Introduction: Slide Out Refrigerator Cabinet

About: I am a full time illustrator and mural painter but also enjoy woodworking, screen printing, performing spoken word poetry, and the overall process of making creative work. Growing up, my main interests were sk…

In this instructable I’ll show you how to build a slide out cabinet that fits in the space next to your refrigerator. Our house is pretty small (around 1000 sq ft) so we're always looking for ways to increase our storage. I came across some similar ideas earlier this year and finally got around to making my own, but with a few modifications. It measures 4.5" x 29" x 63" and fits next to our refrigerator. Its small but it provided us with enough space to declutter our kitchen cabinets and make kitchen organization a breeze.



- 4' x 8' sheet of 1/2" plywood

- box of 1 1/4" screws

- a handful of 5/16" dowels

- paint (optional)

- two non-swivel castors

- two 24" drawer slides (I would have gone with longer ones if they were available in store)


- Fusion 360 or similar program (optional)

- Table or circular saw

- clamps

- drill

- 5/16" brad point drill bit

- router with 1/2" rabbeting bit

- router template guide set - I used the 1" guide

-caulk gun and Liquid Nails heavy duty construction adhesive (optional finish)

Step 1: Design

The first step is to measure how much space you have to work with. In my case, I had under 6" between the fridge and the wall. I wanted to make it the same height and depth as the fridge so it slides in nicely beside it. My house is old and nothing is square to begin with, so I left a little extra room in case I had to make adjustments when I install it. 4.5" was the perfect width to fit nicely in the space as well as provide a wide enough shelf for a lot of items.

Every build starts with a drawing, but this is the first time I've used Fusion 360 to plan a build, which was incredibly helpful.

- In Fusion 360, sketch out the bottom of the shelf - 4.5” x 29”

- Extrude 1/2"

- Duplicate the bottom shelf and move it up 62.5"

- Repeat the process for the sides : 4.5" x 62". I also added a wood texture, which isn’t necessary but makes it more fun.

- Sketch the back and extrude it 1/2". The measurements are 62" x 28"

- Optional - Drop in a background image. If you insert an image, uncheck the box that says "chain faces". Having it checked makes your image sort of wrap around the sides which causes this weird glare thing and skews the image. Unchecking it makes your image easier to see.

- Create your shelves. The measurements are 28.5" long (to fit into the 1/4" deep dado cuts) by 4" wide.

- My plan is to cut dados into the sides at 3.5" intervals so the shelves can be adjusted as needed. Because of this, I didn't space them out evenly. This could be done a number of different ways though. You could figure out what you want to put in the shelves and space them out accordingly, or simply make them all even.

Step 2: Plot Your Lines and Make Cuts

I used Fusion 360 to plot out all my cuts so I would have as little scrap as possible. This could also be done in Illustrator, Photoshop, Affinity Designer, etc.

Print and label all your cuts then draw the lines on your board and make the cuts using either a table or circular saw.

Step 3: Background Image - Optional

This step is completely optional but kinda fun. I have been doing a lot of screen printing recently and I wanted to use a design that I've been using as the background for this. You could do any number of things such as staining, painting, using patterns, a neat wallpaper or contact paper.

Here's how I did my design:

- Mask the area that won't be painted.

- Use spray paint to paint the fills and then remove the mask once its dry.

- Project image onto board

- paint with house paint and paint markers.

Step 4: Build a Dado Jig

There are many ways to add shelves to this cabinet. If you don't want to go through the steps of cutting dados, you can cut 4" support brackets and rest your shelves on top of those. If you go that route, skip this step and the following step.

In order to get consistent dados for the shelves, I had to make a jig for my router to go through. This was a first for me so I watched this youtube video for instructions. I made mine slightly different but the overall concept is the same.

- Install 1" rub collar onto your router baseplate.

- Cut two long boards that are the same and two short boards that are the same. These don’t have to be any specific dimension, just long enough to make it all the way through your material and wide enough that your router can sit on it. There needs to be a 1" gap between the boards that the rub collar will ride though.

- I put my side boards into the jig and then attached the top board to hold them in place. I then flipped it over and placed the router in the jig and set the depth. I did mine 1/4". Cut a rabbet though the supporting boards of the jig.

Step 5: Dado Cuts

Place your side boards next to each other and clamp them down so they won't move.

Determine how far you would like each shelf spaced out and draw lines using a speed square to mark them. I did mine every 3.5" and cut on center.

Place the router in the jig and set your depth. I did mine 1/4" but I wish I would have done a little less because it made my side boards a little weaker than I would have liked them to be. It ended up being plenty strong once I assembled the entire thing but if I were to do it again I would cut a little less.

Place your jig on center of each line and clamp it down so it stays in place. Use your router to make the first cut. Continue moving the jig to the center of each line and make dados for each shelf.

Step 6: Drill Holes for Dowels

In the center between each dado, mark where you want your dowel to go and make sure they’re evenly spaced.`

Line up the dados of each side and clamp the two sides together. Drill your holes with a 5/16" brad point drill bit - this helps ensure that your holes end up exactly where you want them.

Step 7: Assemble

Place your side boards around your back board and begin to assemble. Evenly space where you want the screws to go and pre drill each hole, this helps prevent the wood from splitting. Using 1 1/4" screws, attach the side boards and top and bottom boards. Once that is complete, install your shelves and then cut the dowels to size.

Attach castors on the bottom of the bottom shelf. I added an additional 1/2" board on the here to make it a bit stronger.

Optional step: construct a little shelf that fits between the castors.

Step 8: Install the Drawer Slides

- Place the cabinet next to the fridge to ensure that it fits. The wall that this is installed on isn't level itself so I had to add some pieces on the back to get it as close as I could so it didn't look crooked next to the fridge. This was a little bit annoying at first but because of this I ended up attaching the slide to some wood that I cut which made the install pretty easy.

- Mark and install the inside part of the drawer slides on the back of the cabinet and make sure they’re level. I installed one near the top and one near the bottom. I later moved the bottom one up a ways because it wasn't quite working with the slight slant of my wall.

- For the other part of the drawer slide, I first attached a skinner board to a wider board, and then attached the slide to that. This made it easy to assemble on the wall.

- Attach the two parts of the slide together and then find the studs. (Fun trick: magnets can work as stud finders. The magnet will find the screws that the drywall is attached to the studs with.)

- Having this assembly made it really easy to attach to the wall. It eliminated the need to precisely measure out where the second part of the slide would be mounted. Make it level and screw it into the studs.

Step 9: Test It Out!

Our cabinets are so small I honestly couldn't wait to get this thing organized. A big reason I made the shelfs adjustable was so we could fit different items in and not have something short take up a ton of vertical space.

Step 10: Finishing Touches

My plan was to use the ipe lumber I scored years ago to finish off the front of the cabinet. Since there is a weird gap caused by the wall being not level, I had to cut a board cover the gap. I first made a cardboard template and then traced that onto an 1/8" thick piece of plywood and cut it.

- Using heavy duty liquid nails construction adhesive, I attached my finishing boards to the backing board and clamped it down until it set. This process takes quite a while so while these were setting, I worked on this instructable!

- Using clamps, attach the entire assembly to the cabinet and screw in from the back.

- Place your handle and install.

- The last thing I need to do is cut a finishing board to cover this gap. I'll make this happen the next time I'm able to use my friends shop.

- That's a wrap!! Organize your items and have fun.

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable! If you want to check out more of my mural or illustration work, find me on Instagram @oldgrowthcreative or at


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