The Craft Patch: How to Build Pantry Shelves

The Craft Patch

Crafts, Home Decor, DIY's and Recipes

Monday, March 23, 2015

How to Build Pantry Shelves

We've lived in our home for four months now, and we're finally nearing the end of The Pantry Project. I'm almost ready to show you the whole, glorious project! But today I'm sharing how we built the pantry shelving. If you are new here, you have got to see what this space used to look like!

I spent a lot of time trying to decide on the spacing of the shelves. I knew the bottom space needed to be big enough to fit a food storage bucket. I also wanted a few large shelves for oversized items. But I also wanted to be able to fit as many shelves as possible into this little space. I even measured the height of canned goods, mason jars, cake mixes, cereal boxes and soda bottles, just to help me know what sizes would work. After I came up with an idea of what I wanted, I used blue painters tape to mock up the shelves:


It was so helpful to see what the shelves would look like!

Next, it was time to start building. I turned this part over to the hubsters. He started by screwing 1x4 pieces of wood to the walls, making sure that each piece hit a stud in two places and was perfectly level.


I painted the wood on the walls at this point. I figured it would be a lot easier than trying to do it after the shelves were in.

Next, we cut shelving out of MDF boards. We chose MDF for the price, but it is kind of a pain to cut. The edges crumble if you aren't careful. I painted all of the shelves before installation and it made the process so much easier!

The shelves are mitered where they meet in the corner, and have an angled edge on one corner near the front because they needed to go around the door trim instead of butting up against it. (You can see that part in the very left edge of the photo). To reinforce the back corner where the two shelves meet, we used a 2x2 piece of wood. The shelves are attached to the 2x2 with metal L-brackets, two on each level.


Here's a close-up of the brackets. You need two on each level so that one is attached to each of the two boards that meet at the corner. Make sense?


After everything was installed, I did a whole lot of caulking. It made all the difference! See for yourself:



The caulk took away all the screw holes, cracks and imperfections and we were left with clean, crisp shelving!


Isn't it breathtaking? Okay, okay, that might be strong vocabulary for shelving, but this is my baby we're talking about here! I've watched my crazy idea come to life before my eyes, and it's given me the remodeling bug so hard!

The spacing we settled on worked out to be:


And here's the pantry fully stocked:


There are still empty shelves in here and I cleaned out all the food from the kitchen cupboards and one shelf from the linen closet that's next to the pantry in the hallway. Isn't that amazing! Ahhh... I love my pantry!

We figured out a great solution for the third wall of the pantry that doesn't have shelving on it... we built a shelf between studs! Read about that HERE!

We are getting close on the outside too. Two out of three walls are textured and primed. We need to put up moulding and baseboards, trim the door, texture the last wall, then paint everything. Can't wait to show you!

TO SEE THE FULL PANTRY REVEAL, CLICK HERE!

34 comments:

  1. It looks amazing. You guys are so good at this stuff!

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  2. Wow! Your pantry turned out so beautiful! I, too, and a pantry lover… Cannot have enough of them :-). Very happy for your new space.

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  3. I was wondering how big this space is?? looks about 3' x 4' or so. Would love to build something similar.

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  4. I'm wondering what would be a better alternate to using MDF, since it's a pain to cut?

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  5. Replies
    1. 11 3/4 inches... that's the size of the MDF shelves we bought.

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  6. Got to say this looks fantastic and I'll definitely be doing this in my closet :D Can I ask why did you decide to mitre the shelves together? I'm tempted to run the long shelf all the way to the end and leave it square, then just use one angle bracket to join the shorter shelf to the post.

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    1. We mitered the corner so that both sides of the shelf could be attached to the pole in the corner. We worried that supporting the weight of one shelf against another would make them sag over time.

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  7. Hi,

    One thing you could change for future builds that will make your shelves easier to build, cheaper and stronger =]

    I see that you cut your shelves so they have a 45 degree cut to then attach 2 post brackets to the riser post for
    each level, so each shelf looks like is supported by 2 wall brackets and 1 post bracket per side.

    Instead if you keep that shelf going to the back, it would be supported by 3 or 4 wall brackets depending
    on which side you ran the full length, and only the other side needing 1 post bracket since it is supported
    by 2 or 3 wall brackets. Since the shelf is supported by the wall brackets and not another shelf with a post
    bracket it will hold more since it isn't relying on just the 2 screws in the post bracket to hold it in place.
    In effect your balancing the idea of, will it sag vs. can 2 screws hold all the weight. Better make sure you're
    using real steel screws and not any of the cheap aluminum ones!

