How to Install DIY Pull Out Shelves for Your Kitchen Cabinets

  • Ella Jubaedah
  • Jun 08, 2023
How to Install DIY Pull Out Shelves for Your Kitchen Cabinets

Materials and Tools Needed for Building Pull Out Shelves

Do you find yourself struggling to reach items in the back of your kitchen cabinets? Do you have too many pots and pans cluttering your counter space? A DIY pull out shelf is your solution! With just a few materials and tools, you can create pull out shelves that will make organization and storage a breeze.


  • 1/2 inch thick plywood sheets
  • Drawer slides
  • Screws
  • Wood glue
  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Drawer knobs or handles (optional)


  • Circular saw or table saw
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Jigsaw
  • Clamps
  • Paintbrush
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Level

The first step in creating your own pull out shelves is to measure the dimensions of your cabinets. You will need to purchase plywood sheets in a size that will fit inside your cabinet. These sheets will serve as the base of your pull out shelf. As a general rule, each shelf should be no more than 36 inches wide to prevent sagging over time and allow for smooth movement on the drawer slides.

Next, cut the plywood sheets to the desired size using a circular or table saw. Sand the edges and surfaces of the plywood to remove any rough spots that could potentially damage the items you’ll store on the shelves.

The next step is installing the drawer slides. You will want to measure and mark where the slides will be placed on both the base of the cabinet and the pull out shelf. Screw the slides into place, using clamps to hold them steady as you work.

Now it’s time to connect the pull out shelf to the drawer slides. Insert the slide on the shelf into the slide on the base of the cabinet, and then use screws to attach the slide to the shelf. Repeat this step for the other side of the shelf, making sure to keep everything level as you work.

It is essential to use wood glue to strengthen the joints and prevent the shelf from falling apart over time. Use a paintbrush to apply the glue to the joints, then use clamps to hold everything in place while the glue dries.

Once the glue is dry, use wood filler to fill any gaps or holes in the joints and sand it down for a smooth finish. You can also add knobs or handles to the front of the shelf for a finished look.

Building your own pull out shelves may seem intimidating, but with the right materials and tools, it’s easier than you might think. With a little bit of effort, you can save money while creating storage solutions that will make your life easier.

Measuring and planning your pull out shelves for an organized pantry

When it comes to organizing your pantry, pull out shelves can be a game-changer. They can help you utilize every inch of your pantry and make it easy to access items that would otherwise be lost in the back. However, before you start building your pull out shelves, you need to plan and measure carefully. Here are a few things to keep in mind when measuring and planning your pull out shelves for an organized pantry.

Determine the Height of Your Pull Out Shelves

The first step in measuring for pull out shelves is to determine the height. This will depend on the height of the items you plan to store on the shelves. For example, if you plan to store cereal boxes or other tall items, you’ll want to make sure there’s enough clearance between the shelf and the top of the pantry. On the other hand, if you plan to store shorter items like spices, you can have shorter shelves.

Measure Your Pantry Space

Once you know the height of your pull out shelves, you can measure the space inside your pantry. Measure the width, depth, and height of your pantry, making sure to account for any obstructions like light fixtures or electrical outlets. When measuring, it’s important to be as accurate as possible since even a small difference in measurement can make a big difference in the fit of your shelves.

Determine the Number of Pull Out Shelves You Need

Next, you’ll need to determine the number of pull out shelves you need to install in your pantry. This will depend on the items you plan to store on the shelves and the height of those items. To get an idea of how many shelves you need, you can measure the height of the items you plan to store and divide the height of your pantry by that number. For example, if you plan to store items that are 4 inches tall and your pantry is 48 inches tall, you would need 12 shelves.

Decide on the Depth of Your Shelves

The depth of your pull out shelves will depend on the depth of your pantry. You want to make sure your shelves are deep enough to store the items you plan to store, but not so deep that you can’t reach items at the back. A depth of 12-18 inches is usually sufficient for most pantry items.

