DIY Produce Bin

Build this simple, handy produce cupboard to store the harvest and free up your fridge and kitchen shelves.

September/October 2015

produce bins

After a bountiful harvest or a successful trip to the farmers market, the next obstacle to tackle is where to possibly store all of that fresh produce until you can eat it, ferment it, can it or freeze it. Keep your most frequently used items such as onions, peppers and garlic within arm’s reach by building this simple, rustic veggie cupboard to add to your kitchen or pantry.

This simple produce cupboard can free up space in the refrigerator and on countertops, and its simple design can be customized to accommodate interesting salvaged materials. Choosing salvaged wood and other reclaimed materials adds character, patina and personality that new materials can’t—at least not without a lot of extra work on your part.

Aside from assuring that you’ll get that one-of-a-kind piece you’ve always dreamed of, salvaged materials can offer savings and sustainability. They often come with much lower price tags, and repurposing an old door means there’s a little less trash heading to a landfill.

Add extra flair to your custom produce cupboard with vintage knobs and hinges, interesting wood grains or knotty woods that pair well with your existing kitchen design. Garage sales, antique malls, Habitat for Humanity reStores and Craigslist are all great places to find affordable salvaged materials in most areas. —Ashley Houk


• 1 – 1x12 at 12-feet long
• 3 – 1x2 at 8-feet long
• 4 feet of 4-1⁄4-inch-tall base moulding
• 1⁄4 sheet (2 feet by 4 feet) of 1⁄4-inch- thick plywood, beadboard or other backing material
• Chicken wire or wire mesh and staples for attaching
• 3 sets of surface mount hinges (can also use basic butt hinges)
• 3 clasps
• 3 knobs or handles
• 1-1⁄4-inch pocket hole screws
• 1-1⁄4-inch and 1-inch finish nails


• Measuring tape
• Square
• Pencil
• Safety glasses
• Hearing protection
• Kreg jig
• Drill
• Circular saw
• Miter saw
• Brad nailer
• Staple gun

Cut List

• 1 – 1x12 at 17 inches long (top)
• 2 – 1x12 at 38-1⁄2 inches (sides)
• 3 – 1x12 at 14-1⁄2 inches (shelves)
• 1– 1⁄4-inch plywood at 16 inches by 39-1⁄4 inches (back)
• 4 – 1⁄4-inch base moulding cut to fit

Face Frame
• 1 – 1x2 at 17 inches (top)
• 2 – 1x2 at 38-1⁄2 inches (sides)
• 4 – 1x2 at 13 inches (shelf trim)

Doors – Cut to Fit, 1⁄4 inch less in height and width than opening
• 6 – 1x2 at 6-1⁄4 inches
• 6 – 1x2 at 12-3⁄4 inches


1. Build the basic carcass out of the 1x12 boards using 3⁄4-inch pocket holes and 1-1⁄4-inch pocket hole screws.

step one 

2. Build the face frame with 3⁄4-inch pocket holes and 1-1⁄4-inch pocket hole screws first. Then attach the completed face frame to front of project with 1-1⁄4-inch finish nails and glue.

step two 

3. Attach back 1⁄4-inch plywood with 1-inch finish nails and glue.

4. Cut 4-1⁄4-inch base moulding to fit, mitering front corners. Nail on with nails long enough to pass through moulding into 3⁄4-inch-thick sides and front (most likely 1-inch-long nails). Use glue for extra support.

step four 

5. Build doors with 3⁄4-inch pocket holes and 1-1⁄4-inch pocket hole screws. Attach mesh or chicken wire to back with staples. Attach doors with hinges. You may also need to add a magnetic clasp to keep doors shut.

step five 

Finishing Instructions

1. Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed.

2. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120-grit sandpaper.

3. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

4. It’s always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.

Building plan and illustrations courtesy Ana White, author of The Handbuilt Home. Photo courtesy Jeanna of Barefoot in Blue Jeans.

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