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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. THESE are the boards we purchased at Home Depot. We chose MDF for the price, but it is kind of a pain to cut. The edges crumble if you aren't careful, so be patient. 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!

Jennifer V.
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