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Custom Pantry Door Tutorial
With a family of six and a tiny pantry, we are always looking for ways to make more room for food storage.
My wife started thinking about ways to create more room, be functional, organized and look great. She is always trying to keep like items in the same general area in all my closets and organizing. I knew I couldn’t go up or out anymore in our pantry and I didn’t want to store food and kitchen stuff outside so we started looking at ideas as to what we could attach on the door. A pantry door organizer. We looked at wire racks to hang.
We really liked these and this would have been our simple route, but she wanted a little more customizable pantry door so we decided to build our own. The great thing about building our own is we can customize the size and look to fit our style and needs.
Our pantry door is a standard 2ft 79 1/2″ hollow core door, so we broke this into two manageable units.
Top unit = 19″wide x 32″ tall and 5 3/4″ deep
Bottom unit= 19″ wide x 44″ tall and 5 3/4″ deep
We set it approx 4″ from the side of the door handle which left about less than an inch of doorknob space with plenty of room to open and close freely.
***TIP: Take in account your door handle. If you have another type of door handle you will need to adjust your measurements accordingly so that your handle will be free to turn.
Shopping List For Pantry
1- 3/8″ Plywood ripped to 5 1/2″ wide x 18″ long for the shelves (You should get 10 pieces)
1- 3/8″ Plywood ripped to 2 pieces at 5 1/2″ x 32″ for the upper box sides and 2 pieces cut to 5 1/2″ x 44″ for the lower box sides
2- 1/4″ Plywood 2ft x 4ft trimmed down to 19″ x 44″ and 19″ x 32″ for the backing
19″ Lattice or Large Paint Sticks ( Home Depots paintsticks have a small curve on one end of their stick. If you are cutting 18″ this will show. You can see an example on our shelf on row 4. If that will bother you I suggest using Lattice or another small decorative wood or cut your wood shelving 17″.
*We are using a fine finish nail for the shelf facing but ultimately we bought the wood glue to be the holding agent
The Home Depot will cut the wood for you. Sometimes there may be a small fee involved but it is worth it to have it done. Not only does it save you time and a mess at home but it’s a sure fit in your car and you can get right to work once you arrive home.
I suggest painting after you cut your wood and prior to assembly. So if you had Home Depot cut then you are ready to paint if not cutting wood is your next step.
The first thing we did was plan our cuts for each piece of plywood. For the two box units, we made here is our cutting guide.
Step #2: The Cuts
You can skip this part if you had Home Depot rip your lumber.
We ripped all our plywood parts to the width using a table saw with the template as a guide. We then cut the pieces to length using a skill saw.
If you did not get Home Depot to rip your pieces you will need to start with your back pieces and rip them
2) 1/4″ plywood 2 ft x 4 ft trimmed down to 19″ x 44″ and 19″ x 32″ for the backing of shelves.
Next, with one of your 2ft x 4ft 3/8″ sheet rip one cut longways at 18″ so now you should have a piece that is 18″ wide x 48″ long from this you will rip 8 shelves that are 18″ long x 5 1/2″ wide shelves with your 48″ x 6″ rip it to 5 1/2″ then cut into 2- 18″ pieces.
Now chop saw them to 18″ so now you will have 11 pieces
Step #3: Assembly
Tip: I would recommend painting prior to assembly, but we waited until the end.
Next, you will glue the sides, top and bottom to the back. Then nail them all together so now you should have a box.
I attached the two long side pieces (5 1/2 x 44″) to the backing (19″ x 44″) with Gorilla Glue then turned it over to shoot some 18 gauge brad nails in for extra security.
Next, do the same with the end pieces. Make sure you have nailed and glued anywhere the wood comes together.
You should now have a box. Repeat these steps with the (5 1/2″ x 32″) and the backing (19″ x 32″)
After both boxes are done you can check to make sure they looking right.
On the back of the box, we measured and drew out the places where we wanted the shelves. This is so that later we could nail the shelves for the added strength.
Step #4: Shelving
Now measure your lines for the front and glue your shelves in.
We measured the inside of the box to match our measurements on the outside.
Our top box which was the smaller box measuring 32″ x 19″. Shelves were spaced 5″ from the top, 8 1/2″ from the top shelf and the next one was 16″
Our 2nd or bottom box outer measured 19″ x 44″ and the first shelf was 7″ from the top of the box then 8 1/2″ from that shelf, then another 8 1/2″ from the 2nd shelf and last shelf was 8 3/4″ from the prior.
We glued our shelves onto the lines that we had drawn and then turned the box over and nailed them as well.
Step #5: Finishing Touches
Next glue your lattice or paint stick to finish off the edges. I tacked these in place with a fine finish nail as well but just gluing it would be fine too.
Glue the facing on. The facing is the piece of wood that keeps the
For the front to keep your items on the shelf we used the large 5 gal paint stir sticks
Step #6: Hanging
We then took our bottom box and held it to the door where we wanted it and drilled a few holes.
Now to hang it.
I used hollow core door anchors to hang it
then stacked wood on the floor under my bottom unit so I could see exactly how far I wanted it off the floor. I propped the bottom unit on these props and pushed it up against the door. Then I used a level to make sure it was balanced properly. If you have paneled doors you will want to pay attention to where you place your screws and make sure they are not in the recessed areas on the door panels. Now screw where you would like your screws. Then remove your box and install the anchor into the hole you drilled on the door then put the item back up and screw it on.
I used four anchors for each unit.
Then we backed the screw out so we could add our drywall and stud anchors in the door and then I put the box back up and screwed it into the stud anchors.
Repeat this process with the top shelf.
Here is our final product, our custom pantry door. My wife is so happy its custom made just for her and now everything will have its place. 🙂
Finally, I painted.
There are many other alternatives you could use for this project if this seems an overwhelming task. Check out a few of these ideas here.