Shelves that Slide – Another Kitchen Project

Our most recent kitchen mini-makeover  (the mudroom corner and relocated fridge) has made such a difference in our kitchen that we’ve decided to scrap our original plan for a full-scale remodel. There are still things that need doing, (new flooring, countertops, and I’d love a big single sink instead of our double) but those items are pretty minor compared to the plan that required running a new electrical breaker, all new cabinets, and an altered layout, which was pretty spendy. Fixing up what we already have means the money we’ve been saving is more than enough to cover the above desires (But don’t tell Tony that, he’s tired of working for now!) and maybe even replace more of the windows (We still have 14 left to do.) throughout the house! 

With that in mind, I finally embarked on a project I’ve been thinking about for over a year – kitchen cabinet shelves that slide! It’s no secret that I hate our kitchen cabinets. Painting and beadboard wallpapering them made a huge difference on the outside, but inside they were these cavernous wastes of space. 

The half shelves at the back could only hold so much, and no matter how I rearranged things, they never really seemed to fit. I just knew roll-out shelves were the answer, but to buy a kit is $80+ per shelf. As always, Pinterest to the rescue. I found several posts about how to build and install the drawer-like shelves, many of them created by women, which was encouraging because Tony assured me this was my project and he would take no part in it. In reality he was very helpful as a consultant when I was waffling on how to approach the next step, and he did use the circular saw to cut the drawer/shelf bases for me. Otherwise, all the work was mine. 

The first weekend I laid out all the wood, primed, and painted it. The advantage to painting the wood first was that the roller is a lot faster than using a brush after the fact, but it does mean more touch up is required at the end (if I ever get to it). I was okay with that, especially as there was still snow on the ground that weekend, and we didn’t want to pull the saw out. Painting was the only way to get the project started. 

 It was a surprisingly small amount of wood that was needed. Each drawer was made from a single 8 foot board. And I needed two additional boards for spacing. The base of each drawer was 1/4 inch MDF and I was able to get two small size sheets and just trim them down to the right size. 
The next weekend I began the install. Because we have these bracket things on each cabinet door, I needed to install 3/4 inch shims for the drawer slides to mount to. I used the cheap 1x3s cut to the same length as each slide and 1 1/4 inch screws for this. Of course, my cabinet base was not level, so I figured out where the shims needed to be and installed the left side first. Then I rigged up a system of scrap wood (to hold the right side shim steady) and the old half shelf to determine if everything was level before screwing it in. 

This step, installing the shim pieces, was definitely the most difficult and time consuming part of the whole project. It involved climbing in and out of the cabinet A LOT and the mental exercise of figuring out exactly where everything needed to be to fit my pots and pans. 


It’s a good thing I started this project when I did. Any more pregnant and it would have been nearly impossible to get in there!  This is what you can’t see through the sweatpants and sweatshirt:

Once those shims were in and level, it was pretty easy to install the slides themselves, right in the middle of each shim, with 1 in. screws. Oh, and here’s a tip: I bought my slides on Amazon! I bought a ten pack (Oh, yes. There will be more drawers in the future!) of the 22 inch, 100 lb. full extension slides, and they worked out to about $8 per pair. I would have paid double that at The Depot for a slide that wasn’t as strong, so I considered it a worthwhile investment. 


Then it was time to build the drawer/shelves. They were pretty simple 1x4s cut to the desired length and attached with Kreg Jig screws at the corners. 


The drawer plans I used called for square dowels attached to the bottom with the nail gun to create support for the shelf base. Other plans I’d seen just had you staple the shelf base on, but it seemed like this route would result in stronger shelves.

The last step was to attach the smallest piece of the slides and hope that everything fit… Thank goodness it did! 
The drawer bases just dropped right onto the square dowels.

Building and installing that first set of drawers took an entire Saturday, and I was super sore by the end of it! But I was able to get all the wood cut for the second set, so it only took a couple hours to finish the project the next day.


I’m loving putting the pots and pans away these days! Now, if only I could find a way to love washing them too…

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4 Responses to Shelves that Slide – Another Kitchen Project

  1. olsonrobin says:

    You are amazing! And seriously adorable with your baby bump!

  2. Nancy Clewell says:


  3. Dad says:

    Nice work baby girl! I’m impressed with how nicely you fit into the cabinet!

  4. Nancy Kline says:

    Great job Lindy. Tell Tony thanks for helping out. LOL. I had some slide outs in my kitchen in Topeka. LOVED them! You are looking so cute prego!

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