How to Make a Lazy Susan (DIY)

How to make a Lazy Susan on the blog today because they’re the HANDIEST things for your cupboards. Plus they’re almost impossible to find unless you want a tiny, useless, plastic one.  Make this big DIY Lazy Susan for 8 bucks out of wood or MDF and a bit of hardware.

White Martha Stewart pantry cupboard opened to reveal shelves with lazy susans filled with canned and bottled goods.

 

Before you go any further you need to know I had every intention of making this the most entertaining post in the history of my blog.  Then I got sleepy.   And now I’d like to have a nap.  So instead, this is going to be the least wordy post in the history of my blog.

This is more of one of those informative type posts anyway so you should be fine with the lack of  all redeeming value, other than the information.

If you’d like to be entertained today, might I suggest throwing rubber snakes at your neighbours.

Onto the information!

If you’re on the hunt for a large, good quality Lazy Susan you’re out of luck.  There are no Susans, lazy or otherwise to be found anywhere.  Stores like Lowes and Home Depot carry the HUGE stacking Lazy Susans that go in base cabinets, but no one carries a regular Lazy Susan.  There are a few tiny plastic models around that you might use in your refrigerator but nothing for big cabinets.

When I first had my kitchen done I didn’t get ANY of the extras. You know, all those nice things that make your drawers and cupboards so nice? Yeah, I didn’t splurge on any of those. So the first thing I did when my kitchen was made over was make some Lazy  Susans for my cupboards. 

They’re incredibly easy to make and very, VERY affordable.


 

Lazy Susan Bearings.

O.K., there are two types of Lazy Susan bearings (hardware). Round and square.  Generally speaking the round ones are more expensive and bigger.

You can get away with the smaller, square mechanism for 95% of your Lazy Susananing needs. 

The larger round ones one however will make your Lazy Susan more stable if you choose NOT to screw it to your surface. On other words if you want a Lazy Susan that will be moveable and stand on its own for your countertop or tabletop you should use the round mechanisms.

How to Make a DIY Lazy Susan

Basically what you’re going to do is measure your cupboard to see how big a Lazy Susan you can fit into it, cut that sized circle out of a piece of MDF, prime it, paint it and attach the Lazy Susan bearing onto the bottom.  Easy, right?

Here it is in pictures …

 

2x4 foot panel of MDF laid on outdoor table with circles marked on it ready for cutting.

From a 2×4 sheet of MDF you’ll be able to get two large Lazy Susans.  These are 22″ across, so basically huge.

When you measure their size don’t forget to allow for some play inside the cupboard. In other words make the Lazy Susan a little smaller than the actual size of the cupboard interior.

 

Bosch jigsaw cutting through MDF to create circles.

Once your circles are drawn on the MDF just cut them out with a jigsaw. My jigsaw brand of choice is the Bosch and it should be yours too. I went through a LOT of jigsaws before I bought a Bosch and the difference between a crap jigsaw and a Bosch jigsaw is unbelievable. It’s steadier, more stable, less wiggly and it turns with precision.

Once your circles are cut, prime and paint what will be the top of your lazy susan. You can leave the bottom unfinished. 

All that’s left is attaching the hardware.

Lazy Susan hardware being fixed to the back of a circle of MDF.

Mark the centre of the underside of your circle and place the hardware over it.  The base of the hardware that’s flush with the MDF is screwed in right away. The wheel that turns will now be attached to your cupboard shelf. But to be able to do that you need to drill an access hole into your circle. 

 

Drilling an access hole through MDF that's large enough to fit a screwdriver through.

So you need to mark the point of the access hole with a pencil and then drill a hole through it that’s large enough for the head of your screwdriver to fit through.

 

Attaching a DIY lazy susan to a tabletop by dropping a screw into the access hole and then screwing it in through the access hole.

Lay your lazy susan onto the shelf you want to attach it to (in this case I’m pretending to attach it to my outdoor table, for demonstration purposes).

Spin it around until your screwdriver access hole is directly over a screw hole on the lazy susan plate like you can see below.

 

Three holes in MDF in a row revealing lazy susan hardware underneath.

 

 

Place a screw into the hole and screw it into place. Do this for all of the screw holes (there should be 4) securing the lazy susan to the shelf surface.

You’re done. That’s it.

Martha Stewart cupboards from Home Depot stacked like a pantry, with one door open revealing DIY lazy susans inside.

