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Can It!

Updated: May 6, 2021

Is your food pantry getting out of hand? Here is a novel idea to organize your food pantry! Enginehead Craftworks (Engineheadcw) has flexed some creative muscles to solve my overwhelming can dilemma in a sturdy & stylish way with this can storage build.

Cans, Can, Everywhere A Can Can

My pantry has been overwhelmed with cans for quite some time and it got to the point where cans seemed to appear everywhere. They were stacked on top of the pantry, beside the microwave, piled up in bags in corners of my kitchen. Everywhere I looked there were cans. It was becoming a problem trying to keep up with what I had and which were newer and what should be used first. Not to mention trying to find what I wanted to use when I needed it. Something needed to be done. There must be a better way.

I started looking around for ideas and wasn't having much luck. It seems there are lots of options in the plastic bin and shelving-type things. Overpriced and low-quality. I am not much of a fan. Plastic doesn't seem very sturdy compared to solid wood and sure doesn't look nearly as well. Maybe I'm old-fashioned. I am used to things that are solidly built to last and I was desiring something that would fit in well with my home. An old-timey farmhouse cabin. I don't mind paying for something solidly made to last.


After searching a bit for what I had in mind, I found what I wanted on Pinterest. It was a DIY project someone had made. It was exactly what I had in mind but when I searched to buy one....none to be found. So... I got to thinking maybe I could build it myself. It looked simple enough but when I got to thinking about various sized cans, how tall and wide I would need it, how much weight it would be, and whether my wall could hold something that size I thought my brain might explode. Not only that but with all the projects I already have on my plate, who knows when I would ever get around to it.

That's where Enginehead Craftworks came on the scene. A friend of mine, John Hubbard is a school friend from the good old days. He has started his own business designing and creating a variety of super cool items including shelving, organization-type things, and even a custom-built, full-sized arcade game! You can check out his brilliant work on Instagram at @engineheadcw and also on Facebook Marketplace by searching engineheadcw. I'm not just blowing smoke, John has a very gifted mind and he creates high-quality work. I knew if anyone could figure this out, it'd be him. Aside from that, whenever possible, I like to support friends in their ventures and local businesses. Having a custom, sturdily made anything is a super plus in my opinion. Here is a link to check out his work in Instagram

Idea Takes Shape

I sent John a picture of my idea and lucky for me, he found it interesting and 'do-able'. The whole process couldn't have been easier on my end. All I had to do was give him the size specifications of what I was needing and he went with it. Somehow he easily figured it all out scientifically as far as can size/dimensions, weight, and all that complex stuff that makes my head hurt. Then he sent me a prototype and a cost estimate for approval which I responded with a big ole "Hell Yeah".

The total build has seven channels and can hold about 70 cans, give or take, and weighs about 80 lbs if fully loaded to bear. It's 41" wide (3' x 5") and 29 1/2" tall (approx. 2' 1/2"). Within barely a week or so, I had this in my hand. It doesn't get cooler than that. Check out the video of how it functions! Is that not awesomeness?!

He did give me the option of painting or staining it for me but since I happened to have a couple of cans of stain on hand I haven't used yet, I opted to do the stain myself.

Rainy Porch Day Project

I spent a rainy day staining this baby on my front porch. It was a nice, relaxing way to get this done. Usually, when working with stain, because of the odor of the stain & brush cleaner, I use a mask, but there was a nice breeze blowing so it didn't prove necessary in this case. *I do recommend masking when working in close proximity if there isn't adequate ventilation.

All you'll need for this is:

  • Wood conditioner

  • Stain - There are multiple choices, I went with English Chestnut

  • Brush cleaner

  • Brush - I use a regular paintbrush but one I designated only for use with stain and sealant

  • Stir stick

  • Something to lay under it (cardboard works well)

  • Sealant - Polyurethane

The total time this took was approximately 2-4 hours, give or take, and that includes drying time. After it dries, you can touch it but it will take every bit of about 7 days for the smell to fade.

Let's Purty This Baby Up!

