Rustic DIY Kitchen Display Rack

The Rehab Life
by The Rehab Life
2 Materials
2 Hours

I’m sure that, like me, you have more than a few beautiful cookbooks stuffed away in a cupboard or on a shelf. I wanted to find a way to display a few cookbooks from my collection, and what better way than a DIY kitchen display rack. I also had a few artisanal cutting boards that I thought would add to the rustic vibe of my kitchen. This display rack doesn’t take up a lot of space, and allows you to show off some of your favorite cookbooks, cutting boards, and serving trays. Check out my step by step guide to help you build your own.

Rustic DIY Kitchen Display Rack
Tools and Materials

Tools and Materials

●     One 2’x4’ sheet of ½” plywood

●     Three 1”x3” x 4ft pieces of wood

●     Two ⅝” x 4ft round dowels

●     2” trim head screws

●     Sanding block

●     ⅝” drill bit

●     Stain

●     Polyurethane

●     Miter saw

●     Drill and impact driver

●     Tape measure

●     Safety goggles

●     Ear protection

●     Mask

Measure the Lumber
Measure and Cut the Lumber

First, I needed to cut my lumber to size. The plywood and dowels were already the correct dimensions, so I just needed to cut the 4-foot-long pieces of lumber to the size I wanted. Using a miter saw, I cut two pieces 24” long, and two pieces 46 ½” long. Before cutting, make sure that you properly measure, as you don’t want to have to run to the store for more.

Cut the Lumber
Make More Cuts

Once I cut the lumber to size, I took one of the 24” pieces and drew a straight line ¾’ in down one side. I used a level to make sure that my line was straight. Next, I measured from one end and marked 3” and 16 ¾” on that line. I erased the rest of the line, keeping the marks that I just made. Then I repeated the process with the other 24” piece of wood.

Measure a Straight Line
Keep These Markings

Henry just wanted to point out which markings you should keep on your boards.

Drill Holes in the Boards
Drill Holes in the Boards

Using the ⅝” drill bit, I drilled holes at each marking. These will be the slots that your dowels will fit into. Make sure that the size of the drill bit fits the diameter of the dowels that you bought.

This is How It Should Look
Lay Out the Rack
Lay Out the Rack

I lay one of the boards with the holes on its edge, with the hole on the upper part of the board. Then I took a 1”x3” x 46 ½” board and placed it on the end with the hole closest to it. I placed the other identical piece so that there’s 13” space between them.

Make Sure It's Spaced Properly
Drill Pilot Holes

I predrilled holes for the screws that I wanted to add. Then, using trim head screws, I screwed the pieces together. By drilling pilot holes, I ensured that the screw won’t break off and that the wood won’t crack. It’s an extra step, but it’s definitely worth it.

Screw Together
Add Dowels
Add Dowels and the Other Side of the Rack

Before I added the other side of the rack, I inserted the dowels into the slots I had made for them. Then, I thread them through the other side of the rack before screwing it into place. I made sure that there was 13” of spacing on this side as well, then drilled pilot holes and secured with screws.

Attach the Other End
Keep the Right Spacing
Screw in Place
Add the Back
Add the Back

Now I needed to add the back. I flipped the whole thing over and placed the piece of plywood on top. I screwed it into place along the sides and bottom of the shelves.

Secure the Back
Draw a Line

Once I finished securing the sides and bottom, I drew a straight line across the back that matched up with the 1” x 3” crosspiece underneath it.

Secure the Crosspiece

Then I secured the crosspiece to the plywood using the line as a guide.

DIY Kitchen Shelves

Check out my shelves!

Henry Doesn't Approve

For a hot minute I thought of storing Henry’s dog training books on these shelves. Let’s just say he was less than impressed by the concept.

Sand and Stain

Using a sanding block, I smoothed down all of the edges. Once it was sanded to my liking, I moved on to staining. I chose a color called “Honey”. It’s a rich, dark brown that screams rustic farmhouse. When you do this yourself, make sure to use the proper protective equipment to protect you from the fumes. You should also wear gloves, unless you want to stain your hands in addition to your shelves.

Wear Protective Equipment

In order to properly protect stained wood, I added a coat of polyurethane. This will protect the wood from anything it might come into contact with and make sure that my hard work stands the test of time.


Using a stud finder, I found a few studs and hung my newly made DIY kitchen display rack! When you hang yours, make sure that you find studs and use heavy duty screws to hold it in place. Books and cutting boards are heavy and you don’t want them ripping your hard work off the wall.

Drill in Place
DIY Farmhouse Kitchen Shelves

Now it was time to fill it with all the goodies! I picked some of my favorite cookbooks, cutting boards, and decorative plates and arranged them on my rustic kitchen display rack. Henry helped me a bit too! What would you fill your own DIY kitchen display rack with?

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2 of 17 comments
  • CA CA on Apr 29, 2021

    Love this! Your humorous writing style and of course, Henry, made it made reading it fun too! Thanks!

  • Carole White Carole White on May 01, 2021

    Pretty and practical, love it! Henry is adorable, too!!