How to Build Custom Pantry Shelves

See how to build and install these custom pantry shelves in just one afternoon.

organized shelves in kitchen pantry
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 day
  • Total Time: 1 day
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

A pantry may never be the prettiest room in your home, but that shouldn't stop you from trying to make it look beautiful and work as hard as it possibly can. These simple, crisp white shelves act as the foundation to better organize your pantry items and customize your storage space. Below, we'll show you just how to plan an efficient pantry and install off-the-shelf boards to make the most of your pantry.

This kitchen got a head-to-toe makeover in just one weekend. See the rest of the projects.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Stud finder
  • Table saw
  • Cordless drill and bit


  • 11-inch deep laminated wood shelves
  • 15-inch deep laminated wood shelves
  • 3/4X1-1/2-inch wood trim
  • 1-1/2-inch screws
  • 1-inch screws
  • H-channel corner shelf brackets
  • 24 shelf brackets with hardware
  • Self-adhesive screw hole covers


  1. Plan Out Shelf Placement

    Plan out how you want your shelves to be installed in the pantry. We installed two 15-inch-deep shelves at the bottom and left 16-18 inches of shelf space between each shelf for storing large items like cereal boxes, tall bottles, and small appliances. The top four shelves are 11-inches deep: The middle two shelves are installed 12 inches apart and the top two shelves are installed 10 inches apart. The shallow shelves make it easier to locate items at or above eye level.

    Use a measuring tape, long level, and pencil to mark the location of your shelves. Use a stud finder to locate the studs to ensure the shelves are attached as securely as possible.

    Editor's tip: If you plan to have a microwave in your pantry, consider the depth and height of the shelf in the spot you want to place it. Our shelf is 15 inches deep and 12 inches tall and includes a nearby outlet. We recommend hiring an electrician to install a new outlet, if needed.

  2. Cut Shelves and Support Boards

    The shelves should be purchased precut to the proper width, but you'll need to customize the length to fit in your pantry. Measure the length of the walls and then cut shelves to size. If you're installing shelves on adjacent walls, like ours, factor the corner into your measurements. We created a butt joint in our pantry, eliminating the need for angled cuts.

    While you're having the shelves cut to size, make sure to also have the 3/4x1-1/2-inch trim cut to the perimeter of each wall you're installing shelves. This trim will go under each shelf and serve as a support board. We'll show you how to install it later on.

  3. Install Support Boards and Shelves

    Attach the support boards along the lines marked in Step 1. Keep the level handy to make sure your support boards are installed evenly. Use the drill and 1-1/2-inch screws to secure the boards to the wall, making sure to sink into studs when possible.

    Once the support boards are installed, attach the shelves. Use the 1-inch screws and drill from the top down through the support boards. Run the H-channel corner shelf brackets in the corner where the two shelves meet. Secure self-adhesive screw hole covers to conceal the screws.

  4. kitchen pantry spices food canisters
    Jason Donnelly

    Install Brackets

    With the support boards and shelves securely attached, use a cordless drill and 1-1/2-inch screws to install the vertical support pieces that support the shelf brackets. The support brackets should be aligned vertically on a stud for a cohesive look. These support pieces should be cut to fit the height of the bracket. Install the brackets using a drill and provided screws.

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