Do It Yourself Kitchen Cabinet Dish Rack

Updated July 20, 2017

A plate rack to store and display dishes doesn't have to be an expensive addition to your kitchen. You can make your own for little more than the cost of a few dowels and some glue. Not counting the time required to cut the wood or finish the rack to match your cabinets, you can assemble and install your own kitchen cabinet dish rack in about half an hour. Instructions are for a standard stock cabinet of 24 inches wide.

Remove the doors from the cabinet where you'll install your plate rack.

Cut square dowels (or half-round moulding) to fit the inside width of the cabinet, if necessary. Cut dowel rods to a length of 11-1/4 inches. Sand all dowels smooth.

Place marks, starting at the left edges of the square dowels, at 3/4 inch, 2 3/4 inches and every 2 inches after that (4 3/4 inches, 6 3/4 inches, etc). The last mark will be at 22 3/4 inches. The gaps on the ends allow for air circulation.

Drill holes in the square dowels where marked. If you don't have access to a drill press, wrap masking tape around a 3/8-inch drill bit to mark a 3/8-inch drilling depth, and carefully drill the holes using a cordless drill. Center the bit directly on the marks.

Put a drop of wood glue into each hole in one of the square dowels. Slip a dowel rod into first hole. Rotate dowel rod to distribute glue. Repeat for the full length of the square dowel. Glue the second square dowel and match it to the other ends of the dowel rods. Press together firmly. Repeat process for the second "ladder."

Finish rack as desired to seal the wood. Finishing is required because natural wood absorbs moisture, causing the wood fibres to swell and the rack to warp.

Install the dish rack. Place one ladder about 3 to 5 inches from the back of the cabinet, and drive a 1-inch screw near each end, top and bottom, taking care not to drive screws all the way through the cabinet. Place the front ladder flush against front edge of the cabinet, and secure with four screws.


If your cabinet's width is not 24 inches, adjust the number of dowel rods and the length of square dowels to fit. Add or subtract 2 inches for each dowel rod. If your cabinet's height is not 12 inches, recalculate the length of the dowel rods. They should be as long as the distance from the inside of the top square dowel to the inside of the bottom square dowel, plus 3/4 inch. Another way to express this is H-(SDT+SDB)+3/4 inch=RDL, where H means height of inside of cabinet, SDT means square dowel at top, SDB means square dowel at bottom and RDL means dowel rod length.

Things You'll Need

  • Four 3/4-inch-by-3/4-inch square dowels (or half-round moulding), 24 inches long
  • Nine 3/8-inch-diameter dowel rods, 48 inches long
  • Wood glue
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill press (or drill, 3/8-inch drill bit and masking tape)
  • Safety goggles
  • Polyurethane or paint
  • Paint brush
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About the Author

Jennifer Harshman has been a writer since 1990, writing, ghostwriting and editing both offline and online content. Her online articles focus on at-home projects. She writes in several fields, including health, business and do-it-yourself. Harshman has a Bachelor of Arts in education from Greenville College.