After planning our kitchen revamp, (notice we don’t use the word reno?) we decided we wanted a pantry to flank the refrigerator. which we’d moved to the opposite wall. We first thought we’d purchase one from Ikea – but after careful measuring, we realized it was going to be 3″ too big. The ones offered from box stores were all too wide by a long shot.
What to do? Custom cabinets are not in our budget. And why bother with a custom pantry, when we’re saving our old cabinets anyway? There must be a DIY WAY!
Well, we researched and found a post for a canned food organizer shelf by Classy Clutter. We decided to modify the plans to make it bigger and able to hold more things. As Erin says “I want a pantry that Holds ALL THE THINGS!” It doesn’t do THAT, but it holds almost everything that was previously in our upper cabinets.
DIY Space Saving Rolling Pantry. Read on for full details in the post!
This free-standing unit is ideal for small space dwellers or renters. The beautiful part is that the entire thing cost us less than $140 to build and IT’S PRACTICALLY THE BEST THING EVER.
This is what you need to build your own DIY Space Saving Rolling Pantry:
(This will build an 8″ wide unit to fit alongside of a standard sized fridge.)
- 36 feet of pine boards (we bought six, 6’x 8″ lengths of knotty pine)
- a sheet of Masonite for the backing (look for one that’s finished white on one side)
- 4 non-swivel casters (Ours have an 88lb weight capacity each)
- wood screws
- wood glue
- paintable wood filler
- Five 3/4″ dowels
- primer and paint
- stencil, paint, foam roller (optional)
- nail gun with brad nails – WE LOVE this one!
- circular saw – This is the one we use
- drill with standard bits and a bit large enough for your dowels – We have TWO of these drills
- paintable caulk
- caulking gun
- medium grit sand paper
- measuring tape
Dan here – I did most of the building. I wanted it to be roughly the same height and depth as the fridge once all was said and done, so I first drew up plans to determine just how much wood we’d need. Having the plans made building quite straightforward. I simply measured and cut the pine planks for the frame, then measured and cut the shelves. With some excess I had left, I cut a bunch of ‘strips’ from the planks, knowing that I’d later need shelf supports.
Using a square, I built the frame of the pantry. I affixed everything together using wood glue and wood screws. Sure, nails would have been less visible, but ultimately, much less strong. We wanted this pantry to hold ALL THE THINGS. Taking a cue from Classy Clutter, I doubled up the bottom shelf for reasons I’ll explain later.
Then I simply measured and marked where we wanted each shelf. The small strips mentioned above were glued & screwed below each marking at either side of the inner frame, so that the shelves could simply rest on them.
The middle shelf was screwed in and secured further with nails. The others (at this point) are just resting on the supports and are removable.
Initially, we were going to have six shelves, but settled on five – given that let us store these taller things. So, with the sixth shelf I had already cut, I made a rip cut (lengthwise cut) with the circular saw and used it as an extra support brace for the middle and bottom shelves.
(Erin here!) While Dan was doing all that building, I was crouched on the floor stencilling the white side of the Masonite for the back part of the pantry. We chose Masonite to keep the unit as light as possible. We had it cut to size at the hardware store.
Plywood would work too, just consider that will add to the weight of your finished pantry. I used some mis-tint black paint I’d picked up for $5 at Kent and a PLAID stencil that was on sale at Walmart. Initially, I started with a foam brush, but then decided a roller was the most efficient way to do it. Took about 1 1/2 hours, but it’ll add a little something something to the finished product.(Back to Dan!)
Once the shelves were in place, I marked where I wanted the dowels to go. We decided against a dowel on the very bottom shelf, because we knew we’d likely store cereal boxes there and there was little danger of something falling off and injuring someone.
We decided to make our dowels go ‘through and through’ so that we can remove them for easy cleaning access.
I added our four casters to the bottom using wood screws. Here’s where that doubled up bottom comes into play. Had I not layered a second plank on the bottom of the frame, the caster screws would have been too long.
Before painting, I went back and filled all the nail holes and wood holes with paintable wood filler. I also ran a bead of caulking down the sides of the very bottom shelf to prevent crumbs from getting forever stuck down there. Then the whole thing got a light sanding.
Next, together we primed and painted the wood, using our tried and true Zinsser Bulls Eye and the same paint we used for our cabinets. We brushed on a coat of primer and the rolled on two coats of paint.
We brought it into the kitchen for the final assembly. The shelves were doubly secured with a few extra brad nails and the back board was affixed using our handy dandy Ryobi AirStriker Nail Gun.(Seriously, HOW did we live before we had this tool? We use it for SO much now. Recommend.)
The long drawer pull was added to the front so that it can be pulled in and out with ease.
Then, the new pantry was loaded up! It holds TONS of stuff.
We freed up a boat load of space in our cupboards for dishes and serving ware.
A word on safety – there is still the potential for ‘tipping’. Ours is completely held in place by the wall and the fridge. Due to its size, it’s actually quite difficult (and uncomfortable) to pull it out beyond that point. We are confident that it is completely secure. BUT – you could go the extra step and put some sort of rubber stopper on the ground to make sure it doesn’t get pulled out too far.
What do you think small space dwellers? Easy enough, right?
Here are some other build posts we’ve done that you can do too!
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Hi! I’m Erin and I wrote this post!
I’m a former broadcast journalist turned DIY blogger; I love all things paint, and power tools. My husband and I work on DIY Passion to share our commitment to inspire others to see beauty in the every day. I love dogs, cats, Han Solo and pie – probably in that order. If you’d like to chat about working together, please get in touch and sign up for our email updates.
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