Food Storage Rotation Shelf Plans

>> Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Food Storage Rotation Shelves

Let me first say that I usually do things the hard if you figure out an easier way then please do it your way....this is just how I did it.  My brain doesn't have an "easy" button :)

Materials Needed

4 – 2”x4”x6’ ( you can use 7 or 8 feet lengths depending on how tall you want it)  

6 – 2”x4”x8’ (make sure you choose very straight boards)

6 - 2’x4’x1/2” sheets of plywood or pressboard for the shelves
(they come in sheets of 4’x8’ and Lowes or Home Depot will cut them for you)

24 – ¼” round x3 ½“ long bolts

24 – hex nuts (I found out the hard way that there are 2 types of these, make sure they screw all the way onto the bolt and don’t stop at the end. You need to be able to tighten them.)

24 – ¼” washers

Approximately 20 - 1”x2”x8’ (depending on the size of your cans)

36 – 1 ½ inch wood screws

Power Drill

5/16” and 1/8” drill bit (this should come with your drill)

Phillips head screw driver bit (this should come with your drill)

Miter saw

Tape measure


Ratchet to tighten hex nuts

Assembly Instructions

It’s easier to have two or three people to help put this together but it can be done with just one person. First, you are going to build the shelves. Cut the 2”x4”x8’ in half to get two 4’ boards. Place the 2”x4”x4’ boards parallel to each other on the floor (narrow side up)

and place the piece of plywood on top of the boards, making sure the boards are even and flush with the plywood. (It’s ok if the boards are a little shorter than the plywood)

Get your power drill and attach the 1/8” drill bit. Drill 4 holes, one in each corner of the plywood all the way through into the 2”x4”x4’ where you are going to put the screws (otherwise the wood may crack, and it’s easier to get the screws in.) Trade out your drill bit for the Phillips head screw driver bit and attach the piece of plywood (already cut) to the 2”x4”x4’ boards as shown in the picture. Use the 1 ½ inch screws to secure the 2”x4”x4’ underneath the piece of plywood on either side, flush. It would be easier if you had 2 drills so you don’t have to keep switching back and forth between drill bits but it’s not necessary.

Cut the 1”x2”x8’ in half to make 4’ strips (make sure you measure it before you start cutting). You should attach the outer boards first, flush with the plywood so it is easier to measure for the cans. Drill holes through the 1”x2”x4’ on both ends, smaller side up (like the picture) all the way through to the plywood and then secure the screws in the holes you just drilled.

This is where you will need to decide what is going on each shelf. On mine, I did one #10 can per shelf of the items I use the most and the filled in the spaces with everyday cans and jars. Take a can and place it on the shelf up against the 1”x2”x4’ you just attached and place another 1”x2”x4’ piece on the other side of the can. Make sure you leave enough space between the can and the 1”x2”x4’ board so it can roll freely all the way down the shelf. Secure the boards with 2 screws, one on each end, drilling first to prevent cracking. Continue this process until all shelves have the 1”x2”x4’ boards secured to them. My shelves seemed to end up with 4-5 4’ boards depending on the can sizes.

This is what the completed shelves will look like.

Once all of the shelves are complete, it is time to attach them to the 2”x4”x6’ posts. I have assembled this shelf twice now, and each time the holes weren’t aligning as well as I would have liked them to so I would drill the holes at this stage. It is possible to drill the holes before you assemble anything but I have found that once you start putting them together they don’t mesh as well and you end up drilling extra holes to have them align.

You are going to want to assemble this where you want it unless you have some big strong men to move it. It will start getting awkward and heavy once you start assembling.

Take one of the assembled shelves and lay it on the floor. Place your 2”x4”x6’ posts beside each corner of the shelf on the floor like this picture. Decide which is going to be the front of the shelf and which will be the back.

Take the posts that are at the front of the shelf and overlap the board by about 6 inches. Mark a spot with a pen or pencil 3 inches from the end of the post and center on the board like this.

Take your drill and the 5/16” drill bit and drill all the way through both 2x4’s through where you marked. Insert a bolt and loosely screw on the washer and hex bolt. Do not tighten at this stage because you are going to put the posts in an upright position and need the mobility. Repeat this step for the other front post. Once both are loosely attached, move the back posts to where they are overlapping the board by 12 inches. Mark again with a pen or pencil 9 inches from the end of the post. Drill a hole through both the post and the shelf board. Place a bolt through the holes and loosely screw on the washer and hex nut. Repeat for the other back post. Once you are finished with this step, you will stand up the posts so that they are at a 90 degree angle (use the level to make sure you are good). You can do this one post at a time and once they are up then you can tighten the hex nut to make them stand up by themselves. Do this on all four legs. You now have your bottom shelf in place and it should be at an angle to roll your cans down. This picture will show the shelf a little bit lower to the ground so do not worry if it isn’t exactly like mine. You want to make sure that there isn’t too much of an overhang on either side, if you have to have one then it is better going off the back.

This is when it’s handy to have another person around if you haven’t had someone already but you can still do it by yourself. Measure from the bolt up 11 inches on all four posts and make a mark, like the one you did for the bottom shelf. If you are working alone then it may be better to go ahead and drill out the holes once they are marked. Once that is done, you will want to take the next shelf and place it on the bottom shelf. Lift the front of the 2nd shelf and center the shelf board even with the holes in the post and drill through the shelf board. Slide in the bolt and screw on the washer and nut loosely until all of the bolts are in for this shelf. Make sure all posts are straight again with the level and then tighten the hex nuts. Do this for all 4 posts.

You will repeat these steps until all the shelves are on. The whole unit will become more stable as you put on each shelf and tighten everything.

Next, you are going to take the leftover 1”x2”x8’ boards and cut them into 6 - 26 ½ inch strips. These are going to be attached to the front of each shelf to keep the cans from rolling off. Drill holes in both ends of the boards first because these will crack if you don’t. Place them on the front of the shelf, about 1 ½ inches above the top of the plywood part of the shelf and screw them into the posts. If you put it too low then they won’t catch the food and hold it in place, the cans like to jump over the boards. I know this from experience....ugh

This is the end result!


AlwaysCreatingSomething May 9, 2010 at 1:53 PM  

Wow, I LOVE your idea! I will have to add this to my project list. We store food for 3-9 months (DH is a survivalist) so this is perfect and much less expensive than other options. Thanks for sharing. PS We used to live in Aurora and FTC before moving to upstate NY.

Anonymous,  July 10, 2010 at 1:20 PM  

this is one of the coolest homemade things i've seen... :)

Jane July 17, 2010 at 1:04 AM  

WOW! I can really say WOW! This is a good share for those who want to save money and have homemade food storage. I look forward for more of this kind!! Keep it up!

Anonymous,  June 7, 2012 at 9:46 AM  

Awesome project I have to make it shorter to fit in a closet but I may be able to line 3 side by side...very inspirational thanks

EnderGaming 4u September 8, 2016 at 2:30 PM  

hello I just found this. I want to build the food storage but would love to see the pictures. any way to see?

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