How To Build Your Own Canning Storage

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How to build your own canning storage shelves: Looking for ways to organize your canning supplies and getting your home canned foods all in one place? If you could build your own canning storage in a way that is built to hold a lot and doesn’t break the budget, would you be interested?

Canning Jar Organization

First things first. If you have done any home canning at all, you are well aware that canning jars should be labeled when they are filled.

You can choose to be really fancy – as I was in the beginning of my canning career and use colorful labels made specifically for canning jars. Some of them are even really cute handmade labels like these.

But, that got to be a bit costly for me so now, in my kitchen, I’m perfectly happy using a Sharpie marker and just simply writing the name of the contents and the year on the lid. Such as Green Beans 2019.

canning storage shelves full of canned food

Why do you label canning jars? Once many canned foods are all cooked and sealed in jars, it’s looks very much alike.

With labeling, you can tell spaghetti sauce from homemade pizza sauce by reading the label. And on a very rare occasion, if there are any jars left from the previous year, you can easily see this by looking at the date on the lid.

Writing the year on each jar helps with rotation on the canning storage shelf too. When you are starting canning this year, you will want to rotate last year’s jar to the front of the storage shelves. So you can use them first.

Where To Store Canning Jars?

Home canning does have some rules for safety reasons that should be followed. And this will help you decide where the best place for your to DIY your canning shelves:

  • Best storage temperatures are between 50 – 70°F. This will allow your jars to be stored longer safely.
  • Keep away from high temperatures above 90°. Locations near hot pipes, near stoves or, uninsulated attics can cause the food to spoil.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight. Light will cause the food to lose quality.
  • Store in an area with no moisture. Moisture can cause metal lids to rust, seals to break loose.

So when considering these recommendations, you should find a location that is clean, cool, dark, and dry to build your own canning storage shelves for organizing your supplies and food.

My canning shelves, at the time of writing this article, are in the spare bedroom in the corner along the wall. They have been there for about 4 years in this house.

In our previous house, I had them in the basement which made for great canning pantry storage. But we no longer have a basement.

How Do You Store Canning Supplies?

Some people can get really creative with storage solutions. Building large sturdy shelves using 2×4’s and plywood, or building canning cabinets, and even having basement shelves made of metal that are earthquake proof.

You can even find whole canning rooms that are wall to wall shelving, floor to ceiling, that are built specifically for food storage.

But for now, we have made these simple easy to make canned food storage shelves. They didn’t break the bank and they are sturdy to hold all my canning that lasts us all winter for a family of six. They are great canned food storage shelves.

Helpful Tips For Building

When I built these, I didn’t have a pattern. I stood back and looked at the blank wall and taped blue painter’s tape where I wanted them to sit. And then I took my measuring tape and got the measurements to see how big I could make them and they still are sturdy.

So I would recommend you do the same thing to custom build them specifically for your home. But you do want to keep a couple of things in mind.

They need to be sturdy. Canning jars, when filled, are super heavy. So I don’t recommend them wider than 4 feet. This way, you will not need center supports that take up valuable real estate, if you are organizing a small space like me.

They need to be deep to hold several jars. I sat empty jars on the counter and then measured them to see how I could customize and get the most storage space. My pints are stored 4 deep and my quarts are stored 3 deep on the 1×12 shelves.

3 quart jars on canning storage shelf

They should be built to utilize as many shelves as possible. I measured the height of both pint and quart jars. Pints are 5 inches tall and quarts are 7 inches tall with lids. I placed the shelves roughly an inch “higher” than the jar itself.

Shelf Spacing

The shelves that hold pints are 6.5 inches top to top and the ones that hold quarts are 8.5 inches top to top. (See image below) This way they are spaced properly without a lot of wasted space between the shelves. But the jars can still be accessed easily.

Pints of sauce on canning storage shelf

I choose not to make space for half-gallon mason jars as I don’t use a lot of them at this time.

quart jars on DIY canning storage shelves

I then measured the canning supplies, water bath canner, pressure canner, wash pans, etc to make sure to have space for them as well. They are on the bottom and fit nicely on the wide shelving board pieces. The space for the bottom is 12 inches from top to top.

Can You Stack Canning Jars When Storing?

