It’s week 6 of the One Room Challenge and that means the final reveal of my DIY custom pantry! I couldn’t be happier with how this project turned out. My pantry looks totally amazing now and it has actually made my entire kitchen look nicer. If you’re here to see the final photos, they are all at the beginning of this post. For those of you that want to make a pantry similar to this for your home there is a full tutorial towards the bottom of this post. Special thanks to Spoonflower for providing the beautiful wallpaper. I also want to say thank you to the One Room Challenge team. I tend to take several months to complete projects like this so having the 6 week deadline and a community to cheer me on has been really motivating.
DIY Custom Pantry Reveal!
Before we get into the details of the finished pantry let’s take a step back to 6 weeks ago. This is how my pantry looked before. It wasn’t terrible but I had big plans and a vision to make this pantry not only beautiful but also a lot more usable.
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And here is the after! It’s hard to believe that this is the same room. Even harder to believe that I was able to build all of this custom cabinetry into this tiny space. I can’t stop staring at this pantry. It turned out so pretty! Sources for all of the materials are listed after the photos.
I have so much more space to store my pantry goods now. It’s a project that I’ve been dreaming up for years so it’s very nice to check this one off my list.
I’m a little obsessed with these OXO pop containers. They look good and they keep dry foods fresh for longer.
My glass jars are from IKEA.
The countertops were inexpensive but turned out to have a high end look. I made them with 2×8 and 2×12 pine boards and finished with some stain and polyurethane.
Let’s be honest though, the wallpaper is the best part of this pantry renovation. It makes me smile every time that I look at it. You can’t go wrong with a citrus print in a pantry/kitchen right? I wrote up an entire blog post about 5 takeaways from my first time hanging wallpaper last week so if you want to learn more about it check that out! I found so many designs that I loved from Spoonflower and couldn’t be happier with the end result. Plus, as an added bonus, it feels great to be supporting a US company.
The tilt out cabinet is super functional to store my recycling bin. It’s nice to have it stored away and out of sight. I didn’t leave much floor space with my design so I needed this solution.
And I’m totally not regretting the effort that went into this pull out cabinet to store my dog’s food. It’s so nice to be able to put her bowl on the countertop and barely have to bend down to get her food.
Empty Pantry Photos
Here are a few photos of the finished pantry without the food in it. I just love the custom look of everything.
I’d love to hear what you think of this DIY custom pantry in the comments section at the end of this post. Also, there is a full tutorial further down in the post but for anyone looking for sources here are some links.
- Spoonflower Wallpaper
- Cabinet and shelf paint
- Drawer Pull Handles
- OXO pop containers
- Glass jars
- Pet food storage container
- Recycling Bin
If you want to look back at previous pantry progress posts below is my full renovation schedule.
1st Week: October 8th – Design Plan 2nd Week: October 15th – Remove existing shelving and prep walls 3rd Week: October 22nd – Cabinetry Build 4th Week: October 29th – Cabinetry Build 5th Week: November 5th – Wallpaper & open shelving
- 6th Week: November 16th – DIY Custom Pantry Final Reveal!
You can visit the One Room Challenge blog to see room transformations from all of the participants. I’ll definitely be spending some time tomorrow checking out the beautiful spaces that the featured and guest designers completed.
DIY Custom Pantry Tutorial
Here is what you’ll need for this project.
Router (for notch in door fronts. You could also use a table saw)
3/4″ hardwood plywood (for cabinets)
1/2″ hardwood plywood (for door fronts)
1×2 (for cabinet face frame and door trim)
1×10 (for open shelf tops – deeper shelves)
1×8 (for open shelf tops – shallower shelves)
2×2 (for open shelf frame)
1/4″ plywood (for open shelf bottom)
1×3 (for open shelf fronts)
2×8 (for countertop)
2×12 (for countertop)
3″ screws (to attach to studs and to assemble open shelf frame)
Stain (for countertop)
Polyurethane (for countertop)
How to Build a DIY Custom Pantry
Step 1 – Layout the pantry
I use sketchup for all of my layouts but a simple pencil and paper will do. A few things to keep in mind when determining your layout…
- Typical cabinet height is 34-1/2″
- Typical cabinet depth is 24″. That said, if your pantry is small like mine you’ll likely need to make them shallower. I went with 18-3/4″ on the one wall and 12″ on the other.
- Think about what you’ll be storing in each section. Make sure that your shelves are deep enough, wide enough and tall enough to actually fit your goods. I was originally thinking of installing 4 open shelves but since I went with thicker floating shelves I settled on 3. I didn’t want any brackets to cover the pretty wallpaper.
Step 2 – Build the base cabinets
I used 3/4″ hardwood plywood for all of my cabinets. Using my table saw, I cut the cabinets to the required depth and height. Then I marked for the toe kick and cut it out using a jigsaw. For my cabinets I made the toe kick 4″ tall and 2.5″ deep. Since I was installing a 1×2 face frame on the cabinets the toe kick would end up being an extra 3/4″ deep when everything was finished.
