DIY Under Cabinet Cookbook or iPad Shelf

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.

DIY under cabinet cookbook shelf

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.

Cookbook stand on the countertop

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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  • Circular saw
  • screw driver

How To Make The DIY Under Cabinet Cookbook Shelf

Cut The Board For Shelf

The cut board for the 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.

Iron on melamine band edge installed around the edge of a shelf

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

Hinges attached to the side of the under cabinet cookbook shelf

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.

Install a screw underneath the back of the hing as well as a screw eye

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).

Install a screw eye at the back of the shelf

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.

Attach a magnet to 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

Attach the hinges to the bottom of the cabin

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.

Attach the hinge and screw eye to the bottom of the cabinet

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.

Chain with ends bent into hooks

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.

Install the chain

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

Attach brackets to the front of the DIY cookbook shelf

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.

Install a bracket so that the magnet will hit it when the cookbook shelf is closed

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.

My iPad Mini fits nicely between the brackets on the DIY under cabinet cookbook shelf

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.

The DIY cookbook shelf folded up under 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

The finished DIY under cabinet cookbook shelf with a large cookbook on it

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.

The DIY under cabinet cookbook shelf holding a thick cookbook

My cookbook shelf now fits the thick cookbooks.

The DIY under cabinet cookbook shelf holding a large cookbook

And is wide and tall enough for my biggest cookbook.

The brackets on the cookbook shelf adjusted to work for small cookbooks

But still fits the smaller cookbooks…the corner braces can be angled to hold the pages down for these smaller books, too.

The DIY under cabinet cookbook shelf holding an iPad mini

My iPad mini works great, too!

The closed DIY under cabinet cookbook shelf with an iPad mini stored on it

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.

The DIY under cabinet cookbook shelf installed in a kitchen with clear countertops

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

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.

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  1. Marge Feuling says:

    Where can I purchase hinges for cook book holder?

    1. Hi Marge…I bought mine from Amazon (there’s a link to them in the “What You Need” section), but I think you would be able to find them at most hardware stores.

    1. Thanks, Ivory. It actually works pretty well, too 🙂

  2. Muhaimin Syahabuddin says:

    Hi. Nice and brilliant project there. Just out of curiosity. Won’t the magnet somehow affect the iPad (or any other tablet/smartphone) if we put them nearby?

    1. Hi Muhaimin…I haven’t seen any issues with my iPad. It isn’t right beside the magnet and these magnets aren’t that strong so hopefully the electronics these days are built to withstand this kind of thing 🙂 I googled it and seems like most people say there shouldn’t be any problems.

  3. Thanks! Looks like a great project to try. Happy spring!

    1. Good luck with it! Thanks for stopping by my website 🙂

  4. You’re quite the organizer! Great job! Where did you get the wall-mounted spice rack?

  5. I have one long counter ending with sinks and a small counter. The microwave sits at the opposite corner on long part. I hung a shelf on the wall by microwave that holds my oil bottles, etc. With large S hooks hold my measting cups, measuring spoons, scissors, and my tupperware small and big strainers. This cookbook holder is just what I need.

    1. Hi Jody…I really love my new cookbook holder! It sounds like you have a great spot for it in your kitchen, too. It really wasn’t very hard to make.