I recently went to my pantry to find something and ended up having to dig through piles of falling food boxes, hard to see cans and assorted food items slipping between the wire rack shelving. I had reached my limit of allowing this sorry excuse of a food cabinet to continue. It was time for a major overhaul and after 23 years of dealing with this chaos, I was determined to make this little corner of our kitchen functional and aesthetically pleasing.
This pantry was small and dark. It also contained your basic builder's grade wire rack shelving that allows items to fall between the gaps or tip to the right or left. I've renovated our master closet and know that these wire racks aren't the easiest to remove. They leave quite a wake of holes to patch, sand and paint. I decided to try the technique of building wood covers to lay right on top of them. In the long run, if this didn't work out, I could simply take the covers out and do the shelving. But I had faith!
I started by purchasing a sheet of 4x8 sanded poplar. I ripped it down with my table saw and hand saw to a slightly shorter width than necessary on each side to allow room for the right and left side brackets on the wire shelves. These wouldn't show since the pantry is so narrow. I should note here that, I would've loved to have expanded this pantry but there just simply wasn't anywhere to go!
After gluing on a 2 1/2" front face, I sanded the shelves down and put on a clear coat of polyurethane to let the wood grain come through. I simply laid them right over the existing wire racks! This part was easy, however the bigger challenge came next in building the over the door spice rack.
I drew up a sketch of all the features I wanted of the the spice rack. Then I took measurements of where I wanted them on the door. I made a cut list and cut the boards out of pine 1 x 4's. I chose pine because it's a lighter wood and I knew weight could be an issue. I sanded and stained the boards with a custom stain mixture of Minwax Golden Oak and Weathered Gray.
Using pocket holes, I attached the boards created what looked like a shelf that was skinny in the middle and open on the bottom. The frame was built to allow for room for the door knob in the middle.
On the bottom of the spice rack, I purchased a baggie organizer and screwed it into the frame. The stain color on it was a pretty close match. I also created a box to store our recyclable grocery store bags. Then I found an open front wood bin from Lowes, sawed it in half so it wouldn't stick out too far and screwed it into the frame to use as potato and onion storage.
I installed a beautiful new brushed gold door knob and spray painted the hinges gold as well.
The fun part of this diy was organizing the food and purchasing a variety of baskets and containers to store everything. For pastas and rice, I purchased BPA free plastic storage containers that seal tight and stack easily. They came with black labels if you want to label the items. I skipped the labeling however, I did write the expiration dates of the food on a piece of painter's tape and stuck it on the bottoms of each container.
I also found these pretty hyacinth baskets with open fronts for easy access to large snack or chip bags.
Lastly, it was time to hang the door. I found the studs on the hinge side of the door frame and made sure to use extra long screws that I drilled into the stud. Even though I used a light wood, this door still weighed 18 lbs and needed support!
The final result was better than I could've imagined. I feel like I got a brand new pantry! Everything is easy to find and perfectly organized. I wish I would've done this years sooner!
I hope this is just the inspiration you needed to start on your own pantry/spice rack design. I'd love to hear all about it!