Slide Out Refrigerator Cabinet

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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 ...

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.

Supplies:

Materials

- 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)

Tools

- 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)

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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 www.oldgrowthcreative.com

Thanks!

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    37 Discussions

    0
    AubreeReynolds
    AubreeReynolds

    16 days ago

    I love your article! The content is very valuable. It shows that you spent time researching this and you have managed to turn it into an incredible piece of valuable content 😀 😃 😄 😁 😆 😅. This is super cool! I am going to try it for sure. Thanks. For more information, click here.

    2
    papaof2
    papaof2

    2 months ago

    First, check the fridge manual for the MINIMUM CLEARANCE around your fridge. Most have something on the order of 2 to 3 inches (50-75mm) on some surfaces. If your fridge has a side clearance minimum, then do NOT encroach on that space. Same for upright freezers.

    0
    tvengineer
    tvengineer

    Reply 2 months ago

    good point.. most home refrigerators do incorporate a heating element around the outside case to prevent condensation.. I dont think they run very hot, fridge doesn't feel warm to the touch. But, it is something to think about. However, if the 'shelf' side of the slide out cabinet is next the the refrigerator, not much would ever be touching it.

    0
    imperf3kt
    imperf3kt

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    A fridge does not have a heating element, the heat you feel is from the compressor, thermal exchanger (radiator) and the heat pump.

    0
    papaof2
    papaof2

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    You are correct about the heat but it comes from the condenser coil as the compressor compress and cools the gas to get it back to a liquid. Some heat also comes from the running of the compressor.
    However, any fridge or freezer with automatic defrost has a heating element to defrost the evaporator. So yes, the fridge does have a heating element and that's just more heat the compressor has to remove when it starts back up after the defrost cycle.

    0
    Nick Nortier
    Nick Nortier

    Reply 2 months ago

    Very good to know and something I'm going to look into. I appreciate the insight and will add that to the beginning of the instructable soon.

    0
    ManoelG3
    ManoelG3

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    Even if not just like the exact especifications in refrigerator`s manual, this can work for you - manuals tend to be cautious in excess. Maybe it will add just a few bucks to your electricity bill. The temperature in the region where you live will import. I would worry with the temperature of the itens stored in the tray, too.
    Keep a thermometer inside the tray and another outside, in the same room, but apart from the refrigerator. Check if the temperature inside the cabinet is higher (and how much higher) than the temperature outside the tray.

    0
    jamessquireamberale
    jamessquireamberale

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    I was going to say something similar, make sure you maintain enough air flow so you don't cost yourself a new fridge. OP's pic looks great!

    0
    tvengineer
    tvengineer

    2 months ago

    Nice.. I know the struggle.. 900 sq ft house here.. I have often thought about doing something like this, but then I would have to find another place to store the step ladder that I currently store in that space.

    0
    NoahW3
    NoahW3

    Reply 2 months ago

    Does the stepladder take up the entire place? I don't know your situation there but maybe it's possible to create a spot in cabinet to house the stepladder in such a way that you can add shelves to the top or side, that is what I am planning to do once I can make this because I also store brooms and a small vacuum in this area.

    0
    tvengineer
    tvengineer

    Reply 2 months ago

    I went back and re-measured.. I don't think I have enough room.. right now I only have 4" between the wall and the refrigerator... I might be able to shift the fridge over about another 1/2" in the other direction.. but they would be some very thin shelves :-(

    0
    Nick Nortier
    Nick Nortier

    Reply 2 months ago

    That would be some thin shelves, it could work for spices. I really like what NoahW3 is doing - making a cabinet to hold brooms and what not. You could totally do something like that

    0
    Nick Nortier
    Nick Nortier

    Reply 2 months ago

    I'm right there with you, my house is around the same size. Do you have a garage or shed you could put the ladder in?

    0
    Nick Nortier
    Nick Nortier

    Reply 2 months ago

    Or you might be able to build one and design it specifically to be able to fit your step stool in it.

    0
    tvengineer
    tvengineer

    Reply 2 months ago

    That is a good idea... I am going to think about it.. I wonder what the longest drawer slides I can get.. It would be good if the slide could slide out as far as the fridge is deep. I think I could get about a 6 inch deep set of shelves.. it could easily hold things like canned goods and spices.

    0
    billbillt
    billbillt

    2 months ago

    GREAT IDEA!....

    0
    Nick Nortier
    Nick Nortier

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks!

    0
    bladerunner682
    bladerunner682

    2 months ago on Step 10

    This is great! We have the same space next to our fridge. I've been designing a pull out cabinet like this in my head for quite a while now. Your plans are the impetus I need to get me going. I hadn't thought about adding the casters to the bottom which I will do. Instead of all the dado cuts, I am going to use pocket holes/screws and some 1x boards for the shelves and frame. I want to use this cabinet to store/hang dust mops, brooms and a folding step stool, so I will have to do some modifications.
    GREAT JOB! Thanks for the inspiration!

    0
    Nick Nortier
    Nick Nortier

    Reply 2 months ago

    Nice!! If you make it please share it!

    0
    kenbob
    kenbob

    2 months ago

    Excellent concept, execution, and instructable. This is needed in sooo many houses. Thanks for sharing!