We saw an "ingenious idea" presented at our Stake Preparedness Fair called the PANTRY SHELF . These shelves are installed on the back of your existing pantry door and they have the advantage of adding more space in your pantry, displaying all of your food storage items in "clear" easily accessible containers. Not only does this help reduce the need for having clumsy #10 cans in your pantry but now these items are within reach so you don't forget to use your food storage. What a wonderful invention! To see a pdf version of this web page go here.


* STEP 1: Measure Space Behind Pantry Door

Measure the space you have behind your pantry door to the edge of your existing shelving in your pantry (depth measurement). Our measurement was 8-inches.

*STEP 2: Purchase Materials

Purchase your white wire shelves, shelf mounting screws and wire clasps (shelf clips), wire cabling, wire crimps for crimping your cabling together, and "touch up" Plasti Dip paint at your local hardware store. We got most of our supplies at Lowes. Here are those items:

  • We bought 3 of the Closetmaid wire shelves with the dimensions of 72" wide by 12" deep at Lowes.
  • We bought the mounting hardware made by Closetmaid- screws and wire clasps (shelf clips) (Item #75615 at Lowes).
  • We bought 16-gauge wire cabling to use as support wires on either side of each shelf.
  • We bought "Ferrule & stop" 3/32-inch wire crimps to loop each end of the "support wire" together around the end of each shelf end and other end of the wire mounted to door.
  • We bought White Plasti Dip to cover the cut ends of each shelf so they weren't sharp. You can purchase Plasti Dip at Home Depot but we couldn't find "white" when we were doing this project. So we visited our local paint shop "Space Age Paint" in Mesa, Az (Country Club Rd. just south of Broadway Rd.: 480-835-0971) to purchase "white" Poly Shield which is the same thing as Plasti Dip.
*STEP 3: Measure How Many Shelves Will Fit On Your Pantry Door

We measured how many shelves will fit on our pantry door. You need to take into account the door lock hardware and make sure your shelf there doesn't conflict with the door opening and closing. You also need to make sure your shelves on the top and bottom are slightly smaller (1/4-in to 1/2-inch) then the rest of the shelves to not conflict with the framing of your door (with the framing conflict your door won't shut with these shelves installed!). As you can see from this photo using a spacing value of 1 foot between each shelf we were able to "mark off" 7 shelves on the back of our pantry door.

*STEP 4: Cut Wire Shelves

We cut each shelf using a Dremel tool with cutting wheel attachment. Each shelf for our pantry was 21.5-inches long except for the top and bottom shelf, and the shelf by the door lock hardware. Those shelves were about 21-inches long.

*STEP 5: Bend Wire Shelves

We bent each shelf over our work bench. We placed each shelf down and put an old cutting board on top of that, and anchored each one with a clamp. Then we put 2 bricks on top of the cutting board and leaned our "body weight" to bend each shelf at the "flat end" at the 4-inch mark. Each shelf is 12-inches deep, and our "depth measurement" in STEP 1 was 8 inches, so we needed to bend each shelf at the 4-inch mark so they would fit in our pantry- see pictures here:

A Closetmaid shelf you buy at Lowes that we cut to size.

Method for starting to bend the shelves.

We used two bricks to bend shelves.

Hold down shelf with clamp and lean your body against the bricks to bend shelf.

Shelf is bent!

Testing fit with temporary mount using duct tape.

*STEP 6: Install Shelves

Before drilling holes and in the door for each shelf we fastened a small segment of cable to each side of the shelf. This cable helps support the items on the shelf and acts as a "shock absorber" to prevent heavier things from "bounding" on the bent shelf as you move the door.

We used segments of cable pre-measured to be 13 inches. This gave a reasonable height above the shelf when taking into account two "loops" used to fasten the cable to the shelf and door. We used standard 3/32" ferrules for creating a "loop" on either side of the cable. Instead of an expensive swagging tool to crimp the ferrule, we used a large chisel and hammer to smash a sharp line mechanically wedging the cable into the ferrule. Both pieces of cable (with all ferrules "crimped") were installed onto each shelf before mounting.

A level was used to determine where to drill holes for the screws holding the shelf clips. Once the shelf was supported by the two clips we then drilled holes for two more clips to attach the cable to the door. Care has to be taken to ensure these spots do not conflict with the door jam. Constantly check the fit of everything by attempting to close your pantry door (slowly!).

See pictures of finished pantry shelves:

Use chisel to "crimp" ferrule

Both cables pre-installed

Bottom shelves installed- shorter for clearance!

Upper shelves installed- shorter for clearance!

Top shelf shorter for smaller "Pete" containers.

All shelves installed!

Repeat shelf installation process for each shelf as stated above until all shelves are installed.

*STEP 7: Verify No Door Obstructions

We had to make a few adjustments on the bottom shelf, top shelf, and door lock hardware shelf due to conflicts with the pantry door framing and door lock hardware when we tried to close the door. You may not experience these conflicts, but be aware that they may exist and you might have to remove the shelves in these areas and trim off a 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch on each end of these shelves to resolve the conflict with your Dremel tool. If no door obstructions exist, proceed to STEP 8.

*STEP 8: Touch-up Ends of Each Shelf with White Plasti Dip

Take your White Plasti Dip and a small painting brush and dab a small amount of paint on each end of your shelves to cover up the parts you had to cut with your Dremel tool in STEP 5. Once this paint dries, you will have a nice rubberized coating on the once exposed metal. No sharp areas should exist when you are through painting so it might require several coats of Plasti Dip to get this desired result. Go here to see a picture of the end of one of the shelves.

*STEP 9: Load Shelves With Pete Containers And Fill!

We purchased all of our "Pete" containers from a local store called Honeyville Farms (33 South 56th Street Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85226 or the corner of 56th St. and Chandler Blvd.: 480-785-0892). We purchased 23 large "Pete" containers and 6 small "Pete" containers. See photos of our loaded shelves here:

All food storage in Pete Jars!

Labels put on "Pete" jars and view of Top shelf.

Side view of "Pete" containers with shelf supports.

Bottom shelves loaded!

Front view of "Pete" containers with shelf supports.

Pantry upgrade overview!



Email: johnjen at