    When we did our walk through of our new home, they had done all the laundry and pantry shelves that way and we
    asked how they hold up, the cabinet guy stood on the shelf saying, it holds a lot more than you'd think! Eeeep!
    was sure our new pantry would get ruined before we moved in, but he said they have to test each shelf to hold
    100 lbs..I was sold I sure as heck wouldn't ever stand on the thing! I guess though adding all the possible
    weight of cans, sugar, flower, and all the things most pantries have it could easily hit 100 lbs on a wide
    enough of a shelf.

    I've had to build more shelves since moving in, and I've followed that technique and had good success with it.
    Less post brackets, and stronger shelves is always a good thing! I love what you did, it looks really nice!
    Awesome job on the finished pantry!

    Kevyn

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the ideas, Kevyn! I'll keep them in mind next time we build shelves! :)

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    2. Hey Kevyn, someone else asked for a picture of what you were describing in position on boards. Are you able to do that? Maybe comments don't allow adding photos?

      Jennifer - Love love the look of this and will be doing it soon in our pantry! Thanks so much for posting!

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    3. Hey Kevin,

      We built another set of shelves in our laundry room using the same method as the pantry and doing so made me remember WHY we cut our shelves on an angle in the corner. Because the MDF boards we used have a rounded edge, you can't just butt two of hte boards together in the corner. The rounded edge prevents that from working. So our solution was to cut them at a 45 degree angle.

      Funny how you can forget things like that, isn't it?

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  8. Hey Kevyn, could you post a picture of what you are talking about? I think I understand what you are saying but I'd like to see a pic.

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  9. Would you mind sharing where you found the MDF shelving with the rounded bullnose edge? I came home yesterday and my husband and children had cleaned out and taken down all of our wire shelving. I'm now trying to plan our new shelves and my husband and I really like this look. We can't seem to find this type of shelving/boards in any of the home improvement stores.

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    1. Erica, We bought our boards at Home Depot. I included the link below. If you type in your store location on the website, it will actually tell you the exact aisle number where they are located. Good luck tracking them down!

      http://www.homedepot.com/p/Bullnose-MDF-Board-Common-3-4-in-x-11-1-4-in-x-8-ft-Actual-0-75-in-x-11-25-in-x-97-in-1002404/202088764

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  10. Looks nice. Not to be nitpicky, but is there a reason you didn't run your 1x4's all the way to the corners? Those gaps are kinda bugging me. Not that anyone really sees them, especially when the shelves are full, but I think it would've looked a little cleaner to have no gaps for you shelf supports.

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    1. I agree and I'm totally with you! My husband had already cut all of the wood before I realized what he was doing. If I were going to do it again, I would definitely have run the 1x4's all the way to the edges!

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    2. Okay, thanks for the reply. Again, it looks great! We're going to build ours pretty soon. I think the height spacing you have between each shelf is perfect, so thanks for posting that -- it'll make it a lot easier when we do our layout.

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    3. You're welcome! I have been really happy with the shelf spacing and I wouldn't change that part at all.

      Good luck with your project!

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  11. Hi Jennifer....i'm about to plan my pantry and your tips and shelf spacing idea will come in handy. Thanks for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. Christine, you're so welcome. I hope you LOVE your new pantry!!

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  12. Love your pantry, Jennifer! I just sent the shelf spacing numbers to my general contractor to use in mine. I'm not able to do the work but I make a great designer and supervisor ;-D Congratulations on the marvelous results on your project.

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    1. Hurray! Truthfully, I am the designer/supervisor around here when it comes to building. My husband does all of that. I just caulk and paint. Good luck with your pantry project, Jackie!

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  13. I love this and will have a carpenter here next week to build my pantry shelves. I am wondering how high your space is from floor to ceiling and how thick are your shelves? I like your measurements, but my space is 96" so I want to adapt for my area. Thanks for all the great tips and for sharing the details of your project!

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    1. Hi Deanna,

      Your ceiling is the same height as mine so you won't have to adapt if you don't want to. The boards are 3/4 inch thick. Hope that helps!

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  14. Hi, I love, love your pantry!! Actually, I'm kinda jealous.... my question is, we have ceramic tiles in the kitchen, how do you attach the 2x4's to the floor? I would prefer to use dry wall so I can paint it, which I've done before. It's the framing I'm new too😞

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    Replies
    1. Putting in this pantry was the best thing we've done. I LOVE it so much.

      As far as framing walls, you have to attach them directly to the subfloor. In your case, you'd have to remove the tile in a strip big enough for a 2x4 to attach. You can't build a wall on top of existing flooring. Google "How to Frame A Wall" and it'll give you a pretty good idea of what I'm talking about.

      Good luck! I hope you can figure out how to add a pantry!

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  15. Great, thanks for advice. I don't know why I didn't think of that! (Just google it). I will let you know how it goes.

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