Consider the Type of Slides You Want to Use

Finally, you’ll need to decide on the type of slides you want to use for your pull out shelves. There are two main types of slides: full-extension and partial-extension. Full-extension slides allow you to pull the shelf all the way out of the pantry, making it easier to access items at the back. Partial-extension slides only pull the shelf out part-way, which can be sufficient for items that you use frequently.

Measuring and planning your pull out shelves is an important step in creating an organized pantry. By taking the time to measure carefully and plan ahead, you’ll be able to create shelves that fit perfectly in your space and make it easy to access all of your pantry items.

Step-by-step instructions for building and installing pull out shelves

Adding pull out shelves to your cabinets can make accessing your items much easier. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on professionally made pull out shelves, then you can choose to DIY your own. Here are some step-by-step instructions to help you build and install pull out shelves yourself.

1. Measure and Cut Your Shelves

The first step is to measure your cabinet to determine the size of your shelves. Take accurate measurements of the inside of your cabinet, and then plan your shelves so they will fit snugly inside the cabinet. You can use a circular saw or a table saw to cut your plywood sheet to the desired size. Make sure to sand down the edges of the shelves after cutting to ensure a smooth finish.

2. Drill Holes for the Rollers

Next, drill holes for the drawer slides or rollers on the sides of your shelves. The drawer slides should be mounted flush to the bottom of the shelves and should be spaced evenly along both sides of the shelf. Each hole should be an equal distance from the edge of the shelf to ensure the drawer slides are properly aligned.

Once you have drilled the holes, you can attach the drawer slides onto the underside of each shelf. Make sure the rollers are positioned on the appropriate side of the shelf to allow for easy sliding in and out of the cabinet. Test the shelves to ensure they glide smoothly and make any necessary adjustments before moving on to the next step.

3. Install the Pull Out Shelves

Now, it’s time to install your pull out shelves. Start by removing all items from the cabinet and cleaning it out. Place the bottom shelf into the base of the cabinet and make sure it fits snugly. Then, gently slide the shelf in and out of the cabinet to test its fit and movements. Repeat this step for each shelf that you have built.

When installing the shelves, it is important to pay attention to the spacing and alignment of the drawer slides. If the slides are not properly aligned, the shelves may not glide in and out smoothly or they may even become stuck. To avoid this, make sure the slides are evenly spaced and level.

After all the shelves are installed, test the entire unit by sliding each shelf in and out to ensure smooth operation. If you find any issues, refer back to previous steps to make necessary adjustments. Now you can fill your pull out shelves with all of your items and enjoy the benefit of easier access to your stored items.


Building and installing pull out shelves does require a bit of woodworking experience, but it is a very achievable task for most people. With just a few tools and simple instructions, you can make your own pull out shelves and customize them to your specific cabinet space and storage needs. Follow these step-by-step instructions, and you’ll be able to upgrade your kitchen cabinets with ease and convenience.

Tips for Customizing and Maximizing the Storage Space of Your Pull Out Shelves

DIY pull out shelves are essential for organizing kitchen cabinets, pantries, and under-sink cupboards. Not only do they help utilize every inch of storage space, but they also make it easier to access items at the back of the cabinet. With a few customization tips, you can make the most out of your pull-out shelves and enjoy optimal storage space.

1. Determine Your Storage Needs

Before customizing your pull out shelves, take inventory of what you want to store and how much space you need. For instance, if you need to store pots and pans or bulky items like crockpots, then you may need deeper pull out shelves. Alternatively, if you want to store smaller items like spices or canned goods, then you may need less depth but more shelves to maximize vertical space.

Depending on your needs, consider installing pull-out wire baskets or adding hooks to hang items like dish rags or utensils. Adding customized dividers can also help keep items organized and prevent them from moving around when opening and closing the drawer.

2. Measure Your Space

Before you start customizing your pull out shelves, measure your cabinet or pantry to ensure the shelves will fit correctly. The last thing you want is to build or buy shelves that don’t fit and have to start the project all over again. Measure the width, depth, and height of the cabinet, and take into consideration any obstructions like pipes or outlets.