 

How to Make a Lazy Susan

How to Make a Lazy Susan

Yield: 1 lazy susan

Aside from the money savings, making your own lazy susan gives you the advantage of being able to make it the exact size you want.

Materials

  • 1/2" sheet of MDF ($8.50)
  • Lazy Susan hardware ($4-$9)
  • 8 screws
  • Paint

Tools

  • Jigsaw
  • Drill

Instructions

  1. Mark a circle on your MDF with pencil.
  2. Cut the circle out with a jigsaw.
  3. Prime and paint what will be the top portion of the Lazy Susan.
  4. Flip the circle over so you're working on the underside and find the centre. Mark it.
  5. Place your Lazy Susan hardware over the centre mark and screw it into place. You will be screwing only the part of the hardware that is in direct contact with the circle of MDF.
  6. Find the large circle on the hardware and mark it on the board underneath with a pencil. Drill a hole big enough for your screwdriver's head to fit through.
  7. Flip your Lazy Susan so it is right side up and place it where you want it to go (probably on a shelf.)
  8. Turn the Lazy Susan until your screwdriver access hole aligns with a hole on the hardware. Screw in a screw. Repeat this for all 4 screwing points on the hardware.
  9. You're done!

Notes

Circular lazy susan hardware is very similar and installed in a similar way.

1, 2x4 sheet of MDF will get you 2, 22" Lazy Susans.

Cost per Lazy Susan will be apx. $8 each.

Recommended Products

I'm an Amazon affiliate some I get a few cents when you buy something I've linked to.

In case the pictures were a bit confusing (and it is confusing until you make your first one) let me know and I’ll explain whatever you need to be cleared up.

The point of the big screw hole (the access hole) is so once your Lazy Susan is in place on the shelf, you have a little hole to fit your screwdriver through so you can screw your Lazy Susan mechanism to the base of your shelf.  It seems confusing and weird but once you do it yourself with the help of these instructions you’ll see that it all makes sense.

The round Lazy Susan mechanism gets attached in a similar way.

And that’s all there is to it. I made 7 of these for my kitchen. The cost of each will be slightly less than $8 for you if you make smaller Lazy Susans.

Now speaking of lazy, it’s time for that nap.
 

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How to Make a Lazy Susan (DIY)

83 Comments

  1. Nora says:

    Hi, Karen, Ikea actually sells some pretty large turntables (respecting the Susans of the world) but they are certainly not as cheap and it is great to be able to make them just the right size.

  2. Mary Edmondson says:

    I am not mechanically gifted. I reread your instructions and I think I’ve figured out that you have already answered my questions – I simply need to adapt to the different configuration. Your instructions could not be more clear and illustrative. However, some like me, need to pay closer attention and perhaps read through again to master the content. You very well might make DIYers out of all your fans. Thank you, Karen. Your postings are the highlight of my days.🥰

  3. Mary Edmondson says:

    I would like to make a really big free standing turntable. Will the hardware include whatever is needed to attach the top part to a bottom support? I need to know how to go about attaching the two pieces. Thanks, Karen.

  4. Debj says:

    Thanks so much. I just made two for my kitchen. I did 22” and followed your directions. So easy. I just love them. I’m only 5’ so I now can easily access things. You are a genius! Love your blog!

    • Karen says:

      That’s great! I’m so glad you made them and did it so quickly! Usually if you don’t do something right away, you don’t end up doing it, lol. :) ~ karen!

  5. billy sharpstick says:

    Another option for anyone not ready to commit. (Apartment renters, not decided on location yet). instead of screwing it to the cabinet floor, make a rectangle of plywood that is (almost0 the size of the cabinet floor and screw it to that.

  6. George McCarter says:

    I hope someone hasn’t written this idea before me but I didn’t want to spend the time to read all the comments. Sometimes you may have a cupboard that is wider than it is deep. To make a lazy susan for that space you can cut a segment off the front of the circle and mount it far enough forward so it will turn and still be able to shut the door when the flat segment is forward. Also there are various sizes of bearings and if you use a larger one you will not have to keep the sides balanced as well. I hope this makes sense to you. I am not a blogger.

  7. Kipley Herr says:

    Could you just use the top from one of those decorator tables that have three legs and one throws a table cloth over….?

