DIY Custom Pantry

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.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.  Thanks for the support!


How to remove wire shelves

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.


DIY Custom Pantry

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.

DIY Custom Pantry

I’m a little obsessed with these OXO pop containers.  They look good and they keep dry foods fresh for longer.

DIY Custom Pantry

DIY Custom Pantry

My glass jars are from IKEA.

DIY Custom Pantry

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.

DIY Custom Pantry

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.

DIY Custom Pantry

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.

DIY Custom Pantry

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.

DIY Custom Pantry

DIY Custom Pantry

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.

DIY Custom Pantry

DIY Custom Pantry

DIY Custom Pantry

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.

If you want to look back at previous pantry progress posts below is my full renovation schedule.

Renovation Schedule 

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

DIY Custom Pantry tutorial

Here is what you’ll need for this project.


Miter Saw 

Table Saw 

Pocket hole jig 


Brad Nailer 


Speed Square

Stud Finder 

Router (for notch in door fronts.  You could also use a table saw)

Router bit

Shelf Pin Jig


Jig Saw

Palm Impact Screwdriver

Tape Measure


Ear Protection

Eye Protection


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)

1-1/4″ Pocket screws

Wood glue

3″ screws (to attach to studs and to assemble open shelf frame)

Brad Nails



Wall anchors

Pull handles

Quarter Round

Wood Filler


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.

Pantry Makeover Plans

Step 2 – Build the base cabinets

Toe kick

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.

DIY Custom pantry build process

DIY Custom pantry build process

DIY Custom pantry build process

Bottom shelf

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.

DIY Custom pantry build process


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.

DIY Custom pantry build process

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.

DIY Custom pantry build process

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.

DIY Custom pantry build process

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.

DIY Custom pantry build process

Adjustable Shelves

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.

DIY Custom pantry build process

DIY Custom pantry build process

Pull out Cabinet

I built a pull out cabinet to store my dog’s food.  A full tutorial can be found here.

DIY Pull-out cabinet for dog food, trash or recycling

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.

DIY Custom pantry build process

DIY Custom pantry build process

Then I used pocket holes/screws to attach the boards to each other and the adjacent cabinets.

DIY Custom pantry build process

At locations where there was a wall stud I used 3″ screws to secure them to the wall.

DIY Custom pantry build process

DIY Custom pantry build process

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.

DIY Custom pantry build process

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.

DIY Custom pantry build process

Face Frame

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.

Pantry Cabinets

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.

DIY Tilt out cabinet for trash, recycling laundry

Cabinet Doors

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.

DIY Custom pantry build process

This allowed the 1/2″ plywood to sit flush with the back of the cabinet door and have a little inset on the front.

DIY Custom pantry build process

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.

DIY Custom pantry build process

Then I cut the 1/2″ plywood to fit in the center and attached with wood glue.

DIY Custom pantry build process

Here is what it looks like from the front.

DIY Custom pantry build process

The back was a little ugly so I just filled the voids with wood filler.

DIY Custom pantry build process

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.

DIY Custom pantry build process

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!

DIY Custom Pantry Build Process

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.

DIY Custom Pantry Build Process

DIY Custom Pantry Build Process

The rest of the frame was assembled using pocket screws and wood glue.

DIY Custom Pantry Build Process

DIY Custom Pantry Build Process

DIY Custom Pantry Build Process

Shelf Boards

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.

DIY Custom Pantry Build Process To make the shelves as thin as possible I went with 1/4″ plywood for the bottom.  It’s attached with brad nails.

DIY Custom Pantry Build Process

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.

DIY Custom Pantry Build Process

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!

DIY Custom Pantry

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.

DIY Custom pantry build process

DIY Custom pantry build process

DIY Custom Pantry

If you want to save this post for later you can pin the image below. 🙂 

DIY Custom Pantry tutorial

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!

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  1. Beautiful Hannah! I would love to have the space to do this. The wallpaper looks amazing and it’s so perfect. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Hannah, your pantry is gorgeous! Do you find yourself standing in the doorway just soaking it all in? I’m excited to feature your project this week at the Tuesday Turn About Link Party!

    1. Thanks Michelle! Yes, I find myself staring at it a lot! I also keep forgetting to close the door. It feels like an open part of the kitchen now.

  3. I love your pantry! Thanks for including EVERYTHING in one post. It’s so much easier than clicking on 10 links! Thank you, too, for how your website looks. When looking for information, I google and open a lot of tabs. Then I click through the tabs and close all the ones with side videos, pop up ads, and other annoyances to simply reading the blog. If I need supplies, I will go back and click on your links. Congratulations on a great pantry… and a great blog. : )

    1. Thank you so much Lori. I really appreciate you leaving a comment. I can’t stand the popup ads and videos on websites these days.

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