DIY swing out wall storage cabinet with open shelving - perfect for craft room organization
Build | Fixing Furniture | Shelves & Storage

Easy Swing Out Wall Shelves from Scrap Wood

This post will show you how to make these easy wall shelves that swing out, providing ample wood storage for small spaces.

My hubby put together these DIY swing-out wall shelves for my craft room.

DIY swing out shelves in the craft room holding acrylic paint

DIY Swing Out Wall Shelves 

I love a good storage solution – a creative way to store something, a hidden pull-out cabinet, furniture that folds out from the wall.

In fact, the tiny house shows are my favorite. I am always oogling at all the ideas to create more storage.

I have a little craft corner in the sitting room off our bedroom, where I thought I had completely maximized my wall storage space. However, I found a seven-inch area on the end of a cubby shelf we built, where I could add more storage.

When thinking about organizational ideas, I was thinking of making just a simple shelf to hold some of my acrylic paints, and then my hubs comes along and turned my design into a swing-out shelf, that would hold three times the paint bottles.

Who can say no to that?!

After all that, it looked just a little too plain, so I added a colorful background.

The best part of this design is that you can build just the simple shelf, or you can build both pieces, making this easy DIY swing-out wall shelf. The simple shelf holds one row of paints, and the second piece holds two rows of paints. If you build the whole thing, as we did, you’ll have three rows of shelving.

Here are my hubby’s instructions on how he built these swing-out shelf cabinets.

DIY swing out storage shelf cabinet with colorful background

Design for Swing Out Shelves

Here is the design for the swing-out wall shelves that I sketched on my computer:

Wall storage with swing out shelves

The swing out shelf was going to attach to the end of a cubby shelf I had built. We love to maximize all the space everywhere. 

DIY acrylic paint organizer mounted on the wall

The project consisted of two vertical boxes of shelves. Either one could work as a stand-alone shelf, but we like to kick things up a notch. So I planned on hinging the shelves together for maximum storage efficiency. The left box would swing freely, and the right box would be affixed to the wall.

For the freely swinging box, I had to put small ledges to prevent items from sliding off the shelves while opening or closing the unit. I also had plans for a small magnetic catch to keep the shelves closed when not in use.

Tools and Materials

Material for the Shelf

Tools for Building the Shelf

  • Table saw / miter saw for cutting the wood
  • Drill for the hinge screw holes
  • 12″ Bar clamp to hold the frame together while nailing

Making the Colorful Background

Instructions for Building Swing Out Shelves

To start this project, I used my table saw and cut out a piece of 3/4″ thick plywood, about 30″ x 12″.  This piece would be used to construct the frames for the two shelving units.  I actually wanted to use boards for these shelves, but I didn’t have any lying around the garage.

So plywood would have to do.

The disadvantage of the plywood was that I would have to glue on some trim to hide the exposed plywood edges. Also, plywood doesn’t have as smooth a surface as boards. However, I love a good scrap wood project, and this route worked well. 

Cutting Grooves for the Shelves

With my plywood cut, I used a pencil and ruler to mark the positions of slots where the individual shelves would go. I planned on cutting grooves to insert 3/8″ thick plywood sheets for the shelves.

Here’s a picture of the marked-up plywood with shelving grooves outlined:

Prepping the plywood to build DIY swing out wall shelves

I used my table saw to cut out the shelving grooves. Since the table saw blade was only 1/8″ wide, I had to make 3 separate cuts to get each 3/8″ wide groove required for the shelves.

After each cut, I slide the plywood over by 1/8″ until I achieved my desired groove thickness.

Here’s a close-up of one of the grooves being cut by the table saw:

Using the router to build DIY swing out wall storage shelves

Times like this I wished I had some dado blades. I would be able to stack multiple blades together to make a 3/8″ cutting surface, and cut out the grooves in one pass, instead of three. 

Here’s a picture showing all the shelving grooves cut out:

Make an easy wall cabinet with two storage options

Cutting the Strips for a Swing Out Wall Shelf Frame

Next, I used the table saw again to cut the plywood into strips to be used to construct the shelving boxes:

Pieces of wood needed to build custom DIY storage shelf with swing out shelves

Constructing a Frame for the Swing Out Wall Shelves

To join the plywood pieces together to form a frame, I used construction adhesive, a bar clamp, and my finishing nail gun.

