How to Make Pull-Out Shelves for Kitchen Cabinets

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON:
I feel like our kitchen is fairly convenient to use except when it comes to the things stored in our base cabinets.  I've got to practically get down on my knees even to peer inside. And most of the time, if I want something in the back, it means first unloading what's up front.  I was sure there must be a solution to this. So I went on line looking for one and came across a product called Quick Tray. The manufacturer claims it's easy to install, can be fitted to just about any opening -

- and offers adjustable shelf spacing.  I've decided to give it a try. Step one for me is removing the doors and the narrow half shelf that's nailed into the cabinet.   Then I take out the drawers so I'll have better lighting visibility while I'm working.

This base cabinet was set up with 5 rather narrow individual doors and I was going to put 5 sets of pull out shelves in here. But then I got to thinking that each one of those shelves is going to be so narrow that I really couldn't put larger objects on it.

So what I've decided to do is to remove this vertical space frame here and this one.  That will leave me with wide pull out shelves here and here and just one set of narrow shelves right here in the middle.   Because of the granite countertop, I decided I'd better do some reinforcing if I'm going to remove those vertical supports.

I first apply glue to a strip of oak, then slip the piece of wood up behind the rail that forms the top of the cabinet opening.  A few clamps hold it in place - while I secure it from the inside with screws.  With the reinforcing strip in place, I can now cut away the vertical face frame sections using a Japanese handsaw.

I want to try and save these since I may be able to reuse them later on.  This system uses 4 support posts or pilasters for each pair of sliding shelves.  I attach the first one to the side of the cabinet, the front.  On the left side because there's no cabinet wall, I'm installing this partition.  Once it's in place, I attach the left front support post to it.   I'll also need a partition in the rear of the cabinet to make up for the non-existent wall.

Next, I snap two drawer glides into slots on the rear support post.  Set the whole assembly in place and snap the opposite ends of the glides into the corresponding slots on the front support post. This method makes sure that everything's in alignment so I can go ahead and screw in the rear supports.

Then I repeat the process with the left side of the cabinet.  Well that finishes the work on the base cabinets.  Now I'm going to go on out to the ship and start building the slide-out shelves.  Now this is the shelf kit that comes with the system.

It consists of a front, a back, two sides, a bottom and some glides. Now the interesting thing about this kit is that it can be sized to fit just about any opening.  Let me show you how it works.  My first step is to cut the front and back of the shelf to length, based on the size of cabinet opening.

I also trim the bottom shelf to the same dimension.  The front and back have dovetail slots cut along their entire length.  The sides have matching dovetails cut into the ends.  Once the front and back have been cut to the desired length, the sides simply slip into the grooves.

To assemble the sliding shelf, I brush glue on the dovetails - push the parts together, then tap them into position.  With the frame complete, I apply glue to the edges - set the bottom in place.  And secure it with screws. The final step is to attach the metal glides.

The rolling shelves install in seconds. Later, they can be easily repositioned to accommodate whatever I wish to store on them. This slip resistant shelf liner will keep any contents from sliding around when the shelves are opened and closed.

The last thing I have to do is remount the doors.  I attach the frame section I removed earlier to the backside so that when closed, the cabinet doors will look the same as before.  You know I've made a lot of improvements in this kitchen, but this is one of my favorites.

Remember this shelf.  If you could even see it, it was about 12 inches wide and tucked way up in the back of the base cabinet.  I've doubled its size and everything slides out now to meet me.  Same with this bottom shelf.  No more getting down on my hands and knees and looking back up there.

I can stand on my feet and everything presents itself to me.  Now if I want to change the shelf position, all I have to do is unhook the door glide, reposition it and snap it back in place. And over here for example what I've done is put this shelf way down on the bottom to accommodate the tall bottles.

And then up here, it's a shallow shelf for some accessories.  You know what I've learned from all this - that sometimes getting more storage space in my kitchen is not a matter of adding more cabinets, but getting more use out of the ones I already have.

Purchase a Kit and Use Your Know-how to Install Roll-out Shelves in Your Kitchen Cabinets

Widen your narrow cabinet openings to accommodate larger objects without damaging the cabinet doors or changing their appearance. Install sliding-shelf kits that you purchase, cut to size, and install in your kitchen cabinets for extra storage and easy access to items at the back. The kits join with dove-tailed sides and a tray bottom that is secured with screws.

The QuikTray rollout system is available online from quickdrawers.com.
The do-it-yourself rolling shelf kit can be found online at RollingShelves.com.

Remove Doors and Fixed Shelves from Cabinets
Step 1

Remove Doors and Fixed Shelves from Cabinets

Remove doors, hardware, and any fixed shelves from the cabinets where you will install roll-out shelves. Temporarily take out drawers above the cabinets because they will obstruct your access.

Reinforce Supports before Cutting out Vertical Supports
Step 2

Reinforce Supports before Cutting out Vertical Supports

Attach a strip of oak to the back of the horizontal support before cutting out the vertical supports to widen the cabinet openings. Use a Japanese handsaw to carefully cut the supports without damaging them, because they will be reused.

Install Rails and Partitions for Each Pair of Sliding Shelves
Step 3

Install Rails and Partitions for Each Pair of Sliding Shelves

Position and secure four support rails/pilasters and two partitions for each pair of sliding shelves. The front and rear partitions serve as stubs to hold the rails/posts on the side where there is no wall.

Snap Drawer Glides into the Front and Rear Support Rails/Posts
Step 4

Snap Drawer Glides into the Front and Rear Support Rails/Posts

Snap two drawer glides into the rear support rails. Position the post and snap the other end of the glides into the corresponding slot on the front post. Secure with screws.

Cut the Dove-tailed Side Components to the Correct Length
Step 5

Cut the Dove-tailed Side Components to the Correct Length

Make square cuts as necessary to shorten each pair of side components for a pull-out shelf. Do not cut the front and back components because that will remove the dove-tails that join them to the sides.

Trim the Bottom of the Shelf to the Same Dimension
Step 6

Trim the Bottom of the Shelf to the Same Dimension

Cut the panel that forms the bottom of the shelf to the same dimension as the side components. You will be trimming only the length of the panel from front to back--do not change its width.

Assemble the Front, Back and Sides of the Shelf Frames
Step 7

Assemble the Front, Back and Sides of the Shelf Frames

Brush carpenter's glue on the dove-tails and insert them carefully into the notches of the back component. Repeat for the front component and the other side to form a rectangular frame. Tap the joints gently into place with a mallet.

Glue, Position, and Screw the Bottom in Place
Step 8

Glue, Position, and Screw the Bottom in Place

Brush glue on the bottom edge of the frame and set the bottom in place. Drive screws through the pre-drilled holes to secure it and provide structural rigidity to the shelf.

Attach Drawer Glides to the Sides of the Shelf
Step 9

Attach Drawer Glides to the Sides of the Shelf

Secure the mating half of the drawer glides on the left and right sides of each shelf with screws and slide the shelves into the cabinets on top of the glide rails already installed. Line the drawers to prevent slipping.

Attach the Severed Support to One Cabinet Door and Reinstall
Step 10

Attach the Severed Support to One Cabinet Door and Reinstall

Position and secure the severed support to the cabinet door to fill the gap where the support was removed. When reattached, the pairs of doors will open and close properly and disguise the cut.