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DIY Pantry Shelves

Our pantry closet had ugly wire shelving that I really didn’t like so I decided to make DIY pantry shelves with wood to make the shelves more functional and pretty!

DIY Pantry Shelves with stained wood shelves and painted white trim

Every closet in our house has wire shelving and I can’t stand the look of them or how things easily fall through the wire gaps or how smaller items fall over on them. In our small master bathroom renovation, I replaced the wire shelving with custom DIY built in shelves and a cabinet. For our pantry though, I wanted to keep the shelving more simple with some stained DIY wood pantry shelves with simple white trim.

Further, our pantry was in desperate need of a pantry makeover and organization. Here is an embarrassing BEFORE photo of our messy, unorganized pantry:

before pantry photo with wire shelving and unorganized mess in the pantry

How could I not makeover this closet haha?!

Below I’m sharing how to build pantry shelves along with a how-to video!. I built five 29″ shelves, but keep in mind the measurements and supplies you need will be custom to your space. So, adjust accordingly! I’ll share the measurements for my shelves so you can see how I cut everything for a reference.

Also, this is a very affordable project, these 5 wood shelves cost just under $50 to make!

Note, this post contains some affiliate links. For more info see my disclosures here.

How to build DIY pantry shelves:

Materials Needed:

Tools Needed:

***Note: Adjust materials and cuts for your custom pantry size! These quantities and measurements are based on five 29″ wood shelves. Also, 1x12s are 11 1/4″ wide so that will be the depth of the shelves.

Video tutorial:

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1. Clear pantry out and remove wire shelves

Begin by clearing all items of your pantry out and then removing the wire shelves or any other type of shelving that you have in your pantry.

Our wire shelves were hung with huge anchors, so we had to pry them out with a pry bar. This left large holes which we had to fill with spackle and sand on the sides. But, since I was putting the new wood shelves in the same spot as the old ones, I knew the holes on the back wall would be covered so I didn’t bother filling those holes. I just sanded them some so my new shelf supports would sit flat against the wall.

wire shelving and anchors removed from pantry wall

2. Cut DIY wood pantry shelves to size and stain

Measure the width of your pantry wall, mine was just about 29″. Cut your DIY pantry shelves to this width from the 1×12 boards with a miter saw or circular saw. Or have your home improvement store make the cuts for you! Make sure to sand the wood boards well too!

wood pantry shelves cut to size

Then, go ahead and stain your DIY wood pantry shelves, I used this stain color, it’s one of my favorite stain colors! For tips on staining, check out my how to stain wood tutorial. After letting the boards fully dry, I added 2 coats of polyurethane for extra protection in case any pantry items leak.

staining wood DIY pantry shelves

While the boards are drying, move onto the next step…

3. Cut the 1×2 pantry shelf supports to size

Cut the back pantry shelf supports (from the 1x2s) to the same size as your wood pantry shelves. I cut five 1x2s at 29″ for my back supports. Then, I cut five more (so total of ten) for the front trim pieces that will go under the shelves in the front.

Next, cut the 1×2 side supports. Because a 1×12 board is 11 1/4″ wide and the back support is going against the wall first and a front trim piece will go under the shelf, your side supports should be cut to 9 3/4″ long (11 1/4″ – 3/4″ – 3/4″ = 9 3/4″). Since I had 5 shelves, I cut ten side supports at 9 3/4″ long.

Pantry shelf supports cut to size from 1x2 boards

4. Attach supports to wall for DIY pantry shelves

Use a a pencil and mark where you want your pantry shelves to be hung on the wall. I kept the same location as my old shelves and allowed for 11″ between the top and bottom of each shelf.

Attach your back wall shelf supports to the wall first using a level to ensure they are level. I first attached my boards with a brad nailer to hold them in place since I was installing them by myself.

attach pantry shelf support to wall with level and brad nailer first

Then, I used a stud finder to locate the wall studs and drilled a screw through the supports into the wall stud to make them extra secure.

secure DIY pantry shelves support boards into pantry wall stud with a drill and screw

Repeat the above steps for the side support boards. For these boards I had to use my mini level to fit. Also, if you don’t have a wall stud on one of the walls, you can use wall anchors.

use a mini level for pantry shelf side wall support boards

5. Fill holes and paint pantry supports and wall

Fill any nail holes and screw holes with spackle. Although these holes won’t really show, I still filled the ones at eye level. Then, I painted the whole closet in Alabaster by Sherwin Williams (eggshell finish).

Also, at this point I painted my five 1×2 front trim boards too. Allow the paint to fully dry.

6. Attach DIY pantry shelves to support boards and add front trim boards

Start from the bottom and place your DIY wood pantry shelves on top of the supports. After placing each shelf down, use a clamp to hold the 1×2 front trim board underneath of the stained shelf and secure it in place with a brad nailer and 1 1/4″ brad nails.

Lastly, secure the stained shelf boards in place with brad nails through the top edges of them into the support braces. Continue this process for each board.

place diy wood pantry shelves on top of shelf supports

secure diy pantry shelves to front trim boards with brad nailer and clamp

That’s it! I think it looks way better than wire shelves and I can’t wait to organize our pantry items on our new DIY pantry shelves!

Here is a before and after comparison:

wire shelves in pantry before makeover with new shelves

DIY Pantry Shelves with closet door open

I hope this tutorial on how to build pantry shelves has been helpful!! Check out my final small pantry organization makeover and my DIY Pantry labels too!

Follow along for my latest projects and sneak peaks on Instagram and YouTube!

up close photo of DIY Pantry Shelves with stained wood shelves



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Wednesday 19th of August 2020

Just wanted to say thank you. We used your idea and tweaked it some to work for ours and was fantastic, wish I could upload Photos to share.

Angela Marie Made

Thursday 20th of August 2020

Thank you so much, that makes me so happy to hear. Feel free to share photos on social media @angelamariemade :) I would love to see them!


Sunday 9th of August 2020

Just completed this project over the weekend! First solo project and it was a success. Thank you for the clear instructions!

Angela Marie Made

Sunday 9th of August 2020

Thank you for the feedback!

Andie Comala

Sunday 12th of July 2020

Love the idea! Thank you for sharing and being very detailed :)

xo Andie

Angela Marie Made

Thursday 16th of July 2020

Thank you!

Doug Mouton

Thursday 25th of June 2020

For the record, I am a DIY Moron, but I followed your instructions and my pantry came out spectacular. The only thing I didn't do was the trim on the from the shelves. Honestly, I loved the wood on white and my space is so small I didn't want to loose the inches on the overhang.

I bought one giant pine board for $31.99 and used roughly half of it to make six shelves. Stained them in the Minwax Early American (one of the stains you recommended) and it really came out great.

Your instructions were clear and easy to follow. LOVED the links to everything you used, I had to buy a Stud Finder and a Pry Bar.

My pantry was infinitely worse than yours when I started, and it now looks great. I wish I could post a picture, but thanks a ton. Doug

Angela Marie Made

Monday 29th of June 2020

That's awesome to hear!! I'm glad it was helpful! It sounds like it turned out beautiful!


Monday 16th of March 2020

Wondering what type of wood you used for your actual shelves. White oak plywood?

Angela Marie Made

Tuesday 17th of March 2020

I used knotty pine, it was the most affordable option that looked the nicest at the home improvement store.

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