Pantry Makeover with DIY Shelves

When we bought our house I thought it was move in ready – and it was for the most part. We loved the paint colors in the living room, dining room and master bedroom, the tile and carpet were in good shape, the bathrooms and kitchen had been updated. But oh the popcorn ceilings, they had to go. And then, we decided to do all these other little projects, like the pantry.
I was getting ready to clean the pantry shelves so I could move our stuff in. The wire shelves were sticky and discolored and just yuck. It was at that point that we decided to just get rid of them and replace them with wood shelves instead. I didn’t even bother to finish cleaning them since we were going to get rid of them anyways.
Pantry Makeover - Before with Wire Shelves |

Pantry Before with Wire Shelves

Pantry Makeover - Before |

Pantry Before with wire shelves


Our new wood shelves were based off the size of the previous wire shelves and we spaced them the same distance apart (13 inches).
We wanted nice and sturdy shelves so we used the knock test and then double checked that with a drill to find the studs in the wall. Knock on the wall in different points and see if you can tell where it sounds hollow or solid. The part that sounds solid is most likely a stud. We then drilled into where we thought the stud was and you can tell it is harder to screw in where the studs are than when just screwing into the drywall.
**I also came across this video that had a helpful hint – studs are typically spaced 16 inches apart and there is usually a stud on either side of an outlet.**


I wrote down the measurements of where the studs were located before patching up the holes we made with the drill. I also patched up all the holes that were left from the previous shelves. Then I cleaned the walls and added a fresh coat of paint.
Off to The Depot we go to pick out our wood. We knew we wanted something that wouldn’t need sanding so we chose a 4×8 sheet of Birch Veneer Plywood. We brought our measurements with us and had the store cut out our shelves. We even had some leftover wood that we will use for something else.
For the ledgers we used a piece of select pine. The ledger is what supports the shelves. We used a piece along the back of the shelf and a piece on each side so the 3 sides that are along the wall are supported.
To cover the rough edge on the front of the shelf, we bought a piece of decorative molding. We attached it to the front of the shelves using liquid nails and then nailing it in with small nails. We did this part before I stained the shelves.
Pantry  Makeover - Attaching molding to shelf |

Attaching the molding to the shelves

I used 2 coats of Minwax Polyshades Stain and Polyurethane in Espresso for the diy shelves and ledgers. Using a natural bristle brush I applied the stain and then after a few minutes I wiped it with a cloth. The first coat wasn’t that dark but once I applied the second coat it got much darker and was the color I wanted so I stopped at two coats.
First Coat of Espresso Stain |

First Coat of Stain

Staining Wood Shelves |

Second Coat of Stain

My hubby had the fabulous job of installing the shelves. He first screwed the ledgers into the wall using 2 inch screws and then he screwed the shelves to the ledgers using 1.5 inch screws.
Pantry Makeover - Installing Shelf Ledgers |

Installing the Ledgers

Pantry Makeover - Installing Shelves |

Installing the Shelves

I later went back over the screws with wood filler and stain so they wouldn’t stick out so much. If you can countersink the screws it will have a much cleaner finish than screws that are flush with the surface.
**A tip on touching up with stain. Stain is not like paint where you can blend it in. It’s all or nothing with stain so you will be able to see the edges and/or brush marks where you touched up. To help avoid this I used a cotton swab to apply stain on just the top of where the screw or putty was. This worked out well for me and was much less noticeable than when I first tried to use a small paint brush. I had to do 2 coats for it to match the shelves.**
Our diy shelves look so much nicer than the previous wire shelves and I don’t have to worry about things falling through or falling over.
Pantry Makeover- After with Wood Shelves |

Our New Pantry with Wood Shelves

Pantry Makeover - Shelf Molding |

Close up of the decorative molding

Pantry Makeover - Stained Wood Shelves |

Close up of the stain

Pantry Makeover- After with Wood Shelves |

Pantry Makeover Completed

Pantry Makeover Before and After |
Next on our list is finishing the ceilings in the other 2 bedrooms and then we are moving on to our master closet! I can’t wait for that project!
What do you think of our new pantry?