DIY blogger Chelsey Andrews and her husband built the cutest mini pantry you’ve ever seen. It’s a very clever storage solution for their small kitchen. It’s not only quite functional, though. With its hand stamped wall pattern and sliding door, the pantry adds to the kitchen’s visual appeal, too. Here’s how she built her mini pantry, including a clever solution for building shelves in a house with uneven floors. (And look at the end of the article for the free downloadable kitchen poster you see in Chelsey’s kitchen.)
Our little 950 sq. ft. house was built in 1920 and came with exactly one closet, in my daughter’s room (that doesn’t really help with everyday storage). Since adding more space to our home is not currently in our budget, we need to get creative with what we have.
There’s a little (seriously little) space in the kitchen that we decided to makeover and turn into the smallest of pantries. The space itself is 82 in. wide by 98 in. high and 8½ in. deep. This little spot in the kitchen has been a crazy catch-all for years, especially after we added an open bookcase that slowly turned into the space to throw random things. Well, we got tired of that mess, and today I want to introduce you to our lovely mini pantry! Of course, we had to do a bit of work before the pantry could happen.
Prepping the Space
After we cleared out all the junk, we measured the space and got to designing our mini-pantry. We knew the pantry storage would need to be located on the right side of the wall, since there’s a door on the left. That door leads to our laundry room and is closed 95 percent of the time, so we weren’t too worried about the sliding door getting in the way.
We washed the walls with soap and water and let them dry and then painted them.
I knew I wanted most of the kitchen walls white, but I liked the idea of adding color on this one cute wall behind our mini pantry. We decided to stamp the wall with handmade stamps.
I have been in LOVE with the clementine stamped wall by A Beautiful Mess, so I decided to make my own version. I made the stamps out of a foam panel, utility knife, a Dremel Rotary Tool, and using the citrus illustration I made as a template.
You can head on over to this post if you want to see exactly how I made the stamps and the whole wall stamping/painting process. Plus, you can download the printable to make your own stamps for your wall at home. Maybe instead of oranges you could make grapefruit, limes, or lemons?
DIY Mini Pantry
Next, it was time to get things started for the pantry itself.
Supplies I Used for This Project
- 1 Cute old door
- ½ gallon BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Botanical Tint paint
- 1 set sliding door hardware
- 6 – ½-in x 6-in. hex lag screws
- 2 – 4-in. x 4-in. – 8ft. fir beams
- 3 – ⅛-in. thick – 2-ft. x 4-ft. project boards
- ½-in. wood nails
- 3 – 1-in. x 3-in. x 8-ft. Furring strip boards
- 2 – 21/32 in. x 24-in. x 6-ft. edge-glued boards
- 6 self-closing overlay hinges
- 3 cupboard handles
- 2 – ¾-in. x 10-ft. Galanized steel pipe
- 35 – ¾-in. Galvanized floor flanges
- 3 – 1-in. x 6-in. x 8-ft. Common Boards
- A box of wood screws
- 1-in. Hole Saw drill bit
Step 1: The Pantry Door and Support
First up was to find the perfect door for this project. We knew we wanted an old door, but we had to find it first.
We went to a local store in Portland, Oregon that sells old building materials, The Rebuilding Center. We found a solid wood door with hardware dated “1925” and the coolest octagonal-shaped window (I think the window was probably added later). We loved it.
We used a 1/2 gallon of BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Botanical Tint to paint the door. The window trim was painted white.
When our door was painted, we could start to build the sliding door support. This space started with just a flat wall, so we needed to build out a support to have some space to create this mini pantry.
To figure out the height we attached the sliding door hardware to the door and measured from the bottom of the door to the installed rollers. We added an inch to this measurement so the door would float just above the floor.
This measurement gave us the height measurement we needed to place the support beams (the slider rail would go right in the center of the support).
My husband installed two 4-in. x 4-in. x 8-ft. fir beams at the height we needed. To make this secure, he found the studs in the wall and used three ½-in. x 6-in. hex lag screws to install the first beam into the wall. Then he screwed the second beam into the first beam with three more hex lag screws.
We used one project board and some wood nails to cover up the front/bottom of the exposed beams and the hex lag bolts. We painted the project boards white, then installed the sliding door rail onto the finished support beams, following the product instructions.