  8. billy sharpstick says:

    I might try this to make a double decker one. We have a cheap plastic one we keep spices on. they are short bottles, less than half the height of the cabinet. Problem is sometimes bottles hide in the middle. I would solve this by mounting a column in the center to attach the upper shelf to. You could make a nice boxy thing, but I think a 4×4 would work fine. Nothing heavy is going on top. A thinner material would be adequate, too, say 1/4″ plywood. Might make it hard to reach the rear mounting screw hole, but I think 3 would be enough.

  9. LOIS M BARON says:

    I love lazy susans. Thanks for your clear explanation of how to put more of them in my life. :-)

  10. Susan Barthel says:

    Hate the name ‘lazy susan’. Such a slur on all of us ….Susans…..

    • Maria says:

      I would take it as a compliment. To me it implies most Susans are industrious, so it must be specified when one is lazy since it’s such a rarity ;-)

    • Susan Dooley says:

      Fellow Susan, I not only agree with you that Lazy Susan is an offensive disparagement, but I also was on my way to the comments to say the exactly that when I saw you had the same reaction. I typically insist that my associates refer to these devices as TURNTABLES. Because that’s what they are. In my experience there is no such thing as a Susan who is lazy. And I appreciate Maria’s comment about Susans being industrious and all, but…TURNTABLE!

  11. Sue WEst says:

    No discussion on centering. What’s a good way to center the Susan on the wood.

    • billy sharpstick says:

      To center, just measure halfway across the circle in one direction, then again at 90 degrees. Do three at roughly 1/3 around if you want to make sure. Same for the cabinet.

  12. June says:

    Can you make a 2 tier lazy susan?

    • Karen says:

      Hi June. Sure. I’d have to think about it for a bit, but basically you would have to run a dowel up the through the centre of two circles like a cake stand, or to make it sturdier and the top tier less wobbly, you’d use 4 dowels cut to equal lengths (6″ or so), placing them in between the two Lazy Susan circles. Then just proceed as per my instructions for a single Lazy Susan. ~ karen!

  13. Alicia says:

    I am definitely going to make at least one of these for my new pantry. Thank you for the instructions. But, how do you have a solution to keep the items from sliding off as the Lazy Susan is turned? I can see someone(kids ;-) ) spinning it too fast and things flying off.

  14. Shirley says:

    I used to have a vague idea of how to make a Lazy Susan.
    Now I know EXACTLY’ how to do this!
    Thank you so much Karen for your ‘explicit’ instructions – just what I needed.
    (Love the tone of your blog and your respondents answers)
    Shirley

  15. Leo Gaten says:

    Karen:

    In your research on designing a lazy susan, did you come across any recommendations about load distribution for a larger circular platform? For instance, I am designing a 36″ lazy susan for a telescope chair that will be designed to hold up to 1000 lbs. I assume that it would be best to use a lazy susan bearing that is near the outer edge, lets say at 30″, and another one nearer the center, lets say a 12″ lazy susan bearing. I was just wondering if you had come across any recommendations or rules of thumb on designing for weight bearing/weight distribution for larger devices?

    Thanks,
    Leo

  16. Monya Churchill says:

    your instructions are great but I tried to print instructions, some of the pictures do not fit even on an 11×17 page when I copied from your site. I tried to print directly from your site and because some pictures are grouped as ONE picture, they still don’t fit on a page and I can’t see ALL the pics. Unfortunately, I do NOT have a computer outside to refer to as I’m cutting and that’s why I needed to print out instructions. Guess i’ll have to pass on using your instructions to make my lazy susans. Just thought I’d let you know so that in the future, you might not want to group several pics into one when posting. The first couple of pics are separate pics.

    • Karen says:

      Unfortunately it’s a website Monya, not a pamphlet. So no, my pages aren’t meant to be printed like that. In order for photos to fit on the screen in a certain manner they have to be fit together as “one” photo. ~ karen

  17. Caren Punton says:

    I’m considering making an 18 inch lazy susan.. thanks for the great instruction.. my problem is that my pantry has wire shelves.. Home depot Rubbermaid pantry system… do you have any suggestions for mounting a lazy susan to a wire shelf… thanks
    Caren

    • Karen says:

      Hi Caren. A lazy susan doesn’t necessarily have to be mounted. A few of mine aren’t screwed into the shelves below. This works when whatever is on them is fairly heavy to keep the lazy susan from moving around. If I were you I’d probably put a thin board (painted) on top of your wire shelf and set your lazy susan on it. You can try to set it on the wire shelf with a rubber mat underneath to keep it from sliding around as well. ~ karen!

