Thursday, January 02, 2014

DIY: Casters for A Small Pantry Cabinet; Saving An Insulated Wheeled Bag from Extinction for $0

I love a little pantry cabinet that I picked up for $40 in a thrift shop nine years ago. It is a perfect space saving idea for my small kitchen.

The problem is that the swing-out shelf doors need three inches of empty space on either side, making it hard to find the right spot for it.

The pantry slides into the folding-shelves by leaving the bottom two shelves up.

I also bought the folding shelves in a thrift shop. I stack two, instead of using a baker's rack for open storage. This gives me six shelves instead of the typical three or four on a baker's rack. The shelves are narrower, making storage more accessible and a better fit in a galley kitchen.

As the photo shows, the doors will not open, however.

That's why I installed casters on the bottom.

As long as I had it upside down, I put three screws into the backing which was coming loose along that bottom edge.

With casters, I can slide the cabinet forward when I need to access my canned goods, tea, and other dry goods. Then I can slide it back into its nook.

Unfortunately, the wheels made the pantry just a tad too high so that the top shelf would no longer fold down. Simple fix: I shoved some sliders under the bottom of the shelves. Sliders are intended for putting under furniture when moving them. Now the height is perfect.

Installing the casters was easy peasy, so I moved onto to fixing an insulated food bag with a saggy bottom.

This project required some creative problem-solving.

The bag cost less than $20 and was designed to fold into a narrow profile for storage. It has toted a lot of weight it was never meant to carry over the past decade.

I picked up some scrap molding at Home Depot.

The boards are shown along the back of the freezer bag along the pull-up handle. Right below that handle, there was another break where two boards meet but had no support. You can see how I cleverly used two curtain rod brackets to provide stability. They are just below and to the side of each wheel.

I placed the curtain bracket edges toward the bag--see close-up photo. Knowing me, I would rip into a bare shin with one of those if the edges faced out. I used a washer under each screw to compensate for the slightly raised bracket edges. See photo.

I had hoped the scrap molding wood could support the bag's bottom. This wasn't feasible. The original bottom was two wood sections with nothing but quilted bag between them and an interior square cardboard panel.

No wonder this poor bag was sagging!

Neither scrap strip was wide enough to screw into both of the original wood sections, yet they were too long to use in the other direction.

Instead, I used two shim strips that I had on hand. I inserted them under the torn vinyl cover and screwed them into the existing wood construction.

I sealed the opening with a hot glue gun and added a piece of heavy duty laminate. I took the photo on close-up setting so it looks a lot messier than it is.

Remember, this is on the bottom of the bag toward the pavement, where no one can see it.


With the main repairs completed, the scrap molding came in handy to stabilize the inside. I hot-glued the strips into place.

The bag has a fold-down bottom for the expanded dimensions; this covers the wood under-floor.

The bag no longer folds, but it hasn't been used in the slim-line configuration for years. Plus, I can probably get a few more years' use out of this handy bag -- and all the things I used to fix it (except my time) with FREE. Free is good!