Step 2 – The Cupboards
Our original idea for the space above the sliding door was to use it as an open shelf, but we made a last-minute decision to turn the space into a mini cupboard. It’s a very small space, but it’s perfect for all those random items we don’t use very often (like giant platters).
To do this my husband measured the cupboard space and used three furring strip boards to build the cupboard door frame. When he was done building it, he used wood screws to install the frame right above the support/sliding door hardware.
Just like the track support, we used a project board and wood nails to cover up the front of the cupboard frame, and used wood putty along the cracks. When the putty was dry, we painted the whole thing white.
We made our own cupboard doors using two edge-glued boards. We cut them to the size we needed, painted them white, and then installed them using six self-closing overlay hinges (two hinges per door).
Step 3 – The Pantry Shelves
When the support beam was finished, we got to work on the fun part: the pantry shelves. This was a bit of a challenge since we realized our old house is not perfect. The height from floor to ceiling is different everywhere. We’ll just call this “old house charm” for now. This little “old house charm” meant we needed a couple more inches of pipe height on one side of shelving, and a couple inches less on the other side. Once we figured out all the odd measurements, we could finalize our shelf design.
There are a ton of different ways we could have installed these shelves, and it took us quite a while to figure out exactly what we wanted to do. With a bit of trial and error, we came up with our shelving plan. We looked through our cupboards and measured all the items we wanted to go in our mini pantry. We figured out that most canned goods will fit in a 6 in. high space, and most wine bottles/olive oils need about 14 in. With those two measurements being our tallest and shortest shelf heights, we just picked out random heights from there.
Did you know that The Home Depot will cut and thread pipe for you? It’s just a small cost for each cut. We purchased two galvanized steel pipes for shelf support and our local Home Depot store cut them up into all the sizes we needed.
When the pipes were ready, we prepped the boards for the shelves. We used three common boards for the shelves. My husband cut the boards out to the lengths we needed, then he used a 1 in. hole saw drill bit to drill holes into our shelves about 3 inches in from each edge and one hole right in the center (do this to all the boards except for the board that will be at the bottom of the shelving system). These holes are for putting the pipes through. We painted the boards white after everything was cut and drilled.
Step 4 – Installing the Shelves
There are many different ways we could have put together a pipe shelving unit, but we found this was the best design for us. We chose to use galvanized flanges for our shelf supports. The flange can be installed onto the bottom of the shelf using wood screws, centering the flange hole over the wood holes that we cut out earlier. Then, each pipe cutting can screw into the top and bottom of the flange hole.
1. Starting from the bottom, we installed four flanges into the floor and screwed the pipe pieces into the installed floor flanges.
2. Next, we screwed on four flanges into the installed floor pipes (the flat side of these flanges should be on top). Place a board on top of these flanges and use wood screws to secure the board to the flanges.
3. Place the next board on top of the installed board and use a pencil to mark the center of each drilled hole in the board. Use wood screws to install three flanges, centered, over your marked pencil spots.
4. Screw in the next set of pipes into the installed flanges, through the board holes, and screw three flanges onto the pipes (the flat side of these flanges should be on top).
5. Place the next board on the flanges and use wood screws to attach the flanges to the next board.
6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 until your shelving system to the top!
7. Use wood screws to install the final three flanges into the bottom of the support.
Tip: if you get to the top of your shelves and you’re off by a couple inches, don’t worry! You can always use a pipe extension (also known as a coupling)!
My husband and are definitely teaching ourselves how to makeover our home, so it’s a lot of trial and error. Don’t let the mistakes bring you down, learn from them and keep going!
Did you notice the kitchen print I have in the pantry? Well, I made one to share with all of you! You can print it out on a 16 in. x 20 in. sheet of paper (I went to a local printer), or resize and print it smaller at home. Click here to download your free copy! Just in case you can’t read what it says in the image it says, “Kitchen: the room where food lives.” It’s silly and ready to hang out in your home!
Happy home makeovers to you.
Chelsey Andrews writes about DIY projects, crafting, food and style on her blog, The Paper Mama.
The Home Depot can help you with your organization needs. Browse our Kitchen Storage Department for everything you need to keep your kitchen well organized. Browse The Home Depot’s online Plumbing Department for everything you need for your next pipe shelving project.