Here you can see I clamped together some plywood strips to get ready for nailing:

Clamping together plywood strips for diy swing out shelves - easy storage solution

Here’s a close-up of the finishing nailgun in action:

Once I joined four pieces of plywood to make a frame, I nailed on a backing strip of 3/8″ plywood:

Joining four pieces to make a frame for the DIY wall swinging wall shelves

To build the second shelving box, I repeated the same steps for the first box. However, I omitted the 3/8″ plywood backing sheet, as it was not needed for the second box.

Here are both shelving boxes assembled:

Making a DIY wall shelf that swing open - perfect storage for small spaces

Cutting and Inserting the Plywood Shelves

Next it was time to cut 7.5″ long strips of 3/8″ thick plywood for the individual shelves. These were going to be inserted into the grooves I cut earlier.

I used the miter saw to quickly cut the strips:

Using the miter saw to cut strips for the DIY swinging shelves

Here I am inserting the 3/8″ plywood shelves into the boxes:

Making DIY swing out shelves - perfect for extra storage

Here is the completed pair of shelves:

Making DIY swing out wall shelves with scrap wood

Trimming and Painting the Swing Out Wall Shelves

Next I used the table saw to cut strips of 3/8″ plywood trim for the shelves:

Adding trim to the DIY wall cabinet

I used constructive adhesive to attach the trim to the plywood boxes:

Adding trim to the plywood wall shelf

Here are the completed shelving boxes with trim:

DIY wall mounted shelving with a swinging shelf for additional storage

Now it was time for a paint job:

Painting a DIY wall shelf with a swinging shelf white for storing acrylic paints

Decorating the Swing Out Wall Shelves with Patterned Paper

After the paint dried, I wanted to the give the inside shelving box a colorful look. So I planned on cutting out rectangular sheets of patterned paper and adhering it to the back of the shelves with Mod Podge:

Using mod podge and card stock on wood to create a colorful background for a DIY shelf

Here’s some of the card stock paper I used for this step:

Using card stock paper to make a DIY shelf brighter and more fun for storing acrylic paints

The inside shelving box was completed. It looked awesome with the patterned paper:

Using colorful card stock on the back of DIY shelving

Now it was finally time to connect the two shelving boxes with a hinge. Here I have placed a hinge on the two boxes, and marked the center holes to pre-drill for screws:

Using a hinge to add a swinging shelf to the DIY wall cabinet

Mounting the Swing Out Wall Shelves

With the hinges attached, I needed a way to mount the shelves on some custom-built cubbies I made recently. Instead of just screwing the shelves to the cubbies, I opted to mount the top and bottom with some metal plates, as seen below:

Adding a DIY wall cabinet to the end of a wall-mounted cubby shelf

Finally, it was time to mount the shelves! I positioned them in between the metal plates attached to the cubbies, and screwed them into the plates.

The metal mounting plates (also called mending plates) worked out great because I didn’t have to see screw heads holding the shelves on. 

Also, I didn’t have to put any visible screw holes into the cubbies in case I wanted to move the shelves somewhere else in the future.

However, if you’re doing a similar project, you may not have a mounting area with the same height as your shelves. 

So it’s just as easy to mount the shelves to a wall. I would suggest using screws with washers to fasten the plywood backing of the inner shelving box to the wall.  The washers would help prevent the plywood from ripping through the screw heads and falling to the ground under load.

Swing Out Wall Shelves in Action

Here are some pictures of the awesome mounted shelves. Here is the shelf mounted and empty. You can easily see that the swinging part can hold two rows of acrylic paint. 

White DIY wall mounted cabinet with swinging shelf and colorful background

Here is the closed swing-out shelf. It’s actually three rows deep – the first two rows of paint are on the swinging door. 

Swinging DIY shelf with hidden storage used for acrylic paint storage

And, here is the swinging shelf open: 

DIY swing out wall storage cabinet with open shelving - perfect for craft room organization

I used all scrap wood for these swinging wall shelves, so the budget was very low – under $15 for the hinges. Even if I had to purchase the wood though, I can’t imagine it being more than $35 in total to make this project.

