This post is Part 1 of my kitchen’s pull-out pantry redesign! Follow along as I build my own pantry cabinet pull-out drawer for oils and spices.
Part 2 – Easy IKEA sliding drawers retrofit (this tutorial also discusses which drawers to use depending on kitchen cabinet size)
For the longest time, we were living with a kitchen cupboard that just didn’t work for us. With only a single shelf and a turntable to store our oils and spices, there was no efficient way to organize everything. I really wanted to customize this kitchen storage, but as cabinet organizers can be quite expensive, I went the DIY route and made this nice pantry pull-out drawer!
If you’re thinking it looks pretty complicated, rest assured. This custom pantry is a basic build. I’m not the best builder so I wanted to make this into a very simple project. You’ll definitely be able to pull it off, too!
What you need to DIY a pull-out spice and oil drawer
- Drill & Impact driver
- Circular saw
- Kreg jig rip guide
- Kreg jig pocket hole system (I have the older one they’ve replaced)
- Laminate board (¾” x 24” x 48”)
- Edge banding
- 1 ¼” Pocket screws
- 1×2 pine or scrap wood
- Drawer rail mechanism
Step 1. Cut your laminate board pieces
Rather than use plywood for this project, I chose some laminate boards like the ones Ikea cabinets are made of. I think this gives a better quality look to the overall project. And if I had asked my builder to do something like this, he would have used something similar too.
Start by cutting the pieces to size using a table saw or circular saw. If neither is an option for you, you can of course take all your measurements to the hardware store and ask them to cut everything out. There’s always a way!
These are the measurements for the pull-out drawer:
- Front and back panels = height of inner cabinet minus 2 inches
- Width = you can pick any, but I used 5.5 inches wide for shelves
- Shelf length = depth of cabinet minus 3 inches
In order to visualize how I would actually assemble the cabinet, I next laid the pieces together after cutting them. I like doing this so I can plan my next steps.
Since we want the cabinet drawer to be nice and even, I used a speed square. This neat little tool helps ensure that your corners are perfectly square and level.
Tip: Before assembling your cabinet, finish all the pieces with edge banding. Trust me, it’s hard to do it after assembly!
Step 2. Build the outer frame of the cabinet drawer
Start by marking where each of the shelves will be placed on the front and back of the cabinet. Then use your speed square and nail gun to assemble the pieces
Depending on what items you will place on the shelves, you can adjust the height. I placed mine at:
top shelf- 8″ from the top
bottom shelf- 12″ from the top shelf
Step 3. Attach the back panel to the pull-out drawer shelves
Next, attach the back panel to the pull-out drawer shelves. Mark the same distance as you did on the front panel
Tip: use the speed square to draw a line to mark where you want the nail to go in. Otherwise, if you miss, the nail might come out the other side.
Step 4. Attach the side supports
You’ll need one support piece for the bottom and one for the top. I used scrap wood for these. Cut them at least 4-6″ tall
Tip: If you have a piece of wood that is exactly the right size but it won’t go in, don’t trim it! Simply take a mallet and knock it gently into place.
Step 5. Attach the back supports
Now we can add the back supports to the pantry pull-out drawer. These pieces will be where the drawer rails attach to slide into their counter pieces attached to the inside of the cabinet.
The back support pieces are also bigger and wider than the rest because I want to make sure that the drawer nails have something secure enough to hold onto.
I added an additional round dowel at the top shelf so some of the taller oil bottles don’t shift or fall out. It’s optional but makes it a bit more sturdy. In order to ensure the dowel was installed evenly, I used a spacer between it and the support piece.
Step 6. Install the drawer rails
Next, I simply followed the instructions to install the sliding drawer rail mechanism.
As I said, one part attaches to the actual pull-out drawer, and the other goes on the inside of the cabinet, so it’s much easier to start by separating them.
Have you ever noticed that there is always a gap between of any drawer and the bottom of the cabinet? This is on purpose; drawers never sit directly on the cabinet. If they did, you wouldn’t be “sliding” them open so much as “dragging wood against wood”.
In order to create this slight gap, I used a piece of wood as a spacer. Keep this space in mind going forward as you’ll need to account for that extra inch when measuring to attach the drawer slides.
Step 7. Attach the sliding rails to the cabinet wall
The slide pieces are thinner than the cabinet door hinges, so I had to add another piece of pine wood to sit between the pull out drawer and the cabinet wall. The drawer rails will be attached to this piece of wood.
The rails should be installed far enough back for the whole drawer to fit inside the cabinet but also not too far in since you want to be able to pull it all the way out. I used a cabinet rail that is 2 inches shorter than the actual cabinet depth
Add top pine rail support – use spacer to make sure it’s even AND measure height to correspond to pull out
Step 8. Attach rails to the pantry pull-out drawer
While you can definitely measure your way to fitting the sliding rails where they go on the drawer, I went about it a different way. Instead, once the sliders were installed on the cabinet wall, I put the drawer in the cabinet, resting it on the spacer. This can be called “dry fitting”; I’m not attaching anything at this point.
I then marked level lines on the pull out drawer to note where the sliding mechanisms should meet.
Using the marks I made on the drawer, I made sure the rail insert is attached evenly. I then screwed the sliding rail in according to the instructions.
Step 9. Use iron-on edge banding to finish pantry pull-out drawer
The pieces of laminate I used for this project have quite unfinished sides. You can see the ugly MDF parts, which is not the look I wanted. A simple way to hide these sides is to use iron-on edge banding
It’s so easy to use. And if the edge banding is too wide, simply use a trimming tool to remove the excess after ironing it on. Voila!
I really should have done this before attaching the drawer into the cabinet, but I was too excited. Please do as I suggest and not as I did. If you’re using it, make the drawer pretty before attaching it in place inside the cabinet.
Reveal of my Functional Kitchen Cabinet
This cabinet was so hard to use. I hated how inaccessible the spices and condiments were.
While you could of course just buy or build a new kitchen pantry entirely, this DIY project using existing storage space in the kitchen is a great way to save money and basically free up some space you didn’t know you had!
By simply rethinking how I could use the base cabinet I had available, and adding sliding pantry shelves, we now have tons of space to keep cooking and food items.
If you want to add these drawers into the cabinet too, check out how to use IKEA drawers in your kitchen cabinet. Do you think you’ll be tackling either of these DIY projects for your home’s pantry cabinets?
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