DIY Can Organizer for Kitchen Pantry

Fabric Covered DIY Can Organizer for Small or Larger Cans

Hello, my friends.  Do you work at organizing your home to make life easier?  To get things done faster? To know what you have?  Getting my family members to put things back where they found them is a lesson in deep breathing exercises for sure, but having an organization system helps me to put things where they belong much quicker.  I am really hopeful this DIY can organizer for your pantry will help.

My usual method for organizing canned goods is to group by type and then stack the cans as much as possible to make room.  About twice a year I go through the cans and toss stale dated foods.  Besides needing a way to use older foods first, I find the canned foods tend to get knocked over when I am digging around.

To find a solution I went through several different ideas,  extra shelves, plastic baskets, pop can boxes before finally deciding on using magazine organizers.  The issue with magazine organizers is finding them wide enough to actually fit cans.  Don’t make the mistake of finding some you like expecting them to work for cans because they won’t. I grabbed a can of beans thinking they were my tallest canned food and went shopping.  There wasn’t anything the right size at Ikea, or the dollar store, but I found some four-inch extra wide magazine organizers at Staples in Canada.  Unfortunately, they are cardboard and need updating, but the price was alright and the canned beans fit.

Organization for Large Cans

Turns out 4 inch wide organizers work well for soup tins, mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, and canned beans, but are a bit tight for canned vegetables and too narrow for silly large tin cans of tomatoes.  I didn’t realize the tomatoes didn’t fit until I was finished.  After feeling annoyed with myself I went ahead and made one specifically for the tomato cans.  If you’re interested I am sharing the DIY extra wide one at the end of this post.

Supplies for One DIY Can Organizer

1 extra wide 4″ magazine holder

Parchment paper,  and pencil

1/2 yard fabric

Small 4″ by 1″ piece of foam board or cardboard

Coordinating paint and paintbrush

Hot glue, and spray on adhesive.

Scissors, a utility knife, and a ruler.

Preparing the Magazine Holder

Fold the magazine holder according to the directions.  Secure the bottom where the folds are with hot glue.  Paint the inside surfaces, including the top lid that folds in.  I used leftover latex paint so it took 3 hours to dry thoroughly.

Adding Front Edge

It works best to put your magazine racks long side to the bottom, but there is no edge on the front.  It only takes a couple of minutes to add one.  Cut a strip of poster board or cardboard an inch high and 4 inches across.  Glue to the inside front edge of the magazine holder.  Let the glue set.

How to make a can organizer for the pantry. A DIY kitchen storage solution for cheap.

Making a Pattern

Instead of working directly on the fabric start by using parchment paper and making a pattern.   Its easier than working with uncut fabric and much faster, especially if your making multiples.

Pull out a large piece of parchment paper about a yard long.

Creating a template for fabric covered DIY can organizer. How to organized tin cans in your kitchen or pantry.

Lay the magazine holder wide side down on the parchment, and trace the outline.  Flip the holder on to its back and trace the tops and bottom, then flip it over to the other wide side and trace, and finally the back.

Now that you have the outline of the holder traced on to the parchment paper, draw a second line an inch wider on all sides.  This allows you room for folding the fabric edges.

Lay your parchment paper pattern on top of the ironed fabric and cut out.

Wrapping the DIY Can Organizer with Fabric

Cover the Large Sides

Fold your fabric to find the centre.  Start your box at 1 1/2 inches from the front of the fabric.   Wrap the fabric around the magazine holder to confirm its placement.  Once satisfied, spray one side of your magazine holder with the spray on adhesive.  Pull the fabric up and over the top and smooth the fabric covered side with your fingers until smooth and wrinkle-free.

Attaching fabric to a DIY can organizer for the pantry. DIY kitchen storage solution for tin cans.

Flip over and repeat on the other side.

Front Rolled Hems

You may find that your fabric for the front rolled hem is wider than needed.  You need about half an inch on the front edges.  Trim off any extra fabric and fold over the outer edge of your fabric so that it goes just under the cardboard edge.  Cover with parchment paper (protects your iron) and iron the small seam until flat.  Next place a thin strip of hot glue along the edge of the fabric. Fold the edge over the cardboard and press into place, I burnt my fingers too often doing this, but that’s typical for me whenever I used hot glue.  Stop towards the edges as you will trim it later.

Wrapping the front edge of a cardboard organization idea for tin cans in the kitchen.

Repeat on the other side.

Cover the Front Top and Bottom Edges

The top and bottom of the box have edges.  After you get the rolled hem close to the edge, make a cut in the corner.  Fold one piece of the fabric across the front of the box, and tuck in the corner, and fold it over the ledge creating a clean edge.  Seal all the edge with hot glue and press in place.

How to make a fabric covered magazine holder and use it as a can organizer. A DIY organization idea for tin cans in the pantry.

