Build Organized Lower Cabinet Rollouts for Increased Kitchen Storage
A full day
IntroductionVertical rollout drawers are a great way to convert a half-empty base cabinet into a high-capacity food storage cabinet that can be custom-sized to fit your storage needs.
- 4-in-1 screwdriver
- Air compressor
- Air hose
- Brad nail gun
- Circular saw
- Cordless drill
- Countersink drill bit
- Forstner drill bits
- Framing square
- Miter saw
- Self-centering drill bit
- Table saw
- Tape measure
- 1-1/2-in. brad nails
- 1-1/4-in. Forstner drill (for drilling finger pulls)
- 220-grit sandpaper
- 3/4-in. hardwood plywood (1 sheet makes 4 rollouts)
- 4 ft. of 1x3 (drawer slide cleats)
- 8 ft. of 1/4-in. x 1-1/8-in. mullion (base and shelf front lips)
- Four 2-ft. shelf standards with clips
- One 1x3 the width of the cabinet (hold-down rail)
- One pair of 90-lb.-rated full-extension side-mount drawer slides
- Small box of 3-in. screws
- Woodworking glue
Project step-by-step (11)
Why Use Rollouts
- Lower cabinets offer the biggest storage spaces in most kitchens. But according to kitchen designers, the back half of this space is usually wasted—it’s packed with long-forgotten junk or left unused because stored items are out of view and hard to reach. Rollout bins let you see and use the whole space.
- If you’re tired of digging through cans and boxes to find a jar of tomato sauce hidden at the back of the cabinet, these rollout bins might be just the ticket. You can size them to fit inside any lower cabinet and customize them to suit the items you want to store.
- The bins are simply plywood boxes with adjustable shelves—very easy to build. Sizing the boxes and mounting them on drawer slides can be tricky, but we’ve worked out techniques that make those steps nearly foolproof.
Decide on Sizes
- To determine the width of your rollouts, gather the items you want to store.
- Cut the 1×3 cleats to length and space them from each side of the cabinet with 3/4-in. blocks.
- Note: That space allows the rollouts to clear the doors and hinges later.
- Then start arranging your dry goods, separating them with the cleats.
- Pro tip:Leave at least 2-1/2 in. between the dry goods and the cleats. This allows for the clearance of wood thicknesses and drawer slides and 1/2 in. extra to make it easy to load the items and take them out. It takes a bit of rearranging and thought to arrive at the best sizes. If your base cabinets have vertical dividers between the doors, give each opening its own rollouts.
Choose the Materials
- Choose any 3/4-in. veneered interior plywood for your rollouts.
- Pro tip: Avoid construction plywood; it won’t be as flat and may warp later. If you’d like your rollouts to match your cabinets, choose whatever type does the job. We just sanded the plywood end grain of our rollouts, but if you’d like a more polished look, buy iron-on edge banding to match the wood type.
- Buy nice, straight, knot-free 1x3s for the cleats—the wood type doesn’t matter.
- Select 22-in. European side-mount drawer slides rated to support 90 lbs.
- Note: They’ll come with their own screws and installation directions that show you how they work.
Cutting the Parts
- Note: Most base cabinets are 22-1/2 in. deep and have a 21-in.-high opening (measured inside the face frame, not the cabinet interior). If your cabinets match these measurements, use the height and width dimensions shown in Figure A for all of the side panels. Also use Figure A for the lengths of each top, bottom, front and back panel and shelves. If your cabinets have shorter openings or are shallower, subtract those differences from our Figure A measurements to cut your parts.
- Calculate the rollout widths based on your layout work inside the cabinet.
- Subtract 1 in. from the distances between the cleats to get the width for each rollout’s top, front and back panel.
- Note: That will leave the 1-in. clearance needed for the drawer slides.
- Subtract 2 in. to establish the width for each bottom panel and the adjustable shelves.
- Note: That’ll leave an additional 1-in. clearance for the thickness of the 3/4-in. side panel and the 1/4-in.-thick lip in the front.
- Pro tip: Be especially careful when you lay out the cleats, measure openings and cut the rollout parts. European side-mount drawer slides leave very little room for error. It’s best to use a table saw for all of the cuts and to double-check widths and lengths so the boxes will fit together perfectly and engage and operate smoothly in the slides.
Build the Box
- Assemble the boxes by gluing and nailing all four sides to the back panel and to each other.
- Glue and nail the lip on each bottom panel (and shelves) before assembling the rollouts.
- Pro tip: A thin bead of wood glue on each edge is all you need. Then hold the edges of each panel flush while you pin them together with 1-1/2-in. brads spaced about every 4 in.
Drill Finger Pulls
- Drill 1-1/4- in.-diameter finger pull holes.
- Note: The hole defines each rollout’s open side.
- Clamp a block against the back side to prevent splintering inside.
- Pro tip: A Forstner bit will make the neatest hole, but a sharp spade bit will work, provided you use a block on the back side to prevent splintering.
Add Shelf Standards
- Cut the 24-in.-long shelf standards down to 18 in. with a hacksaw.
- Pro tip: Look at the embossed shelf numbers to determine which end is the top and cut from that end.
- Nail the standards in place with the brads provided.
- Pro tip: This is the best time to apply the finish of your choice to the rollouts. Lightly sand everything with 220-grit sandpaper and add the finish. We chose two coats of water-based polyurethane to protect the wood against dirty fingers and marks from cans.
Fasten Slides to Cleats
- Screw the drawer slides to the cleats. Position each slide flush with the front and top of the cleat.
Position the Cleats and Hold-Down Rail
- Predrill and screw the cleats to the cabinet.
- Predrill and screw the hold-down rail to the cabinet.
- Pro tip: Use plywood scraps the same width as the boxes for perfect spacing.
Screw the Drawer Slides to the Drawers
- Release the drawer slides from the cleat slides and screw them to the side of each box flush with the bottom and the front.