How to build and install a pull out pantry style storage cabinet

Posted on: February 11th, 2013 by Sandra Powell 37 Comments

I built pullout pantry style storage cabinets in my laundry room because my cabinets are 36″ deep.   36″ is a lot of storage room.  The problem is the items in the back would be difficult to reach and I don’t want to have to move all the front items out of the way to reach deep in the back.  That would be a pain!  So, pull out pantry style it is.

pull out storage cabinet free plans

I  built the outside “housing” cabinets first.  Remembering that my cabinets are 36″ deep, I had to buy (pretty expensive) drawer slides to accommodate that depth.  I purchased 250lb weight capacity, full extension slides that require 3/4″ space for installation.  You should buy your drawer slides before you begin so you can build your cabinet parts to your own specifications.  Most common slides only require 1/2″ clearance but you never want to assume anything.  Order your hardware first and build to fit.

Here are the specifics on MY cabinet member.

Pullout storage cabinet

And with the faceframe attached.

free plans- pullout storage cabinet tutorial

Now for the pullout inside cabinet:

I built mine out of 1/2″ plywood with a 3/4″ faceframe.  I attached one side to all the shelves first.  I glued and screwed.  No need to hide the screws because there will be a door front attached so you won’t see any of the fasteners.

free plans- pullout storage cabinet tutorial

Second, I attached the second side in the same manner:  glue and screws.

free plans- pullout storage cabinet tutorial

Attach the back with glue and screws making sure to square up the entire “box” first.

free plans- pullout storage cabinet tutorial

I built my faceframe out of 1×2 lumber with pocket hole screws using my Kreg jig.

free plans- pullout storage cabinet tutorial

Then attach the faceframe with pocket hole screws.  Again, none of these fasteners will be seen once the door is attached.    free plans- pullout storage cabinet tutorial

Now attach your drawer slides.  Mine are 3/4″ wide,  36″ long, heavy duty,  250-500 lb weight capacity drawer glides.

Follow the installation instructions on your specific drawer slides.  On mine, the slides were installed flush to the front of each cabinet part.

*I used a spacer to ensure that I installed the drawer slides exactly the same distance apart on both the cabinet parts.Installing glides in cabinet

I set my pullout cabinet member on top of a 1/2″ board and then installed my bottom slide flush with the floor.  I wanted 1/2″ clearance on the bottom of my housing cabinet so my pullout cabinet wouldn’t drag when I try to pull  it out.

Installing drawer part of slide

Then used the same spacer that I used in the housing cabinet to ensure my glides were in the exact right location.

Spacer to install cab parts of slides


Make sure you leave yourself some clearance on the FRONT of your pullout cabinet too.  You don’t want it hitting the housing cabinet when you pull it out.

 free plans- pullout storage cabinet tutorial


Now all you have to do is build a door, attach it and use your AWESOME pullout pantry style storage cabinet to your hearts content!

free plans- pullout storage cabinet tutorial


Drawer Slides:  I SEARCHED far and wide for affordable drawer glides.  I found mine from for $36 per pair which is unbelievable.  Every other site I looked at sold them for over $100 per pair.  It’s a crazy good deal– I don’t know how long they will be that price or how long they will last but as of right now, (1-19-2013) they are $36.

Pocket hole jig:  I have the Kreg Jr Pocket Hole Jig.  It is portable and I can use it in my shop or on the worksite.  It runs around $40.



If you liked this tutorial, you might also enjoy my tutorial to build a pull out sweater drying rack.

how to build a pull out drying rack

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37 thoughts on “How to build and install a pull out pantry style storage cabinet

  1. Carri says:

    Can the face frame be done with glue & nail gun?

  2. Carri says:

    BTW…. GREAT SITE!!! Will definately be visiting more often :D

  3. Vicki says:

    Love your site. Very easy to follow. I now feel empowered to do my own. Thank you for sharing all. Including where you bought your slides and what kind of tool you used.

  4. Lorene says:

    Ah! This is a perfect solution to my deep cupboard “pantry”. Mine is only 24″ deep, but with things like canned food in there, I am always losing things and it’s difficult to keep rotated. I have looked and look for ideas and then ran across this on Pinterest and it was like an epiphany! Angels are singing hallelujah :) Now I just have to get my very DIY beginner self to figure out what measurements we’ll need and get the courage to actually do it! I am sure I will be back with questions since I know nothing…

  5. diane says:

    Need a 2 inch filler cabinet to put between cabinet and wall. Could this be use for this purpose?

    • Sandra says:

      By the time you subtract the material, you’d only have 1 1/4″ of cabinet and that’s without faceframe which doesn’t seem like enough function to warrant the time and expense of building the cabinet. But lot’s of people love their pull out spice racks so it’s ultimately up to you.

  6. Magdalena says:

    Thanks for the wonderful directions!

    I have been dreaming about having pull out cabinets under the poorly designed storage under my stairs…it frustrates me to have to use the small 3 ft by 3 ft doorway and crawl in to get items stored way in the back…no matter how organized they are. So, this will be my next project, after I complete the batten and board project. :) You are an inspiration!

  7. Bruce says:

    Building a similar arrangement….the backside of my pullout is close to a wall, basically the face door will just clear the wall….so my question is, will I need to reach in behind to release the glides to totally remove the unit if need be? If so, guess I better leave more clearance for my fingers! Or do they “release” by just tilting up a bit, pulling harder, or…..???
    BTW, looks like the glides are still at the good price! And thanks for an excellent tutorial!

  8. Tom says:

    I love this project. How did you attach the cabinet to the wall though? On 12 inch deep wall cabinets I can see that you would just hang off the back. But these cabinets would have an awful lot of weight to hang just off the back wall. I would think that you would attach to the side walls, however, you don’t seem to make note of that. The faceframe on the wall side sticks out a bit, preventing you from screwing through the plywood sides and into the wall. Did you put a spacer inbetween the cabinet side and the wall?

    Did you use a french cleat on the side? That might actually be a cool solution…

    • Tom says:

      Sorry, I should have seen in the picture that there is a big shelf there.

      I was hoping to do this project with some open shelves in between. I have a ceiling HVAC vent near the rear wall, so I am trying to avoid having to move that. I was thinking about two of these cabinets in the corners with some open shelving between.

      Do you think that a french cleat on the side would work for this? I have a couple of studs on the side walls that I could tap into. I could also get a screw into the back wall. Or would this just be too much weight to hang on the wall altogether?

      Thanks so much. You are such an amazing inspiration!

  9. Dustin says:

    @Sandra How do you feel about the quality of these slides? There’s such a wide range of prices on drawer slides I worry about the feel and longevity of cheaper ones like these.

  10. dan says:

    I building a 2 36 wide and 36″ deep shelves. I got the extra heavy duty full pull out sliders from lee valley tools

    The cabinets is part of my wife’s cedar pantry. I will mounting a sheet of plywood to the sliders then putting on adjustable metal black metal shelves that are 6″x 36 long . I got the shelves at solutions