Cover the Bottom

Wrap this like you would a Christmas gift.  Make sure all the sides are neat and unfolded. Spray the bottom with adhesive.  Fold over the left side, press flat.  Make a small fold along the edge of the right side.   Lay over the left side and seal the edge with hot glue.

Folding fabric on a DIY can organizer for the pantry.

Make the top and bottom corners neat and tidy.  Trim any threads.  Spray the fabric with adhesive and glue the outside edges with hot glue.  Fold flat and press in place with your hand.

Optional Back Cover

Trace the back of your magazine box onto a piece of foam board.  Once traced cut out and fit into the back of your can holder.

Back portion of kitchen tin can organizer for the pantry.

Cut a piece of fabric an inch larger than the foam board on all sides.

Spray the foam board with spray adhesive, press sticky side down onto your fabric.

Fold and then glue all the side pieces around the foam board.

Tuck in the back of your can holder.

Large can organizer for tin cans.

I made six of these DIY can organizers to fill one shelf on my pantry.  As I said before I was shocked to discover the tomato tins still did not fit.  If you want a specifically sized can organizer here is how I made it.

How to make custom sized DIY can organizers for the pantry or kitchen cupboards.

Custom Sized DIY Can Organizer using Magazine Holders and Cardboard


In addition to the supplies for covering a regular sized can organizer, you will need one magazine holder for your template, assorted flat cardboard, and duct tape.

Measure the largest can you will be using in your can organizer. My can of tomatoes is  4 3/4″ tall.  Measure the length of the bottom of your can holder, cut a piece of cardboard the same length but increase the width to the length of your can plus 1/2″.   For example, mine is 5 1/4″ wide.

Once you have the bottom piece cut, double check that your can will fit before continuing.

Making a custom sized can organizer using cardboard.

Using the magazine holder as your template. Cut out the back and the front the same length as the magazine holder, but the same width as the bottom 5 1/4″ wide

The picture shows you the three pieces you need to cut wider.  To make the sides of the organizer just trace them as is.

Cutting out cardboard for making a DIY can organizer in a custom size.

Once you have all five pieces cut. Tape them together using duct tape.  Do not wrap the tape around the ends, trim it.  You don’t want the tape showing on the inside of your can organizer. The blue arrows illustrate the pieces that are wider than the original magazine holder.

Making a cardboard form for a can organizer.

Fold the cardboard into the can organizer shape, adding extra duct tape to the outside of your cardboard to make it sturdy.  Now that you have the cardboard foam created complete the large organizer exactly the same as you would the purchased cardboard organizer.

Extra large cans fit into this tin can organizer for the kitchen or pantry.

Related Posts

The only way to make our tiny pantry efficient is to keep it very organized.  Here are two related posts I think you will enjoy.

A kitchen pantry with DIY spice rack

How to Find Space and Build a Tall Spice Rack for your Pantry

Are you a messy cook? I sure am, I tend to just get it done and in the oven.  Building these simple pantry organizers helps me to grab an extra pie plate without having to shuffle all my nice clean dishes with floured hands.  It also looks really nice in my baking pantry.  I love them

DIY Wood boxes for the Pantry, a Waste Not Wednesday 146 Link party feature.

DIY Wood Box Pantry Organizers for Bakeware

You can notice the can organizers in the top right corner of the next picture. This six square foot pantry has a 12 inch bare wall between the shelves and the door. We build a custom spice rack for maybe $10 painted it white, and it gave me shelving for all my spice jars and baking extracts.

A kitchen pantry with DIY spice rack

Tall DIY Spice Rack for the Pantry

Not in the mood to organize? I sure can’t blame you, its not one of my favorite chores either, but I do Love having things put where they good, and having a particular spot for everything. Pin this for later so you have it when the time is right.

Easy DIY pantry organizers for cans. These organizers big enough for large cans.


  1. Lynn C Sawyer says:

    We made the can storage bins and they really turned out be a great improvement to our pantry organization nightmare.
    We cut these out and joined seams together with clear packing tape to make them strong then covered them with a floral patterned contact paper. One change in a cutout pattern that made assembly easier was we left the small front panel attached so all we had to do was fold it up and tape it. Thanks for the inspiration and tips.

  2. Julie Briones says:

    You are such a smart and innovative creator, Leanna! Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Turn About, my friend!

    1. It’s funny how I actually got annoyed when they didn’t fit. I really thought I had chosen the tallest cans to test with. It was a little more work but so worth it.

  3. Great storage idea, Leanna! I may rethink the way I’ve just been stacking my cans in the pantry. Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Turn About!

    1. Thank you for hosting. Hubs even commented that things are easier to find.

  4. How clever. I can see how you must be so organized with a system like this.

    1. Thank you Debra. I am getting there, but need to find a solution for others. I try and think of organizing at environmental prompts for others that screams “it goes here” lol

  5. Brilliant Leanna. I sometimes wish they had an organization that enforces can size standards to make it easier to pack. Most of the time the cans in our pantry look like the leaning tower of Pisa 😀 I think I’ll make us a few of these

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.