Once you have the measurements, you can shop around for pre-made pull-out shelves or build your own using plywood, nails, screws, and drawer slides. Building your own shelves gives you the freedom to customize the depth, width, and height to your preference, ensuring you get the most out of your storage space.

3. Label and Organize Your Shelves

Labeling and organizing your pull out shelves may seem like a no-brainer, but it can make a significant difference in how you store and access items. Labeling each shelf is especially crucial in larger pantries where you may have many similar items stored together.

You can label shelves with adhesive labels, chalkboard paint, or use a label maker. Organizing items by category is also helpful, for example, snacks, baking goods, canned goods, and spices. Using clear containers or jars to store items keeps them fresh and makes it easy to see what’s inside each container. Grouping items together by similar size or shape can also make it easier to optimize space within a pull out shelf.

4. Install Rolling Drawers and Baskets

If you want to maximize your storage space further, consider installing rolling drawers and baskets. These additional storage solutions provide easy access to items stored at the back of the cabinet, making it easier to organize and find what you need.

You can install wire baskets to hold larger items or sliding drawers to store small items. If installing drawers, be sure to choose the correct size to ensure it fits correctly with the existing pull out shelf. You can also buy rolling drawers with adjustable heights or customize the height by building your own.

Installing rolling baskets or drawers not only maximizes your storage space, but it also reduces the risk of forgotten and expired items stored at the back of the cabinet. These rolling solutions make it easy to see what you have in stock and restock when necessary, making for a more efficient and organized space.


Customizing and maximizing the storage space of your pull out shelves doesn’t have to be complicated. With a little planning and attention to detail, you can fully utilize every inch of available cabinet space. Creating custom pull out shelves, labeling, and organizing items, and installing rolling drawers or baskets can optimize your space and create an efficient and organized home.

Maintaining and adjusting your DIY pull out shelves for long-lasting use

Now that you have successfully installed your DIY pull out shelves, it is important to know how to maintain and adjust them to ensure they last for a long time and continue to function properly.

1. Cleaning

One of the simplest ways to maintain your pull out shelves is by cleaning them regularly. Wipe down the shelves and the tracks with a damp cloth or sponge to remove any dust or debris. This helps to prevent any build-up of dirt that can clog up the tracks and hinder the smooth movement of the shelves.

2. Lubrication

Another way to keep the shelves functioning smoothly is to use a lubricant on the tracks. Make sure to use a lubricant that is safe to use on metal surfaces, and not a household cleaner. Apply the lubricant sparingly and wipe away any excess to prevent any build-up that can cause the shelves to stick.

3. Adjusting

After prolonged use, your pull out shelves may require some simple adjustments. Check to see that the shelves are level and adjust them if they are not. You can also adjust the height of the shelves to accommodate your specific storage needs. Simply unscrew the shelf from the bracket, move it to the desired height, and re-screw it into place.

4. Preventing Damage

To prevent damage to your pull out shelves, avoid overloading them past their weight limit. Make sure to distribute the weight evenly across the shelves and avoid placing heavy objects on the front or back of the shelf. Also, be careful not to place any sharp objects on the shelves that could scratch or damage the surface.

5. Repairing Damage

If your pull out shelves experience damage, don’t worry, they can be repaired easily. Small scratches or nicks can be filled in with a wood filler and sanded down to blend with the surrounding surface. If the shelves become dented, remove the shelf from the bracket, place it on a flat surface and gently tap out the dent with a hammer and a block of wood. If the damage is more severe, you may need to replace the shelf altogether.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your DIY pull out shelves remain fully functional for a long time to come. Regular cleaning, lubrication, and adjustments can help keep these shelves working well and avoiding damage can prevent the need for costly repairs or replacement. So go ahead and enjoy the convenience and organization that these shelves can bring to your kitchen, pantry, or closet with peace of mind!

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