How To Build Custom Pantry Shelves - Pantry Makeover Part 1

How To Build Custom Pantry Shelves

The pantry is finished! I am soooo HAPPY!!!! This was a complete overhaul!

Pantry Before

*This post contains some affiliate links. Please see my full Disclosure Statement.

Whoa!!! What a mess!  And I thought it was pretty organized... 😂😆😂 What a joke!  I mean it could've been worse, right??  Anyway...

While I was working on the Pantry Door Spice Organizer, I knew I was going to have to attack the pantry next.  No doubt about it!! Especially after seeing how beautifully organized the door was! If you haven't seen it, you gotta go check it out!!! Here's the link... The Best Spice Organizer!

There's so much to cover, I'm going to dive right in!

The first thing I did was rip out those terrible wire shelves!! I've hated those things for almost 10 years now!  Why didn't I do this sooner??

Taking out wire shelves

There was something therapeutic taking them out!

Then I spackled all the holes and and repainted the whole thing.  Just white, nothing fancy.  I had another idea brewing....

I wanted the walls in the pantry to have some sort of detail, but didn't want anything wild and crazy.  Just something that would blend well with simplicity and organization.

The perfect solution was a faux subway tile pattern.  I considered using wallpaper but when calculating the cost and knowing very little of it would show, since it really wasn't the focal point of this space, I ditched that idea.

I did a complete post on how I did the faux subway tile, How To DIY Faux Subway Tile, because I couldn't find one single tutorial on Pinterest that did what I did! But seriously it was soooo easy, just time consuming....  It took me 2 days to draw it out with pencil. (Of course, you know I didn't work on it 24/7, who's got time and stamina for that?  I'm 53 years old! 😜)

Drawing faux subway tile

After all the pencil drawing was finished, I went over all of it with a paint pen.  I considered using a black one, but that seemed to dramatic.  I went with gray, which they only had in metallic, but it worked out beautifully.

Faux subway tile

Once that was complete, I started marking where I wanted my shelves.  So much thought and calculation went into figuring that out.  How much distance did I want between each shelf?  How tall were my containers? Where did I want canned goods? Etc, etc....

One thing I knew I wanted was a shelf deep enough to hold my Kitchen Aid mixer.  That thing is HEAVY!  I was tired of dragging it out of a lower cabinet to use it.  I knew it would be easier to get out at waist level.  Another thing I wanted was all my canned goods on one shelf and I didn't want to  double stack them if I didn't have to.  So, I considered all of that into my calculations.

So with all that in mind, my first shelf from the ground up was at 16 inches.

Supports for shelves

I also measured how wide the pantry was wall to wall. 58 1/8 inches. The side supports I cut at around 21 inches.  Of course, you must make adjustments... no space is perfectly square.

Here are some of my measurements for the space between each shelf.

measurements for shelves

I had to redo some of the supports, because I forgot to allow for the thickness of the shelf... 🙅🏻‍♀️  Ugh... No problem... I'm just glad I caught it before I got too far into it!

In order to keep costs down, I used cheap furring strips as my supports.  Furring strips are not pretty, but they do the job.  They usually run about $1.40 for an 8ft. board.  Soooo much cheaper than using a quarter round or something like that.  Especially since I was cutting them in half.  And you really aren't even going to notice them when I'm all done. 👍  I used a table saw to cut them in half. (Man, I love tools! 💗)

cutting furring strips in half

Primer and paint and they were good to go.

painting shelf supports

For the shelves I used 1x12s and 1x8s. They also got a couple of coats of primer and paint.

Painting shelf boards

Now, we're getting somewhere!  I screwed the supports into all the studs I could find!  I only had to use a few drywall anchors on the side walls.  Once all the supports were up, it was time for shelving.

Installing shelves

The easiest way to attach the shelves to the supports was with our trusty Hitachi nail gun.  Then all it needs is a little wood filler and caulking.

Attaching shelves to supports

The third shelf up, was the one I wanted to hold some small appliances and my heavy Kitchen Aid mixer.  I planned on making that shelf deeper then the others.  In order to do that,  I used 2 boards and Kreg Jigged them together.  If you don't know a Kreg Jig is, you definitely need to check out this tool.

(Don't ya just love my pantry storage during construction! 😂 And my slick way of drying the painted shelves 🙌)

Kreg jig boards together

That little Kreg Jig tool basically helps you drill a pocket hole so you can screw two boards together seamlessly.  I love this tool! Hubby and I have used that little guy so much!

Kreg jig pocket hole

Then clamp the two boards together and drill screws into the pocket holes. We've got quite a few clamps at work here. Hubby always knows the best way to clamp! 👍 These are the best clamps too!

Attaching two boards together

We ended up taking that extended shelf apart and making less deep.  We kept cracking our heads on it because it stuck out too far...😵

Completed Pantry Shelves

The last part was adding little side shelves.  This was a great way to use that space!  Again we used the Kreg Jig to attach the side shelves.

Attaching side shelves

Shelves are complete!!

Custom Pantry Shelves

Whew! That was a LONG post!!  I'm going to stop here for now.... Part 2 is next! With more pretty finished photos!! Plus my completely organized pantry!!

UPDATE:  My Organized Pantry - Part 2 is up!!



  1. I want to do something similar with my master closet....but it's more complicated...

  2. How deep is your pantry from front to back? I want to do something similar to yours. I have wire shelving but when they built the house and installed the shelves the brackets in the front combined with the bifold doors make the back corners nearly inaccessible!

    1. Hi Angie! I'm going to have to guess from memory, we don't live in that house anymore. I believe the pantry was about 20"-22" deep. I see your dilemma. Making wood shelves would open it all up for you! Hope this helps!!

  3. Do you remember how wide those side shelves were? I'm guessing about 4 inches? I would love to do this in my pantry.

    1. Hi there! Hmmm.... I'm thinking they were about 3-4" wide. You can make them as wide as your want for your pantry! It's so nice to be able to customize for your needs! Thanks for reading!

  4. Very useful. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Could you share in the interior dimensions of your pantry? Just wondering if I could accomplish a similar result with mine.

  6. This is an amazing post! Thank you! I am hoping to do this project soon! What type of wood did you use for the shelves? Also, for the supports, how did you intersect them in the corners? Did you leave the flat ends or did you use a miter saw to connect them in the corners?

    1. I just used regular common pine boards for the shelves. You could use plywood, if you want. I didn't miter the corners, just butted them together. Good luck! I'd love to see your finished project!! Just email me

    2. Aren't your shel es bowing under the weight of jars and canned goods without support along the width of the boards?

    3. Nope, they won't warp because there is a board running along the back wall supporting the boards. You can see that in one of the photos above. It helps the boards maintain the weight of the items on the shelf. Hope that helps!


Comments are awesome! Let me know what you think!

09 10