How to Build Sturdy Pantry Shelves
When it comes to home storage solutions, few things are as satisfying as well-organized pantry shelves. But prefabricated or wire shelving systems from big box stores are neither stylish nor sturdy. Building customized pantry shelves with pipe and fittings is easy, budget-friendly, and you can make them look exactly the way you want them to.
Katy from Pensacola discovered this when she built her new floating pantry shelves with Kee Klamp fittings and pipe. She opted for a clean, industrial look with natural blonde wood shelves. The look matches her kitchen, which is full of white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.
In this article, we’ll show you the exact fittings Katy used to build her shelves. There are also instructions for assembly, several computer-generated diagrams showing the placement of each fitting, and some ideas on how to customize the style of your pantry shelves.
Let’s get started:
Katy’s Floating Pantry Shelves
There are two main components of Katy’s shelving system. One is a floating shelving unit with four shelves that is fully mounted to the wall. Below it is a shelf and wine rack that was already in the room.
The other is a floor-to-wall mounted shelving unit. It has five full-length shelves and one half-length shelf where Katy stores a Kitchenaid mixer. One vertical support mounts to the floor, while the other two rest on top of a shelf that Katy already owned.
Katy’s pantry shelves are a perfect example of how to make use of things you already have in the house, then expanding on them. There’s no point in tossing out perfectly usable furniture to make room for a prefabricated system when you could simply build something that meets your exact needs.
As you’ll see, these shelves are easy enough for a beginner to build. The biggest thing to consider is that these shelves get a lot of their strength from the wall. Be sure to use a stud finder to locate the best spots to mount your own shelf.
Fittings for the Pantry Shelves
These shelves might look like a complicated build, but don’t worry. There are only three different types of fittings needed to complete the whole project:
Once you understand where each fitting goes, the shelves will come together in no time. The next section will guide you through the process.
How much pipe you’ll need depends upon the size of your room. In this diagram, you’ll see there are 27 short horizontal pipes of equal length for supporting the shelves. There are also five vertical pipes—one long, two medium height, and two shorter pipes.
Once you’ve measured the dimensions of your project, you can order each piece cut to length. When your pipe and fittings are shipped to you, the only thing left to do will be to assemble your projecy.
Need help figuring out the correct measurements? Our projects team offers free design assistance.
Guide for Placement of Each Fitting
1. Assemble the pipe and fittings
Using the diagrams as a reference, distribute your pipes and fittings into five groups, one for each of the vertical supports.
Single Socket Tee fittings are used to attach the short, horizontal pipes to the long, vertical pipes. First, slide them onto the vertical pipes, then attach the horizontal pipes. Use a hex key (or Allen Wrench) to tighten the set screw, leaving it a little loose in case you want to make adjustments.
Next, attach the 90° Elbow fittings. These fittings are used on the top of the floor-to-wall mounted shelves, and on the top and bottom of the floating shelves:
Finally, attach the Flange fittings to the other end of the horizontal pipes. These fittings also connect at the bottom of the floor-to-wall mounted shelves, as seen below:
Don’t worry if you make a mistake during assembly. You can always loosen or re-tighten the set screw, then adjust as necessary.
2. Mount to the wall
Once the supports are assembled, you’re ready to mount them to the wall. Use a stud finder to locate where the shelf supports should be placed.
Start by securing only the top and bottom Flanges into place. You can use a shelf and bubble level to verify that everything is straight before drilling into the wall.
If you want to adjust the height of the middle horizontal supports, simply use a hex key to loosen the set screw on the Single Socket Tee fittings, then move the fittings up or down the pipe to the desired height. Secure the middle Flange fittings to the wall when you’re sure the supports are at the height you want, using a shelf and bubble level the same as before.
3. Add the shelves
Take your shelves, slide them onto the supports, and with that, your new pantry is complete.
Katy’s shelves simply rest on the horizontal pipes. They provide enough support on their own. However, if you want to negate any possible movement and secure the shelves in place, add a Fixing Pad to each of the horizontal pipes during assembly.
Start Building Your Own Pantry Shelves
Whether you need storage for a whole room or a small closet, with Kee Klamp fittings and pipe, you can build pantry shelves that perfectly fit your needs.
Want some something sleek and minimalist, or maybe rustic and industrial? Simply pick out the wood you want for the shelves, then use our powder coating service to paint the fittings and pipes in the desired color and finish.
If you still aren’t sure what kind of pantry system you want, check out this list of 45+ DIY pantry shelves built with pipe and fittings. Many of them were built by Kee Klamp customers, so if you see something you like, chances are our team can help you recreate it. Simply reach out to them for free design assistance.