I’m ask this question and to be honest, I think this depends on you. I choose not to stack jars.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation says this about stacking canning jars:

“If jars are stacked in storage, be careful not to disturb vacuum seals. It would be a good idea to not stack jars too high directly on top of each other; one manufacturer recommends no more than two layers high. It would be best to provide support between the layers as a preventive measure against disturbing the seals on the lower jars. Jars could be placed in boxes to be stacked, or use some type of a firm solid material across the jars as a supportive layer in between them.”

How To Build Your Own Canning Storage Shelves

NOTE: This tutorial will build ONE – 4-foot canning shelf (48x12x64). It has 7 shelves total. 3 hold pint jars, 3 hold quart jars, and the bottom shelf hold water bath canners, pressure canners, and other various large canning supplies.

Materials Needed:

  • 4 pcs. 1x12x8 – (pine shelving board)
  • 4 pcs. 2x2x8 – (interior pine rails)
  • 3 pcs. 2¼”x7 – (interior door casing-basic door trim)
  • 1¼” finish nails for gun
  • Wood Glue
  • Paint
door casing nailed to 2x2 for a canning storage shelf

Tools Needed

NOTE: If you don’t have a brad nail gun you could use wood screws. Warning, the trim pieces are thin, to take up less room, and will split easily. I’d recommend drilling pilot holes for the screws just to be safe.

STEP ONE – Cutting Lumber

Shelving Board:

With a measuring tape and pencil, mark shelving boards at 4 feet, draw a straight light using speed square and pencil. Cut all 4 boards with miter saw ending up with 2 – 4 foot pieces for each.

Side Rails:

Cut all 2×2’s to 64 inches long for total of 4.

Wood Trim Casing:

This is tricky, so you get enough pieces. Cut wood casing into 8 even pieces …11-7/8″ each. This will allow for no waste.

Use sand paper, give all edges a light sanding to smooth the edges. Or if you have one, lightly sand with an electric sander.

STEP TWO – Marking Shelf Placement

Lay all 4 – 2×2’s flat, side by side on the floor. Using measure tape mark the following INCHES (“) on BOTH.

  • 6½”
  • 13″
  • 21½”
  • 30¼”
  • 38¾”
  • 47½”
  • 60
wood pieces on a hardwood floor with measurements on them

This will space shelves to hold 3 rows of pints and 3 rows of quarts with a shelf on the bottom for canning supplies.

STEP THREE – Assembly Ends

1). On a flat surface, I used the floor, lay 2×2’s flat, ends even 11-7/8″ apart. Using wood glue, put a bit of glue right below the mark and then center wood casing on the two pieces.

2). With the brad nail gun, using 1¼” finish nails, nail trim casing to 2×2 “on the mark” – widest side up. (see image) Attach to both 2×2’s with the brad nail gun.

3). Repeat #2 until all trim casings are attached to 2×2’s. You will end up with 2 pieces that resemble a skinny 64″ ladder.

completed end of a DIY canning storage shelf

STEP FOUR – Assembling Shelves

You may need a second set of hands for this step. I called in one of the grandsons for help.

Stand “ladders” up tall. Put a bit of wood glue on the bottom trim casing, and then place a 1x12x4′ piece across the trim casing – line them up. Carefully, with a nail gun, at an angle catching the both trim piece and the 2×2. Do this on both sides.

Your bottom shelf is attached. Repeat this up the ladder until you have all 7 shelves attached.

Allow the glue to dry overnight.

STEP FIVE – Paint

This is the fun part. The next day, lightly sand any areas that may need sanding. Wipe down with a damp cloth to remove sanding dust.

Paint your favorite color to match the decor of your home. Load it up with all your delicious home-canned goodness in jars.

TIPS TO THINK ABOUT:

  • We live in an old farmhouse with rickety floors. So I put screws into the wall and used a piece of wire to “sturdy” my shelves. I’d HATE for it to fall over.
  • At some point, I may attach a dowel that goes across the front of each shelf to hold the jars in place. We are not in an earthquake area, but we live in a really old farmhouse with rickety floors that are not all that sturdy.

