How to Build Kitchen Improvements

How to Build a Roll-Out Storage Shelf

The roll-out shelf is 3/4-inch plywood, edged on three sides with 1 x 2 and on the front with a piece of 1 x 3; the bottom edge of the front strip extends 1 inch below the shelf bottom. Standard drawer slide assemblies are used to move the shelf.

For more convenient access to pans or small appliances, build this handy roll-out shelf unit into a base cabinet.


  • Measuring rule
  • Pencil
  • Carpenters' square
  • Straightedge
  • Handsaw or power saw
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Nail set
  • Paintbrush


  • 3/4-inch grade A-B interior plywood
  • 1 x 2 and 1 x 3 pine stock
  • Carpenters' glue
  • 4-penny finishing nails
  • Two standard 22-inch-long drawer slide assemblies with installation screws
  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer and semigloss interior latex paint, or finish desired

Time: About 4 to 6 hours, plus finishing time


Making the Shelf

To fit a standard 18 x 24-inch base cabinet, measure and cut a 131/4 x 211/4-inch piece of 3/4-inch grade A-B interior plywood for the roll-out shelf. Cut a 131/4-inch piece of 1 x 2 pine stock. Apply a bead of carpenters' glue to one 131/4-inch edge of the shelf, and set the 2-inch face of the 1 x 2 strip against the edge, flush at the bottom and at each end. Secure the strip with four 4-penny finishing nails.

Cut two 22-inch pieces of 1 x 2. Apply glue to the side edges of the shelf. Set the two strips against the edges, flush at the bottom and at each end, and secure each strip with six 4-penny finishing nails.

Cut a 143/4-inch piece of 1 x 3 pine stock. Turn the shelf assembly upside down, and apply glue to the remaining 131/4-inch edge of the shelf. Set the 1 x 3 strip against the edge so that the ends are flush, the top edges are flush, and the bottom edge protrudes 1 inch below the bottom surface of the shelf.

Attaching the Slide Assembly to the New Shelf

With the shelf still upside down, draw two lines across the bottom surface from front to back, each 11/4 inches in from the side. Center the upper half of a standard 22-inch-long drawer slide assembly on each guideline, and attach the slides with the screws provided. Installation instructions for drawer slides vary from brand to brand; follow the manufacturer's specific installation instructions.

On each side of the shelf, draw a line from front to back on the bottom surface, 1 1/4 inches in from the side. Center the upper half of a 22-inch drawer slide assembly over each guideline, and attach the slides securely.

Attaching the Slide Assembly to the Cabinet

Determine and mark the front-to-back centerline of the cabinet's existing shelf, by measuring the exact distance between the sides of the door opening and marking the midway point. Measure 61/8 inches to both right and left of the centerline mark, along the front edge of the shelf. With a carpenters' square and a pencil, draw front-to-back lines at right angles to the shelf edge at each of these points. Center the bottom half of one drawer slide assembly on each of these guidelines, and attach the slides with the screws provided.

On the top of the old shelf, find the exact center point. Measure 6 1/8 inches to each side from this point along the front edge, and draw a line at each point; then attach the bottom tracks of the slide assemblies over the guidelines.

Finishing the Shelf

Mesh the slides and roll the new shelf into place in the cabinet, checking for ease of operation; there should be 1/8 inch clearance between the side of the door opening and the shelf side, at each side. The cabinet door must be able to open far enough so that it leaves the cabinet opening completely clear and does not obstruct the passage of the new shelf. Make any slide adjustments necessary for smooth operation.

Remove the roll-out shelf and remove the slide halves. With a nail set and hammer, sink the nailheads slightly below the surface of the wood. Fill the nail holes and any surface or joint imperfections with wood filler, and sand the shelf smooth.

To finish the shelf, apply a coat of primer and then two coats of semigloss interior latex paint, or whatever finish you like. Let the finish dry completely between coats. Apply at least one coat of finish to the bottom of the shelf to seal the wood.

When the finish is completely dry, replace the slide halves and install the shelf in the cabinet.

On our final page, we will tackle a familiar kitchen problem -- spice racks. 

For more information on making improvements to your kitchen, try the following links: