Introduction: DIY! Above Stove Shelf

Picture of DIY! Above Stove Shelf

POST-EDIT: For those concerned about fire safety, this shelf DOES NOT break ICC M1505.1, "A clearance of at least 24 inches (610 mm) shall be maintained between the cooking surface and the combustible material or cabinet." As it is BEHIND the cooktop, NOT ABOVE IT. Should you choose to proceed with this instructables, please bear in mind that your own shelf must also meet these guidelines. Spice rackson the backof the stoveare VERY common.

The space BEHIND the stove in my partner's small kitchen was just begging to be utilized. We discussed it at length and found another Instructable detailing someone's behind the stove spice rack. I suggested we do something similar and he was game! So one trip to the Home Depot and a couple hours later, there was a shelf. I built this... my shelf.

Okay! Enough puns! You want a sweet shelf of your own?? Let's do it!

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

First thing's first: Measure the area behind your stove to determine how big you can go. The top of the back of the stove here was just a bit less than 30 inches. Give yourself a little wiggle room on the width. There was enough room to go up around 30 inches on the wall as well, and I wanted a little overhang to wrap around the sides of the stove for stability. From the front of the top of the stove to the wall was about 7 inches. So I got five 30 inch long 1"x 8" boards.

Next you need to gather materials to build your shelf. I spent around $20 on materials for this shelf because I found a sweet sale on some lumber that was just the right size! If you go to the Home Depot, look around the lumber section, you might also find a sweet deal and save $10. Anyway, here's what you need:

  • 5 sections of lumber, measured to fit your stove/wall situation. They will cut lumber for you for free at the Home Depot (but be careful because it isn't always super precise).
  • Screws that will go at least 1/2" beyond the depth of your wood. I got #6 1-1/2 size wood screws.
  • Screws for the wall (I got #6 1-1/8 wood screws)
  • Some means of mounting the shelf onto the wall itself, so it is not just perched on top of the stove. I got 4 metal "repair brackets", which I screwed onto the back of the shelf and onto the wall (as pictured in later step).

If you would like the full experience... ride the bus. I did it. You'd be surprised how much weird heavy stuff they let you take on the bus.

Step 2: Measure, Measure, Assemble

Picture of Measure, Measure, Assemble

Okay so I'm gonna be real with you for a minute... I was kind of winging it here. I don't have as many power tools as I want, so I was making do with what I had. I measured and marked everything as I went along here, leaving a 3" lip below the bottom shelf to surround the top of the stove. The middle shelf was admittedly crooked at first, but I fixed it by removing the screws and reattaching it just a hair lower.

This is not rocket science. You got this. If I, with very limited carpentry skills, can do this, you can certainly do this.

Step 3: Position Shelf Above Stove

Picture of Position Shelf Above Stove

As mentioned in the materials step, here is how I attached the shelf to the wall. It is pretty snug over the stove but I wanted it to be extra safe, because earth quakes. The little metal plate shown in the photo had two holes in it. I screwed it onto the back of the shelf and then put a screw going the opposite direction into the wall. I did this at four points on the shelf (two are not visible because they are behind the stove). It ain't elegant but it's certainly effective.

Again, make sure your shelf is in no way above the burners, as that could be a potential fire hazard.

Shown here is the shelf (with still crooked middle section) attached above the stove. Wow! Much storage!

Step 4: Organize!

Picture of Organize!

One fixed middle shelf and a few improvements later, a shelf! I added two screws on the side nearest the counter top to hang the cutting board, and one on the other side to hang the pot holders.

Next, I think I will pick up a metal canister to hold utensils and attach it to the side for easy access to spatulas and the like. I will also be painting the shelf with a high heat finish. Now all of the spices, oils, and teas are readily available and easy to see, and the cabinets are much more apt to store all the food stuffs that are required to keep us alive!

That's it! Go forth and organize your own small kitchen!

Comments

Markomyt1 (author)2016-04-24

I like it! Thanks!

chloe.stamper (author)2014-07-29

As I have also added in the intro... For those concerned about fire safety, this shelf DOES NOT break ICC M1505.1, "A clearance of at least 24 inches (610 mm) shall be maintained between the cooking surface and the combustible material or cabinet." As it is BEHIND the cooktop, NOT ABOVE IT. Should you choose to proceed with this instructables, please bear in mind that your own shelf must also meet these guidelines. Spice racks on the back of the stove are very common.

ski2moro (author)2014-07-28

I agree with the people who warn of the oil going rancid and the spices on the shelves degrading in the heat. Heat rises. In addition, because you have no kitchen fan to pull grease away from the room, you will have grease layers on everything on the shelves. As far as Building Code, check to see how high something needs to be mounted above the stove. Microwaves that mount above the stove have non-combustible materials. Wood is really dangerous above the stove, especially wood that is penetrated with grease from cooking. Finally, consider reaching above the hot stove without burning your clothing on the flame of the burner.

BTW, I cannot believe that you have a wire hanging so close to the burners.

chloe.stamper (author)ski2moro2014-07-28

Thank you for your opinions on this matter I have certainly received many. I am painting the shelf this week with heat resistant paint to ensure grease will not saturate the wood (though it is in not in direct contact with any heat or grease, nor are the spices and oil, in its current position, it is better safe).

It will also comfort you to know that the burner the wire is near does not work.

I will also reiterate that the shelf is in no way above the burners and shelves and spice racks on the backs of stoves are shockingly common.

prince-of-weasels (author)2014-07-28

To all the fire warnings let me add "steam"&"grease." The ends of the boards need sealing with good thick water based primer and the whole unit with an acrylic paint.Cooking (good cooking) tends to linger on the walls lol Raw wood will be impossible to keep clean. On a unit that small I would use cans of spray paint----mine would be bright yellow and have stenciled designs later ^_^------and you can get 'high temp' spray paint in the automotive section for touching up engines etc.... to spray the underside of the lower shelf, if your really scared about smouldering shelves when you make tomato sauce LOL

Paint is a good idea! I've been looking at some simple spray finishes to apply this week to protect the wood and make it easier to clean. Thank you for your friendly words! :)

M4MM4L (author)2014-07-28

Brilliant! All it needs now is a quick coat of paint and some additional hooks and holders. I'll definitely use this as inspiration to add something similar above my own stove. Thanks!

BetsyFartBlossom (author)2014-07-27

Since you mentioned earth quakes, I, too, was concerned with your stuff 'walking' around the shelves and falling onto the stove. This would make a mess and possibly chip your stove:( I have a cat whose primary daytime job was to knock my plants off of the windowsill and make it look like an accident. What I did was to get some curtain rods that stick 3" out from the window, to accommodate my plant pots, and put them about 2 1/2 inches higher than the windowsill. They contain the plants and frustrate the cat:) You can get some that stick out a just a little bit to accommodate the roundness of your containers. The rods come with nails and brackets that should fit nicely on the front vertical edges of your shelves to stop those containers going on a walkabout. I think about 1" above each shelf should do nicely. I wouldn't use the compression type as they take up room, and we need all the room we can get! Also, I'd paint the shelf and maybe wallpaper the back wall of the shelf, or maybe paint the back of the shelf a really cool contrasting colour. And lastly, I’d make the bottom shelf a little narrower. I, myself, would hit it with every pot and pan I lifted from the back burner:( I think it's wonderful, and as my dad used to say, "You done good kid!":) Congrats:)

That's a really awesome idea! I bet it would work well for this shelf too. My cats are also professional destroyers of potted plants... I am definitely going to employ that system on the windows! I do agree that the lower shelf extends out a little far. Once I have access to a jig saw I am going to do some inventive "shaping".

dogloverlaura (author)2014-07-27

This is an amazing idea! I am going to try this myself. I need to add more storage to my kitchen. Thanks.

chloe.stamper (author)2014-07-27

Thank you all for your concerned comments. I researched to be sure that this project would not present a fire hazard, and even checked with a friend who is a city manager to get his opinion (he deals with building codes all day). The stove itself is a few inches out from the wall already and the shelf is mostly located behind the stove. The shelf itself is mounted on four brackets to at the back to studs in the wall. I can assure you all that it is very sturdy and safe and does not break any building codes in my area (no more than installing a cabinet a few inches directly above the stove does). The stove can be pulled out further for cleaning and the items on it are not exposed directly to heat.

Cheese Queen (author)2014-07-27

Nicely and frugally done!

One culinary note, however: spices and oils are both adversely effected by heat and sunlight. Storing them above the stove will cut down on their shelf life tremendously. Better to store cereal products, sugars, salt, canned goods here and keep the delicate and expensive stuff safe in the cupboards.

That's a good thought! I haven't had much issue with the oils or spices heating up so far as they are back far enough and high enough up to avoid any direct heat or sunlight. Perhaps I will move the spices and oils up to the second shelf.

iandouglas (author)2014-07-27

While I generally like the idea of extra storage, advising others to build a wooden shelf over a stove where fires can occur can be potentially VERY dangerous. We experienced a kitchen fire a few years ago, and this shelf, to continue your use of puns, would have added fuel to the fire.

I'd rather adapt one of those $15 shelves you can get to fit around a toilet with storage, they're usually made of metal. While generally not side enough to go around a stove, I'm sure you could get clever about extending the shelves.

chloe.stamper (author)iandouglas2014-07-27

The shelf is primarily behind the stove, and so far I've had no issues with heating. The bottom shelf is not over the rear burners at all. I checked up on fire safety to make sure this was a safe project to undertake. The shelf is not exposed to heat and is up high enough/far enough back that there's no danger of oils or other things falling onto the stove, and the shelf itself is mounted at four points on the back to studs in the wall. In addition, should any cooking fires occur, we also have a well serviced smoke detector and fire extinguisher nearby.

Colt45UK (author)2014-07-27

Nice, but will it heat and damage the shelf for being too low to the stove? As I've been thinking of built one similar to that.

chloe.stamper (author)Colt45UK2014-07-27

My stove is out from the wall a few inches so the shelf itself is primarily behind it. If your stove is snug to the wall I would recommend a much smaller shelf that none of the wood is above the burners.

salextwenty5 (author)2014-07-25

you should maybe put a rail across the shelf that holds the cooking oil or anything that could potentially cause a fire if fallen.

That's a good idea! I will look into it.

odellkevin (author)2014-07-27

Cool! Hindsight being what it is, you could have made the side pieces go all the way down to the floor. That way, the weight of the rack and all of the stuff on it would have been on the floor, instead of on the back of the stove, and on the wall. Plus, you could slide the stove in and out, if needed for cleaning, etc., without having to detach the shelf. But, cool nevertheless, and you made it yourself. Sounds like you got the itch, there''s no telling what you will be building next...

chloe.stamper (author)odellkevin2014-07-27

Thanks! I did consider going all the way down to the floor but upon checking for studs behind the stove, there were two spaced right to mount the shelf on brackets behind the stove. I also intend to add to shelf brackets at the bottom behind the stove to ensure that the top of the stove isn't bearing any weight. As is, the stove can easily be pulled out for cleaning, though the bottom shelf is a little snug to the top of the stove.

spiralbound (author)2014-07-27

In addition to the cautionary comments already given, I would add that you REALLY should research your local building codes, specifically with regards to fire safety. If your shelving is not code compliant and a kitchen fire does occur, you could be liable for damages to the residence and your property insurance will NOT cover a fire when there are contributory factors which contravened building safety code.

Great way to maximize space in a small kitchen! Awesome job!

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