More Canning Helpers

Yield: 1

DIY Canning Storage Shelves

canning storage shelves DIY with food and canning supplies

Perfect DIY canning storage shelves that can be custom fitted for any small space. Perfect shelving to hold all your canning supplies and food in one place.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • 4 pcs. 1x12x8 – (pine shelving board)
  • 4 pcs. 2x2x8 – (interior pine rails)
  • 3 pcs. 2¼”x7 – (interior door casing-basic door trim)
  • 1¼” finish nails for gun
  • Wood Glue
  • Paint

Tools

  •  Miter Saw ( I use this one)
  • Electric Sander ( I have this one – it’s awesome!)
  • Brad Nailer
  • Measuring Tape
  • Speed Square
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Paint Brush

Instructions

STEP 1: Cutting Wood

    1. SHELVING BOARD- With a measuring tape and pencil, mark shelving boards at 4 feet, draw a straight light using speed square and pencil. Cut all 4 boards on line with miter saw ending up with 2 – 4 foot pieces for each.
    2. Side Rails - Cut all 2×2’s to 64 inches long for total of 4.
    3. Wood Trim Casing - Cut wood casing into 8 even pieces …11-7/8″ each. This will allow for no waste.
    4. Use sand paper, give all edges a light sanding to smooth the edges. Or if you have one, lightly sand with an electric sander.

STEP 2: Marking Shelf Measurements

    Lay all 4 – 2×2’s flat, side by side on the floor. Using measure tape mark the following INCHES (“) on BOTH.

    6½”
    13″
    21½”
    30¼”
    38¾”
    47½”
    60

    This will space shelves to hold 3 rows of pints and 3 rows of quarts with a 12" shelf on the bottom for canning supplies.

STEP 3: Assembling Shelf Brackets

      1. On a flat surface, lay 2×2’s flat, ends even 11-7/8″apart. Using wood glue, put a bit of glue right below the mark and then center wood casing on the two pieces.
      2. With brad nail gun, using 1¼” finish nails, nail trim casing to 2×2 “on the mark” – widest side up. (see image) Attach to both 2×2’s with brad nail gun.
      3. Repeat #2 until all trim casings are attached to 2×2’s. You will end up with 2 pieces that resemble a skinny 64″ ladder.

STEP 4: Attaching Shelves

      1. Stand “ladders” up tall. Put a bit of wood glue on the bottom trim casing, and then place a 1x12x4′ piece across the trim casing – line them up. Carefully, with nail gun, at an angle catching the both trim piece and the 2×2. Do this on both sides.
      2. Your bottom shelf is attached. Repeat this up the ladder until you all 7 shelves attached. Allow the glue to dry overnight.

STEP 5: Painting

      1. Next day, lightly sand any area’s that may need sanding. Wipe down with a damp cloth to remove sanding dust.
      2. Paint your favorite color to match the decor of your home. Load it up with all your delicious home canned goodness in jars.

Notes

For safety - use a wire and attach shelves the the wall to "sturdy" them if floors are rickety or not sturdy.

canned foods all lined up on shelves DIY Canning Storage Shelves

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5 thoughts on “How To Build Your Own Canning Storage”

  1. Brillant shelving. My mother never stacked filled canning jars.She would stack empty jars in their cases/boxes for storage. I do the same. Mom had a double closet in the garage with shelves top to bottom for storing canning supplies and filled jars went in the utility room pantry. I have a friend that uses old school milk crates to store her quart jars in and cuts cardboard to fit as dividers.The crates stack well and are easy to carry. Your shelves are beautiful.

    1. Hi Jeannie,

      This is a great question. I’ve searched to give you a “technical answer” about 1×12 board strengths, but not really found one that made real sense.

      So from my experience I can tell you…..I don’t recommend the shelf span any longer than 4 feet. The longer the span, the weaker the board – I know this.

      Canning jars when filled are heavy. I have used my shelves now for 8 years and not had any sagging. Mine are loaded, and they are perfect for what I need them for. If they ever begin to sag in the middle, my plan it to cut a 1×12 and insert it vertically in the center to prevent the sag. But this said, by all means, if you prefer, these shelves can be built “beefier” with 2×4’s and 2×12’s. The 1×12’s have a more “finished furniture” appearance and since they are inside my house where I see them often, I wanted them to look nice.

      I hope this helps. Let me know if I can help more.

      Dianne

  2. I cannot envision the door trim as working I wish there would have been a profile picture. I am on a lumberyards website and there are a zillion door trim options Why did you choose this trim? Would a 1×1 have worked also?

    1. Hi Tina,

      Sorry I confused you. The proper name of the trim is “door casing.” I chose this trim because of they way it is wide to one side and gets thinner but keeps it’s strength since it all one piece and I like the way it looks.

      I put the wider side under the shelf and then the thin side does not interfere with packing in the jars. I’ve added an image to show you how they look.

      I would think a 1×1 would work, but I just like the finished look of the door casing. This is just my choice of shelf support.

      Let me know if I can help more,
      Dianne

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