After laying down some cardboard (those Amazon boxes come in handy) I covered the whole thing with some wood conditioner. You can really tell how that brought out the natural grain in the wood. It conditions the wood and makes the stain look so much better when applied. I completed one side and allowed it to dry, then flipped it and completed the other side. Then I cleaned the brush out with some paint remover/brush cleaner.

It is coming along and looking GREAT! After the conditioner dried, it was ready for some stain. I had some English Chestnut on hand that I was going to use for another project but had decided to go another route. Glad I saved it, it was perfect for this. The same process as before, I started with one side, except when it dried, I applied a second coat. When that dried, I flipped it and applied two coats to the other side, and cleaned the brush out again. Once it had a chance to dry, I applied the polyurethane to both sides, just as before, allowing each side to dry before flipping it over. Then I cleaned the brush out and called it a day.

Take a look at the slideshow and see how awesome this turned out. It really looks amazing! It's so big though, it was hard to get the whole thing in the picture and the glare from the lighting didn't help. I did the best I could but it does look so much better in person than the photos can do justice.

Mounting This Sexy Beast

This took a little longer than I planned because of where I wanted it to go. My plan was to hang this on, what I call, the back porch. It's a closed-in hallway from the backdoor that leads to the kitchen. Nowadays, I believe this is called a 'Mudroom'. I don't particularly like that classification, so I'll continue to call it the back porch. Anyway, the main problem was I wanted to paint the back porch before hanging this up so I wouldn't have to take it down and have to re-hang it. Being a woman and trying to decide on a color...well, you get the idea. Also, I have many other projects in the process so painting the entire back porch area is not on my immediate 'to do' list. So I opted to select a color and only paint the area where the can organizer would hang and that would allow me to finish painting the rest at my convenience.

"Sunset Nude, Really?"

I needed to take care of some minor prep-work like cleaning the walls and trimming back a mess my Dad left behind. He had gone crazy with some liquid insulation stuff. The color I chose was Sunset Nude which got some groans and eye-rolls from my brother confirming for me that it was absolutely the right color choice. The walls were supposed to be white but even though I wiped them down good, it's such an old, dirty wall, you could barely tell the difference from the new sunset nude paint job. However, it does look very pretty now, and clean. When I finish adding trim work and do the windows, it will be dreamy.

The organizer needed to be mounted on two 2 x 4s. First I measured the 2 x 4s and cut them to size. I located the studs behind the wall with a handy stud finder. The organizer will span across two studs. I used eight concrete block & brick screws that was 4" x 1/4 " long. They have to be long enough to go through the 2 x 4s and into the studs well enough to accommodate the weight of the organizer. Two on each end of the 2 x 4s. My cousin came over and helped me with this. We attached the top 2 x 4 first. Then we took the organizer and she held it in place, while I marked the location the second 2 x 4 would go. We took the organizer down and attached the second 2 x 4. My drill didn't have much power and the screws have to go as close to the wood as possible. I couldn't get them in all the way. My brother happened to be outside and he came in with his drill and elbow grease to finish off driving the screws in. No matter how big you get, a girl will always need her big brother. He saved the day.

"Let's Git'er Up"

Now we're ready to finish the thing. John had graciously included twelve 1 5/8" screws to mount the attached brackets to the 2 x 4s. Four will go in the top and 8 will go in the bottom. My cousin got the top ones screwed in while I held it in place and then I screwed the bottom ones. After standing back and admiring our handy work, we loaded it full of cans. I was able to clear out all the cans I had laying around and also freeing up some space within my pantry.

Isn't it FABULOUS?

A Job Well Done & Much Needed

I can't say enough about the quality work from Enginehead Craftworks. This is a beautiful build, very sturdy, and high quality. It will last for many many years to come. If you need one of these or have an idea of something you need, I strongly encourage you to contact John either through the FB Marketplace or via Instagram at @engineheadcw. Just tell him your idea and let him build you a custom masterpiece. It's that easy. A website is in the works but for now, you can find him on Instagram or FB. I can't thank him enough, this is freaking awesome!

I hope you enjoy this build and thank you so much for reading. That's one project in the can, so to speak. Have a blessed day!

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