When you’re trying to make a new recipe, there’s nothing more annoying than looking over at the cookbook to see the next instruction and realizing that it’s flipped to another page. Or not having enough counter space for the cookbook (or iPad) and your mixing bowl. Which is why I made with DIY under cabinet cookbook shelf that takes care of both those problems.
This week’s kitchen organization project is one step closer to getting clutter off the counter…by moving the cookbook to an under cabinet pull-down shelf.
Since I am always trying new recipes, I often have a cookbook (or iPad) on the countertop while I’m cooking.
I had even bought a cookbook stand at one point…which is useful because it keeps the book open at the right page.
However, since I don’t have a lot of counter space, that means less room for actually cooking.
So I needed a cookbook holder that was in an easy to view location but was still out of the way, and could be put away completely when I needed to a higher cooking space.
I looked at buying a pull down cookbook holder like this one.
But I have a lot of cookbooks that are wider and taller than these store-bought shelves hold. So I decided to make my own.
Keep reading to find out how to make your own DIY under cabinet cookbook (or iPad) shelf.
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- ¾” melamine, wood or plywood sheet cut to the size you need (Mine is 20″ long and 10½” wide)
- Melamine edge band*
- Left side lid hinge*
- Right side lid hinge*
- ¾” wood screws*
- Screw eye rings*
- No.16 double jack chain*
- 3 – 2½” double wide corner braces* – These are quite large because I have some thick cookbooks. If you are only using this for an iPad or smaller cookbooks, you can get smaller braces
- 3 pull latch magnets*
- Circular saw
- screw driver
How To Make The DIY Under Cabinet Cookbook Shelf
Cut The Board For Shelf
1. Decide how wide the shelf should be.
To do this, open the largest cookbook you have and measure the width from one edge to the other. Your shelf should be a little wider than this measurement.
Also make sure that this will fit in the spot where you want to install the cookbook holder. In my case, the shelf was 20″ wide.
2. Figure out the depth of the shelf by measuring the depth of the upper cabinet that the shelf will be installed under.
The shelf should be about an inch narrower than the depth of the cabinet. In my case, the shelf was 10½” deep.
3. Use a circular saw to cut the shelf to the correct size.
4. (Optional) If you are using melamine, finish the edges by cutting melamine edge band to the length of the shelf edges.
Then use a hot iron to iron on the melamine edging.
5. If you want to paint the shelf, you can do that now, too.
Attach the Shelf Hardware
1. Attach the end of the hinge to the right side of the shelf about 1″ from the front of the shelf.
Make sure that the hinge is installed the right way so that when the bracket is facing up, the hinge will close completely against the shelf.
2. Repeat with the hinge on the left side of the shelf.
3. Towards the back of the hinge, install a small screw in the side of the shelf.
Make sure that the end of the hinge arm will hit the screw. This will prevent the hinges from angling down past the bottom of the shelf (which makes them harder to operate).
4. Install screw eyes about an inch from the back of the shelf on both sides.
This will be used to attach the chain that holds up the back of the shelf.
5. Attach one of the pull latch magnets in the middle of the back of the shelf.
Attach the Cabinet Hardware
1. Stack up some books to rest the shelf on while you install the cabinet hardware.
2. Stretch one of the hinges up so that it reaches the bottom of the cabinet where you want the shelf to be installed. The hinge edge should be about 1″ back from the front of the cabinet.
Install the screws in the bracket making sure it is straight.
3. Repeat with the hinge on the other side.
Make sure that it is installed far enough out that the hinges will be able to operate smoothly.
4. Add screw eyes in the bottom of the cabinet a couple of inches further back from the hinge bracket.
The screw eyes should line up with the hinge bracket.
5. Cut the chain so that it is long enough to reach between the screw eye on the side of the shelf and the screw eye in the cabinet.
It also needs to be long enough to allow the shelf to close (so make sure you try that before cutting the chain). In my case, it is about 6″ long.
Use pliers to bend the links at both ends to make a hook shape.
6. Cut another piece of chain that is the same length as the first one.
7. Attach the chain between the screw eyes on the bottom of the cabinet and the sides of the shelf. Make sure that the angle of the shelf is comfortable for reading.
Test out the shelf and make sure that your cookbooks and iPad will fit.
Add Brackets and Magnets
The brackets on the front of the shelf help to keep the cookbook or iPad in place.
I installed them after the shelf was installed so that I could put them in the easiest-to-read location for my IPad.
If you know where you want your brackets to go, it would be easier to attach them before installing the shelf.
Note: I have some really thick cookbooks, so I used 2½” corner braces to make sure the pages of those cookbooks would still fit on the shelf.
If you don’t own cookbooks that are this thick (or you only use an iPad), you can use narrower corner braces…the shelf will fold up closer to the bottom of the cabinets.
1. Lift the shelf up and mark where the magnet at the back of the shelf hits the bottom of the cabinet.
2. Attach the corner brace so that the angle will hit the magnet when the shelf is folded up.
3. Attach 2 of the brackets to the front of the shelf so that the angle will keep the cookbook pages open. I placed mine just close enough to hold my iPad mini. It’s about the smallest thing that I would use on the shelf.
4. Lift the shelf up again, and mark where both of those brackets hit the bottom of the cabinet.
5. Install the pull latch magnets where those marks are, so that the angle of the brackets will hit the magnets.
This will keep the front of the shelf in place when it is folded up.
You should now be able to close the shelf and have it stay up.
The Finished DIY Under Cabinet Cookbook Shelf
Here’s my finished cookbook shelf.
You can customize your shelf by painting it to match your kitchen. I chose to keep mine the same color as the backsplash…but you could also finish it to match your cabinets.
I also left the angle irons their original silver color since I have stainless steel accents in my kitchen..but they can be painted, too, if you want them to blend in more.
My cookbook shelf now fits the thick cookbooks.
And is wide and tall enough for my biggest cookbook.
But still fits the smaller cookbooks…the corner braces can be angled to hold the pages down for these smaller books, too.
My iPad mini works great, too!
It completely folds up when I don’t need it.
One benefit of having tall brackets? Smaller cookbooks (and my iPad) can be left on the shelf when it’s closed.
And of course the whole goal of doing this…my cookbook is in easy view of where I’m normally standing, and my countertop is now clear for cooking!
Other DIY kitchen organizer ideas you might like
- How To Build A Custom DIY Over-The-Fridge Organizer
- 7 Awesome Kitchen Cabinet Door Storage Ideas That Will Organize Your Kitchen
- 5 Easy DIY Kitchen Drawer Organizer Ideas
Or browse all of our kitchen storage ideas.
Have comments or questions on the DIY under cabinet cookbook (or iPad) shelf? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on February 22, 2016 but was updated with new content on July 7, 2023.