Space Saving Pantry Made From One Sheet of Plywood

Space Saving Pantry Made From One Sheet of Plywood

We have a very large pantry unit in our kitchen that is very poor way to store kitchen items. The large shelves that slide out are a great idea, but they are too deep and spaced too far apart. As a result, items get piled on top of each other and get lost in layers of junk in the back.

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I’ve always found that the most efficient drawers and shelves are shallow. Ones that don’t allow multiple layers of things to build up. So by building this new pantry, I hope to move the smaller jars and containers into a central location where we can easily find what we are looking for. We’ll use the big old pantry for bulkier items.

Space saving pantry

You can make this space saving pantry from a single sheet of 3/4″ (18mm) plywood, but I chose to use 1/2″ (12mm) plywood for the shelves. I also wrapped a solid wood edge trim molding around the top and the base.

I started by cutting down the plywood into manageable sized pieces and built the cabinet and doors. These are just glued and screwed together.

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I used my shelf pin jig for drilling all the holes in the sides. I have found this tool to be invaluable. Drilling and aligning accurate shelf holes without it is very difficult.

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I screwed the back onto the cabinet. I glued and tacked the fronts of the doors in place because I didn’t want screws to show. The tiny nail holes are easily covered with spackling.

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And I built the base the same way.

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I cut the trim molding out of solid wood and glued it into place.

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I made the top the same way, paying careful attention to making good miter joints since they will be very visible: they won’t be covered with paint.

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Using my router, I created an ogee profile on the base and a simple roundover on the top.

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Next, I set the cabinet and doors on the base. I elevated the doors up a little onto some thin boards. They need a little space to swing freely.

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I taped the piano hinges in place so I could drill all the holes and insert screws.

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And installed the magnetic catch and after painting and finishing everything, I added the door pulls.

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I screwed the cabinet onto the base from underneath.

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And screwed the top on.

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I like these kind of shelf pins because they have a hole in them. That way you can screw the shelves to them so they won’t slide off when you open the doors.

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The shelves are just plywood with a little cleat in front to prevent jars from sliding off when opening the doors.

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No cleat on the cabinet shelves since the stuff on them won’t be moving.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Nice design Steve! Instead of screwing the door shelves to those shelf pins, could you mark the bottom of the shelf when it’s in place and glue some dowels/pins sticking out a bit so the drop into the pins? That way you could adjust the shelves without having to unscrew them…

    • Wouldn’t you just need to screw the shelf pins into one corner of each shelf only, seeing as it only opens one way and the force causing the shelf to fall would be in one direction? The other shelf pins that are screwed in would serve no purpose because there wouldn’t be any force affecting them.

  2. Just curious why the piano hinge is exposed. Myself (maybe just me) I would have hidden it on the inside. This would have exposed just the barrel part of the hinge, so as to not distract away from the finished part. It would still open the same way. Just a thought. Keep up the good work!

  3. Great little pantty! I can see several other projects and uses for this little gem. Thanks for the ideas.

  4. I am building one of these and your plans do not seem to account for the saw kerf. I don’t see this working on one sheet but it is still a nice little cabinet. I am going to do something different with the hinges but that is just my preference :)…

  5. You may want to add a rod across the shelves in the doors to secure the spice jars. Approx. 2″ or so aboe the shelf to stop the jars from falling over when opening and closing the doors. Keep up the great work!

  6. Great tutorial. I know you have built some very nice storage for the smaller items in your pantry. However, your original large pantry can be made so that it is more efficient. I suggest that you make the shelves height adjustable. Rockler has pillars on which the shelf hardware connects at different heights and the hardware which connects with the shelf pullout hardware (sliders).
    I am sure there are other such systems but I have only seen theirs.
    This allows you to adjust the location of a shelf as storage needs change. You can put the shelves closer, providing more square footage of storage. Of course trying to group items by height is important too. I think you might be able to add 3 additional shelves. So long as each shelf and the items on it do not hit the shelf above. Because it is pull out, you don’t need to allow very much space between shelves. You usually can’t see what is on the back of each shelf without pulling it out anyway. I also recommend using sliders that are at a minimum full extension. I am not sure but yours appear to be partial extension. Full extension means the entire shelf can be pulled forward so that all items can be lifted straight up to remove them. That way you are not trying to pull something from the back of the shelf over other items in front of it. Make sure the sides and back of the pullout shelf are high enough to prevent things from falling off the back or the sides when moving the shelf. Hope this is useful.

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