How To Build Pull Out Shelves For a Blind Corner Cabinet, Part 1
Figuring out how to build a blind corner cabinet pull out was the last of my kitchen organizing projects. And definitely the most challenging, design-wise.
Blind corner cabinets are always a challenge to organize. There’s the easy-to-reach part of the cabinet right in front of the door, but the bulk of the storage area is back in the corner…very hard to reach! I had researched buying a ready-made version of something that would help with the problem, but none of them would the 13″ door opening in my cabinet (and they were all pretty expensive, too!) So I decided to make my own.
I took a 2-phased approach to solving this problem. The first is to build pull-out shelves for the blind portion of the cabinet. These roll from the blind portion of the cabinet to the part that is right in front of the door so you can reach the things that are stored on the shelf. This post will go through the details of putting these shelves together.
The second part is to build a pull out drawer unit that will roll out of the easy-to-reach area so that you can easily access what is on them…and make room to reach the pull out shelves. You can find the details on how to make this in part 2 of how to build pull out shelves for a blind corner cabinet.
To recap all of the kitchen organization projects so far:
- Turn hard-to-reach shelves in the base cabinets into easy-to-access drawers.
- Move cooking utensils to a hanging, rotating storage rack to clear drawer clutter (part 1).
- Clear drawer clutter (part 2) by organizing the rest of the utensils that end up in a drawer.
- Move spice racks to a magnetic spice wall to clear the counter tops (part 1) by moving spice racks to a magnetic spice wall.
- Clear the counter tops (part 2) by building a pull down cookbook stand.
- Clear the cabinet clutter where serving trays and cookie sheets are stored by building custom dividers and shelves.
- Make the corner cabinets more useful by building some kind of easy-to-access storage system. This week’s project!
- The bonus project from week 6: 6 Cabinet Door Storage Ideas
Continue reading to find out how to build pull out shelves for a blind corner cabinet.
The Pull Out Shelf Design
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The idea for these shelves is that they start out in the blind portion of the cabinet. To take advantage of the full height of the cabinet, there will be 2 shelves that can be pulled out separately.
When you need to access the contents of the shelves, simply pull them over to the front of the cabinet and get at what you need. The sides prevent the contents of the shelf from sliding off when you move them.
What You Need
2 sets of bottom mount drawer slides*. See page 6 for more information on how to determine the length.
Measure Your Cabinet
Here are the measurements you will need to take from your existing cabinets. The letters on the diagram correspond to the measurements below:
A. Measure from the corner side wall to the door opening (inside the cabinet). In my case this had a measurement of 26″
B. Then measure from the inside of the front of the cabinet to the back (which is usually a little more than 22″). In my case this had a measurement of 22 9/16″.
C. Measure the total width of the inside of the cabinet. In my case, it was 41″ long.
Cut the Wood
For the blind part of the cabinet, you will be making 2 separate slide out shelves. Use the measurements from the last step to figure out how big the pieces of wood need to be. Note: these measurements assume that you are using drawer slides which attach to the bottom of the shelf. Here’s what you will need for these:
1. Two pieces of ½” plywood that are 1″ shorter than the measurements you took for A and B in the last step. In my case, these 2 shelves were 25″ x 21 9/16″. These will be the shelves.
2. Four pieces of ½” plywood that are 2″ wide and 1″ shorter than the B measurement from the last step. These will be the front and back edges of the shelves (which will keep things from sliding off the shelves when you pull them out). In my case, these were 2″ x 21 9/16″.
3. Four pieces of ½” plywood that are 2″ wide and 2″ shorter that the A measurement from the last step. These will be the sides of the shelves. In my case, these were 2″ x 24″.
If you are going to paint the wood, you might want to do it at this stage…it’s a little easier to paint the boards before you put them together.
Determine the Lengths of the Drawer Slides
For the pull out shelves you will need 2 sets of bottom mount drawer slides.
Because these shelves are usually longer than half the width of the cabinet, the drawer slides need to be shorter than the length of the shelves in order to be able to install them in the existing cabinet. Otherwise, you won’t be able to fit the back end of the drawer slide extension into the front end of the drawer slide installed in the cabinet.