Let me know if you try it out! 


    1. Thanks so much, Teri!:)

  1. Oh my goodness!! The swing out shelf is perfect! Such a great project! I will be trying that out for sure, one for me and one for my Mom.

    1. Aww thanks so much, Christine! It holds so much – you’ll love it:)

    1. Thanks so much, Danielle! Yess spices is a great idea!

  2. I love how this incorporates storage and decor together. What a great idea! ?

    1. Thanks so much, Kenya! Yes, the card stock really amped it up:)

  3. I love how your shelves swing out to be able to store more paint! Love the idea, and it would work well for spray paint too! Great job, Eileen!

    1. Thanks Megan! I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out but I do love it now:) I think the card stock helped!

    1. Thanks Cindy! Yes it’s so funny how many of my projects are storage!

  4. Awesome shelves! They sure do save space and hold so many things

    1. Thanks Shirley!! Yes amazing how much stuff can be stored on the wall:)

  5. I love this project and I love how colorful you made these shelves! Great idea!

  6. SO smart! I love that you made this with what you had and created a whole new look and space without compromising!
    Thanks for sharing the full tutorial. I am pinning for future reference, when we move.
    Thanks for creating the At Home DIY Group, too.

    1. Aww thanks Meegan! So glad you could be a part of it!

    1. Thanks, girl! I think the card stock made it:)

  7. Wow, now that’s a brilliant use of space and it looks great too. I’m now trying to figure out where I can build one of these for myself.

    1. Thanks Toni! I love using every inch of space! Ha!

  8. This is so clever … and so convenient. I’d like to make something similar to hold all my spray paint in the garage!

    1. Thanks Randi! Yes it would work great for spray paint!! And you can see each bottle the way it’s designed 🙂

  9. Eileen, this is brilliant! I love being able to maximize storage space, and this certainly does just that. I also love the colorful paper you added to the back. 🙂 Great job!

    1. Thanks so much Amy!! Yes such a fun look with paper:)

    1. Ha!! I like your thinking:)

  10. I love projects that take the less than obvious approach to fixing a problem. They’re always the best. Ncie job on this and it looks pretty!

    1. Haha yess definitely! I thought it would be too clunky but the space ended up being perfect for it!

  11. This is such a clever way to use a small space, I love this idea. They look so cute too.

    1. Thanks so much Sarah! I love using every inch of space:)

  12. I love this! Great solution and use of space! I have so many little DecoArt paints this would be great for.

    1. Thanks so much, Brittany! Yes they seem to multiply lol

  13. This looks Amazing and I love the vibrant background color you chose. Beautiful!

    1. Thanks so much, Anam! I’m always so inspired by your color schemes:)

  14. What a great idea! I need to build something like this to store and easily view my paints. Currently they are all stacked in a drawer… Thanks for sharing the instructions for the build!

    1. Thanks so much, Christine! Yes this makes them so easy to see and it works is free up your drawer:)

  15. Love this idea. I am always looking for ways to store my craft paints. I would love to be part of your DIY monthly challenges.

  16. Eileen and Ash, this is such a fantastic project for a craft room! I need to built one of these soon! My parents in law have something similar in their pantry and it is so functional!

    1. Aww thanks so much, Lisa! Yes it holds so much and barely takes up any space:)

  17. WOW! What an awesome way to create easy access to smaller items- I’m thinking spice rack for sure. Love the card stock to easily change the look whenever you like too. Just ALL beautifully done!

    1. Thanks so much, Christine!! Yes the card stock is what made me love it:) Before I wasn’t so sure:)

  18. D.A. Sattazahn says:

    This is such a neat idea and nicely done. I wonder if this could be adjusted for a counter top to put in spice jars of different sizes? For years I have been looking for an idea for this and have come up empty handed.Let me know if you run across something. Thank you.

    1. Thanks so much, D.A! Yes a spice rack would be perfect for this shelf:)

  19. Great idea!, you could do something similar and more rustic using an old pallet. Just cut the pallet in half or to the size you want and add new 2×4 sides. Instant shelves.

    1. Thanks Noel! Good idea with the pallet:)

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