Do cans clutter your shelves?
Here's how we free up shelf space and reuse a bi-fold door.
Bi-fold doors... are always overflowing at our local Habitat Restore. In the SEMN market they sell for $1 but just as often they end up in the dumpster. I've taken home a few over the years and they are easy to use for lightweight shelves.
Can Storage. We really only stock a few cans. Stewed tomatoes, refried beans, coconut milk.... these are our most common. We also have a number of salvaged dog food cans... if we didn't use the storage for the pantry it would have gone out to the garage for the dog food we feed to our backyard chickens. ---we didn't buy it. It was recalled by Purina because the protein level wasn't high enough for dogs... the ladies love it!
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Step 1: Reused Materials
- Bifold Door - I used a 12" flat paneled door
- Melissa and Doug Art Easel - this was in the trash a few doors down. They bent the hinges but the rest of the hardware and wood was ready for reused. ---don't waste a new one but great for parts!
- TV Tray - I used half of the base material to make a window shelf. Now the leftover is put to use.
- Cutting Board - a flexible plastic cutting board that was likely picked up at Aldi about 8 years ago. --they are actually pretty handy. We use them in the kitchen around the main cutting board.
- Ryobi Drill - I bought a refurbished model in '09... at 10 years in it's going strong. They've changed the design... I'm not seeing a corded model similar to what I have on amazon.
- Ryobi Table Saw - Bought the 10" table saw at our local Habitat Restore for $20. Again, they've changed the design... what I have is more similar to the Skil Model.
- Japanese Saw - so easy, love this saw.
- Razor Blades - I keep one on a magnet right next to the bench. I reach for it all the time.
Step 2: Bifold Door Prep
Remove One Panel - I did this off camera... The idea for the project only came together once I ran the bi-fold door over the table saw and removed the front panel.
Cleaning Interior - Inexpensive bi-folds, just like ikea furniture, use cardboard as filler. I provides some rigidity at minimal cost or weight. I used a razor blade to remove the cardboard that didn't pull off. It simply ran along the seam when pushed flat on the mdf.
---If you have a store for reused building materials in your town try to avoid buying new bi-folds. There are so many that go to waste!
Step 3: Top Rail
For the side rails I needed to use spacers... I could have cut material from stock but it was easier to reach for the leftover legs of a Melissa and Doug Art Easel.
Here's my process that continues on the next step:
- Cut 3/4" risers. I used the table saw to match the width and cut to length 1-1/2"
- Space along bi-fold.
- Glue to top rail. I used clamps to hold in place but didn't glue to the bottom. My drill bit wasn't long enough to go all the way through.
- Drill top rail. I had to also drill a larger hole to recess the screw.
- Drill the bottom rail. Held in place I was able to just touch the bottom rail to indicate where to continue the hole.
- Screw together
Step 4: Top Rail Continued
See that the hole was transferred after the top rail was connected. Screws were then started in the top rail before connecting the whole piece. Three screws along the 30" length worked fine.
Step 5: Middle Spacer
Creating Lanes. The middle spacer is needed to keep the cans in track. Fortunately cans have a standard size. I centered another Melissa and Doug easel leg and used a pneumatic staple gun to hold it in place.
Step 6: TV Tray Base
The material used as base is the leftover surface of a TV tray. These have been in the basement for years and the material is quite solid.
See the pre-drilled holes for the furniture screws.
Step 7: Finishing
Window. All that's left is the need for a translucent screen. I found a beat up old cutting board. We bought a set of 10 years ago and I find lots of uses. Most recently they filled in a window pane that broke over the summer.
The Melissa and Doug Easel has a 27" width... these lightweight pieces worked perfectly to support the "window."
Can Opening. It's important to leave enough space to pull a can.
Stopper. I used a metal stopper from the tray table. It shows up in the next step. I'm still debating if I replace the metal stopper with a wood one cut to length. (see next image)
Step 8: In Place
We mounted the storage out of sight. These stairs sit right by our fridge just outside of the kitchen. It's an old house and their isn't much space for a couple who cooks regularly.
I like seeing the "Melissa" to remind me of the reused materials. Not a polished look though it fits nicely into the very utilitarian stairway/pantry.
Thanks for reading!
Here are a couple recent reuse instructables:
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