Van Build Guides

Amazing DIY Pull Out Kitchen Pantry

When designing our vans kitchen cabinets we wanted to ensure we made efficient use of the limited space we had. We had seen a fair few van conversions with a pull out kitchen pantry/larders – so set about designing one that would suit our needs.

You can watch the Vlog on this part of our van build on YouTube, and we’ve provided a write up below with lots more details.

Quick statistics for our van pull out kitchen pantry build

  • Cupboard size 20cm x 57.5cm x 87.5cm (WxDXH)
  • Larder size 17.46cm x 48.5cm x 68.46cm

Why this size? Well, first off we made the cupboard 20cm wide as it was a uniform size. Happily, this meant more space next the oven too. This left an internal larder width of 17.47 once you subtract the width of our chosen drawer runners (easy to forget this part).

Things you will need

  • 15mm Plywood (you could probably step this down to 12mm if you wanted to)
  • pocket hole jig – we used the Trend jig to build all our kitchen and it is excellent
  • pocket hole screws (30mm course screws for our plywood)
  • wood glue
  • handles of your choice – ours are here
  • 450mm drawer runners (we used these from Eurofit)
  • Router/9mm cutting bit/some wood the same depth as your plywood to make a jig (or a jig for your router/router table)

First step – cut your plywood

Now, we ‘cheated here to save a bit of time and got the sawmill to cut our plywood to our design. You could do this at home though. For our kitchen pantry we required the following

  • (6x) 48.5cm x 8.5cm sides in 15mm plywood
  • (2x) 74.06cm x 14.46cm front + back
  • (3x) 15.06cm x 46.1cm 9mm Plywood bottoms

The above it to fit in an aperture 20cm x 57.5cm x 87.5cm in dimension (WxDXH). So please adjust accordingly taking into account your drawer runners.

Second Step – cut the drawer slots (AKA Dados)

There are many ways you could cut your drawer slots. The one we are most comfortable with is using a router on a homemade jig. We used a straight 15mm piece of plywood as a straight edge and another to sandwich in the piece being pushed through the jig.

Next the router was set to a depth of 3mm, you could set it deeper and cut your drawer base larger. We found 3mm to be adequate to stand in with a 9mm base, so stuck with this.

Place your router on the jig and secure it in place. In our instance we Macgyvered it and screwed it securely in place. It was set to run a slot 12.5mm (½ inch) from the bottom.

The six sides can then be run through the jig in the same way.

The middle and top drawers needed to be cut using the router in the ‘traditional’ way using a clamped board as a guide.

Step Three: Screw and glue it together

We then screwed and glued each of the left hand side pieces, then flipped the whole thing over and repeated the steps for the right hand side.

We found pocket screws to be very sturdy; we added them to back and front braces to ensure they were hidden during the final install into the bus.

Step Four: Install your drawer runners

This is always a game of patience and fettling, but we found good use of a tape measure helped with installing the ballbearing drawer runners. We added two sets and it really makes for a solid feel.

Step Five: Attach your door + Knobs

Our ‘door’ is inset so we needed to use some spacers to hold it in place evenly as we screwed the door securely in place from the back (from within the ‘pantry)’. For regular doors you could use the same method.


Let us know if you have built your own pull out larder.

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