with the measurements here. The overall width of the pantry was 55 inches (which was the only measurement I managed to get right) and the depth of the bottom shelf is 24 inches while the top shelves are 12 inches deep.
BUILD A SUPPORT FOR BASE CABINET
In order to install the two tier wire drawer, we based the bottom shelf spacing off of the drawer dimensions. The drawer was 14 inches wide which meant the spacing on each side needed to be 18.5 inches. I wanted to leave the bottom spacing large enough to store my small appliances like the crockpot on one side and the other for waters, paper towels, etc. And yes, I promise to keep this enormous space nice and tidy. The space between the shelves at the bottom is also 18.5 inches. Here’s an overall look of the shelf dimensions:
To secure the sides of the base cabinet and the shelves, Jerome used 1×2 in pine wood as support beams around the inside perimeter of the shelves. He secured the support beams to the wall and sides of the shelf using construction adhesive and 1 1/4 in spax screws. In order to secure the vertical boards that create the “walls” of the shelves, he added two additional strips of MDF board and secured it to the drywall. He then secured the “walls” using pocket holes.
Before securing the workspace, Jerome had to install the bottom shelves using the construction adhesive and finishing nailer. He used the same technique to secure the workspace to the cabinet frame. The depth of the workspace is 24 inches…. just enough space to accommodate the KitchenAid, the flour and sugar containers I scored from Homegoods and the cute kitchen conversion chart I picked up from Target. To completely maximize the space, I wanted to divide the workspace area to be able to store food items in a clean and organized way. We created a wall from the work space to the ceiling, which served as a divider. Because I modeled the shelving unit after standard cabinet heights, the space between the workspace and the first upper shelf is 18 inches. The depth of the top shelves are 12 inches.
Disclaimer: This is where Jerome laughs at my measuring struggles. In my initial design I planned to have wood drawers that were 18 in deep but that would make the shelf almost as deep as the workspace. Imagine if your cabinets were the same depth as your countertops. Not fun, right? Let this be a lesson friends.
Once the vertical support was in place, Jerome finished up the upper shelves. I used painter’s tape to visualize what the final shelves would look like before we committed to making the cuts and securing them to the wall. The plans were made to add two small cubby sized spaces on the left and above that, two larger spaces to accommodate cooking sheets and any other large bakeware. After we bickered for about an hour at an ungodly time of the day about whether we should have 2 or 3 spaces, Jerome won. Three spaces it is.
BUILD UPPER SHELVES
The cubby sized shelves are 16.5 inches wide and 9 inches high. They were installed using the same method as the bottom by adding support beams around the perimeter. For the tall slots at the top, Jerome secured wood supports onto the drywall and then drilled screws into to supports to secure the vertical divider.
Now for the right side of our shelving unit. I only wanted two shelves on the right which would house the bulk of our food items. Give me any more shelves then that and I’ll make a mess of it for sure. Both shelves are 38.5 inches wide, but of course you would measure based on the dimensions of your pantry.
PRIME AND PAINT SHELVING
After all of the shelves were in place, Jerome spackled all of the holes left from the previous shelves. Once dry he then sanded them with the orbital sander. At this point in the project he began to give me the 12AM death stare. Once all the heavy lifting was done, I gave him his walking papers and took over. He worked tirelessly on this project so I wanted to give him a much needed break. The next thing for this project was to make this thing look pretty!
I really wanted the shelves to look seamless as if they were coming out of the walls. To prep the shelves, I primed them along with the walls using Kilz primer. I then caulked every seam and filled the pocket holes with spackle and sanded it down to a smooth surface. The pocket holes can be filled with wood filler as well. After all of the seams were caulked and holes filled, I painted the shelves, support beams and wall using Behr New House White. The shelves literally look like they are an extension of the wall.
The best part about this entire project was styling the shelves and getting organized. We both scoured the shelves of TJ Maxx and Homegoods for plastic containers. I used baskets to store items such as breads and chips which I sourced from Homegoods and the Container Store. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results!
AFTER DIY PANTRY SHELVING
Be sure to hop on over to J’Adore Le Decor to check out Ola’s Bedroom Makeover. And when you’re done, don’t forget to check out all of the talented ladies participating in the Spring Into Action Blog Hop!
N’Ckyola – 4th House on the Right: Decked Out Apartment Living Room
Kenyatta – My Design Rules: Diy Front Door Decor
Arie – Delightfully Styled: Master Bed & Bath Refresh
Nicole – She Does a Bunch: Kitchen Update
Mimi – Unlikely Martha: Entryway
Kendra – Three Bean Circus: Pantry Organization
Whitney – Whitney J Decor: Hallway Update
Carla – Carla Bethany: Home Office/Guest Room Update
Don’t forget to like, share and comment below! See you guys next time!