I used my table saw to cut the bottom shelf to the proper width and depth and attached it to the first side using 1-1/4″ pocket screws and wood glue.
Using wood glue and pocket screws, I attached some 3/4″ plywood strips that I ripped down to 2-3/4″ to the side of the cabinet (on the back). This support helps to keep the cabinet square and also allows a point to screw the cabinet into the wall stud once it’s in place.
At the top of the cabinet I added two supports that would help to keep the cabinet square and allow something for the countertop to rest on.
The last support was on the back below the top support. Again, this keeps the cabinet square and allows a point to screw it into the wall stud.
Add the second side of the cabinet
Once all of the supports were in place I attached the other side using wood glue and pocket screws. Since some of the cabinets were narrow my Palm Impact Screwdriver came in very handy. There was no way that I could fit a drill in between the two sides. Be sure to align the toe kick so that it’s on the front of the cabinet.
I wanted adjustable shelves on the cabinets on the far left and far right of my pantry. For this I used my Shelf Pin Jig.
Pull out Cabinet
I built a pull out cabinet to store my dog’s food. A full tutorial can be found here.
Corner base shelves
For the base to support of the corner shelves I ripped 3/4″ plywood to 4″ (the height of the toe kick) and cut them to length.
Then I used pocket holes/screws to attach the boards to each other and the adjacent cabinets.
At locations where there was a wall stud I used 3″ screws to secure them to the wall.
For the bottom corner shelf I had a craft board left over from another project that I cut into the L shape but you could also use 3/4″ plywood. I determined the height that I wanted my second shelf and attached 2-3/4″ x 3/4″ plywood strips to support the shelf.
I added another L shelf that I cut out of scrap 3/4″ material that I had. Then built a support for the top which would allow attachment to the wall and support the countertop.
I used 1×2 boards to build a face frame for the cabinets and provide a more finished/custom look. These were attached using brad nails.
Tilt Out Cabinet
My design incorporated a tilt out cabinet that I can put my recycling bin in. You can find a full tutorial for the tilt out cabinet here.
For the cabinet doors I used 1×2 for the trim and 1/2″ hardwood plywood for the center. First I used my router to notch a 1/2″ groove into the side of each 1×2.
This allowed the 1/2″ plywood to sit flush with the back of the cabinet door and have a little inset on the front.
The inset should extend all the way from top to bottom on the side boards. However, on the top and bottom boards you don’t want to go all the way to the end as shown below. I attached the sides to the top and bottom using pocket screws and wood glue.
Then I cut the 1/2″ plywood to fit in the center and attached with wood glue.
Here is what it looks like from the front.
The back was a little ugly so I just filled the voids with wood filler.
Step 3 – Build Open Shelving
To frame out the open shelving I ripped 2×4’s down and planed them to be 1-3/8″ square. You could also buy 2×2’s but since they often aren’t straight I used my planer to ensure that they were perfect.
Using a stud finder I marked the location of each stud and secured the frame boards into each stud. Be sure to use a level to make sure that the shelves are straight!
Since the shelves are pretty shallow there wasn’t a stud to secure into on one of the side walls. To solve this problem and prevent any future shelf sagging I used wall anchors.
The rest of the frame was assembled using pocket screws and wood glue.
For the top of the shelf I used brad nails to attach a 1×8 on the shallower depth shelves on the left wall. On the right wall the shelves are slightly deeper and I used a 1×10 for this.
To make the shelves as thin as possible I went with 1/4″ plywood for the bottom. It’s attached with brad nails.
I forgot to take a picture after I attached the front boards. Since I had ripped the frame board down to 1-3/8″, I had to rip 1×3 boards down to exactly 2-3/8″ for the front boards. Below is a picture of the shelves after I had primed everything.
Step 4 – Finish Work
Wood filler and caulk
For the larger gaps in the cabinets I used caulk. For the smaller imperfections in the wood I went with wood filler. I sanded all wood with 120 grit followed by 220 grit before painting.
Primer and Paint
I used the same paint as my kitchen cabinets so that it matched the look of the room. I loved this paint last time so I knew I couldn’t go wrong with it in my pantry. It’s held up so well over the past 5 years. For projects like this that are high use, it’s very important to prime first so don’t skip that step!
Step 5 – Countertop
You could use any type of countertop that you want. To cut down on cost I went with pine 2×8’s and 2×12’s for mine. The deeper counters are two 2×12’s and the shallower side is two 2×8’s. Each were ripped down to allow a 3/4″ overhang on the front of the cabinets. For the finish I chose Early American stain by minwax and followed that with 3 coats of polyurethane.
The 2×8 boards were a little warped so the left portion of the countertop didn’t perfectly sit flush with the right side. This was a simple fix with a straight bracket to attach the two pieces. Because my pantry is so small and in a corner there was no way to preassemble the entire countertop before installing it. That may not be an issue for you.
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For those of you that made it this far in the post thanks for sticking with me! I hope that you find this tutorial helpful.
If you like this DIY custom pantry, check out some of my other room transformations!