To determine the length of these drawer slides, subtract the length of your shelf from the total width of the cabinet. Using the measurement numbers from the diagram, calculate C – (A – 1′). In my case, the calculation was 41″ – (26″ – 1″) which came out to 16″. If you want to be really safe, buy drawer slides that are this length or shorter…but you can usually get away with going up one size…just tilt the shelves up a bit when you are sliding them onto the rails. I bought 18″ drawer slides which worked fine.
Build The Pull Out Shelves
1. Turn the shelf board upside down.
2. Slide the front edge board under the front edge of the shelf. Make sure the edges line up. Then attach with #6 screws or small nails through the shelf into the front shelf edge board.
3. Repeat the same steps to attach the back edge of the shelf.
3. Attach one of the side pieces between the front and back edge shelves. Again make sure all of the sides line up.
4. Install the other side in the same way.
5. Attach the front and back boards to the side boards at the corner.
6. Install one of the drawer slides to the bottom side of the drawer. The wheel should be at the back of the shelf. The drawer slide will not reach all the way to the front of the shelf. This is necessary in order to fit the shelf into the drawer slide in the cabinet.
7. Attach the other drawer slide at the other side of the shelf. The wheel should be on the same end of the shelf as the first one.
8. Repeat these steps to create the second drawer.
Install the Pull Out Shelves
1. Start by attaching the drawer slides for the bottom shelf, keeping the following in mind:
a. It should be installed about 1″ from the bottom of the cabinet. You can either measure and mark the location…or use a piece of board as a spacer (my preferred method). Either way, you want to make sure that it is level.
b. The back end of the drawer slide should be at the back corner of the cabinet.
c. The wheel goes towards the front….toward the cabinet door in this case.
d. Install the second drawer slide on the other side of the cabinet, making sure that it is at the exact same height and installed in the same position…otherwise your shelf will not roll smoothly.
2. Attach the drawer slides for the upper shelf. This will follow the same process as the bottom shelf but at a different height. You can choose the height based on what you want to store on the shelf. I installed mine at about 12″.
3. Tilt the first shelf to get it to fit into the door.
4. Install the bottom shelf first. Hold the shelf up at an angle and slide the drawer slide wheels on the back of the shelf over the drawer slide wheel installed in the cabinet.
5. Then you should be able to push the shelf all the way back into the cabinet.
6. Install the upper shelf and you are finished with this portion of the project!
The Finished Shelves
Here are my finished pull out shelves.
I tend to store things that I don’t use that often, but need to be able to get to occasionally. Since there is more room over the bottom shelf when it is pulled out, I store taller and heavier things on this shelf. The extra room makes them easier to get at.
The top shelf is used for lighter and shorter things that I can pull out without needing a lot of head room.
In either case, these pull out shelves have definitely made the blind corner of the cabinet much easier to access!
Click here to go to part 2 of this project where you will find out how to make the pull out drawer for the front of the cabinet
Have comments or questions on how to build pull out shelves for a blind corner cabinet? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on March 22, 2016 but was updated with new content on March 29, 2023.
Do you think this would work on an upper cabinet (instead of a lower one)?
Hi Carmen…the measurements would be different, since the cabinet is smaller. But it should be able to work the same way.
I noticed on your YouTube video that you weren’t entirely happy with this section. Having read and watched a lot of instructional articles/videos, I think your problem is that you keep trying to attach the front section to the cabinet, whereas it would work better if you made a box for the back drawers and attached the front section to that. Here’s one of the best examples I found: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VK6HP9ktkXw
One issue (as the chap found out in the vid) is that it’s difficult to do as a retrofit; it’s a lot easier to install before the cabinet is in its final position, so that the whole thing is accessible. Nonetheless, it seems a better solution than a piano hinge setup. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the suggestion, Mary! Mine is working pretty well now. But if I were starting with a new cabinet, I would definitely try it out.
Hi, This is a great solution to a very common problem. You instructions and photos are clear and logical and give a “why I did this” perspective which helps novices get their heads around a bit of a Rubics cube of three dimensional jiggery pokery. What I really loved was that you used basic everyday tools and skills to create a quality end product at a level that would let readers say, “I can do that”. Two thumbs up!!
Thank you for the information. Just so you know one negative with the commerically availability is the limitation in the space between the top shelf and the bottom shelf. I love your directions and will be implementing them. Right now I have a closet that probably was a broom closet when the house was built. I am putting in adjustable pull out shelves. I bought the vertical pilaster strips. They came with buttons. Buttons are the piece that you attach the slider and the pilaster to. In my case they are rev a shelf and very limited in that the button cannot be used with any other pilaster. If I put in another one, I will be looking for a larger company’s product like Accuride for the pilaster and buttons. Apparently most sliders cab be used in any of these systems. I will buy the others for a linen closet that is quite deep. Can’t reach sheets in the back easily. Again thank you for your tutorial and definitely for the creativity.
Thanks for the helpful information, Maureen!
I love your blind corner pullout shelves. I have some questions.
My first difficulty will be removing the shelf that goes all the way to the back. Can the shelf remain in place with the top pull out drawer right above the shelf. Otherwise I will need someone to climb into the cabinet to remove the shelf. I am not able to do that.
When you slide your blind corner shelves towards the door opening, you still have about 15 inches of shelf still in the hidden/blind area of your cabinet.
I know the commercially available (very expensive) blind corner cabinets set ups have part of the pull outs from the blind portion come out of the cabinet. Is there a way to do that with these shelves?
Have you considered installing toe kit drawers.
Thanks for the tutorial.
Hi Maureen…if you’re just installing the slide-out shelves, you should be able to leave the fixed shelf in the cabinet. But I do have a second part to this where I built a pull-out that fills in the extra 15 inches you’re talking about (You can find it HERE). If you do that part, it won’t work with the fixed shelf.
I was trying to figure out how you had a cabinet that could just roll out, and then I realized that it looks like your cabinets are not set on my top of a 4″ toe kick box, but are set directly on the ground? I’ve never seen that in the house before in my entire life. Your solution makes a lot of sense for your unique setup, but I’m not sure how someone with traditional cabinet boxes set on top of a 4″ toe kick could use this method?
Hi Luke…my cabinets do have a 4″ toe kick. The pull out shelf rolls on the wheels when it is in the cabinet, but is supported by piano hinges when it is out of the cabinet (the wheels don’t touch the ground).
I’ve been trying to get my blind corner to work since I bought my house last year. Thank you for figuring this out for me! 😉 I’m looking for part 2. Have you posted it? If so, I’m not finding it on your webpage. Thanks! I just signed up for your email too! =)
Thanks, Ann. I did post part two…you can find it here: https://www.fromhousetohome.com/build-pull-out-shelves-for-a-blind-corner-cabinet-part-2/. It takes a bit of work to put it together but it does work really well!
do you have instructions for organizing your pots and pans under the kitchen sink. Im interested in may be constructing pull out rolling shelves. do you have any ideas.
Hi Bernadette…I have some of my pots in drawers and I love it, so I think the rolling shelves would work well (I have never done that though, so I don’t have specific instructions). Making them under the sink is a little trickier since you have to work around the plumbing. But I think if you cut the back of the shelves out so that they would go around the pipes, they should still work. Or if there isn’t a lot of room around the plumbing at the back of the cabinet, you might just want to cut the shelves narrower so they don’t reach all the way back. Then you can install them like usual with drawer slides on either side of the cabinet (just like I did with the back of the blind corner cabinet). I would be tempted to put low edges on the front and back of the shelves just to keep the pots from sliding off. I hope this helps!
Good idea, Wanda. Now you just have to figure out how to pull out the front section so you don’t have to unload to get at the back section. Now there’s a challenge for you. (My attempt at being funny.)
Hi Aunt Elaine…yes, that’s definitely the challenging part…next week’s post!