    • Deb says:

      How about small zip ties? That *might* work??

  18. Holly Czappa says:

    THANK YOU!!! I just spent over an hour reading and watching instructions and finally someone speaks my language! You are my hero (not like the sandwich). I’m fixing a 3 tier lazy susan in a corner. It’s huge and wasn’t finished correctly (you coulda taught’em a thing or two). I think if I make a lazy susan like you did and attach the 3 tier to that, I won’t have to take the counters off to get to it. That probably doesn’t make sense to you. But real sincere-like.. Thank you!

  19. patsy valier says:

    I have a pantry with fixed shelves across back and on one side. Back shelf is 11″ deep and side one is about 8″ How large of a lazy susan can I install in those corners?

    • Karen says:

      Hi patsy. It depends on whether you’re comfortable with the lazy susan hanging over the edge or not. Personally I’d put it on the back shelf and wouldn’t make the lazy susan any bigger than 14″ across. And in that case, you may be able to find ones to buy. It’s the larger lazy susans that are difficult to find. ~ karen!

  20. Dana says:

    Hi, Karen! What is your MDF sitting on when you jigsaw it? I got all excited and bought a jigsaw, but now I can’t figure out how to cut anything without cutting my workbench too.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dana. You just have to find one or two surfaces you can clamp your board to. If I’m jigsawing anything, I usually lay my material between the corner of my workbench and clamp it there. Make sure you clamp your wood or MDF so both your hands are free, and the wood/MDF is completely secure. ~ karen!

  21. CAPERNIUS says:

    Aye Lady Karen, Lee Valley DOES post the weight limits of their Lazy Susans.

    Size Load Capacity Turntable Diameter
    3″ 200 lb up to 18″
    4″ 300 lb 12″ to 25″
    6″ 500 lb 15″ to 30″
    9″ 750 lb 18″ to 36″
    12″ 1000 lb 20″+

    This graph/picture/scale/??? provided compliment of :
    http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=44042&cat=1,250,43298,43316

    TY Lady Karen for taking the time to answer my Q’s.
    GOD Bless

  22. CAPERNIUS says:

    I love it!!
    Madam you have out done yourself!
    Q:
    So how much weight will these hold?
    I would love to build one for my tv …..and it weighs about 50 to 60 pounds(museum piece for a tv)….

    Would I need a lazy Susan bigger than 12 inches??

    • Karen says:

      Hi Capernius. It is I. The amazing Karen. The lazy susans hold a lot of weight, but I’m not sure how much. My guess would be definitely enough for a television. If you go to the link for Lee Valley in the post my guess is it will tell you what weight they can bear. And just buy the largest Lazy Susan mechanism you can. I think it should work out just fine. ~ karen! p.s. I had an archaic television until about a year and a half ago as well.

      • CAPERNIUS says:

        TY Ms.Karen for the quick response.
        You have saved me a TON of Money & I have yet to purchase anything! LOL

        TY again, & GOD bless.

  23. An access hole! Brilliant!

    So much easier than catching some carpenter bees (they have skills… and toolbelts…) and training them to install those screws!

  24. Kristin Ferguson says:

    What is MDF?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin – MDF is Medium Density Fibreboard. It’s not wood and it’s not particle board. A lot of mouldings etc. are made out of it. ~ karen!

  25. Maria says:

    I won a lazy Susan in a raffle. I looked it up on amazon and the thing was almost $90 US. It is hickory and vert nice but not worth $90. These are just as good, just as useful. Nice instructions. Are you tempted to stand on them and spin around?

  26. Amy Watson says:

    Ok you need a proof reader….attack and shold??? Just saying…you must have been really sleepy…

  27. Suzanne @ Le Farm says:

    I found a rubber snake on the housing to my ceiling fan the first time I cleaned it after I moved into my farmhouse. Someone was verrwy verrwy bad.
    And, months later, found a real one in my bedroom. Had I not trapped it in a mesh wastebasket, skidded it along the wood floors and kicked his very long ass out the front door, I would have had to move.

  28. Karen says:

    Were you a teacher in a previous life? Your instructions and pictures are so clear and easy to follow that I’m going to make one this weekend since you made it look so easy! Thanks for this great DIY.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Not that I know of. That’s funny because looking back on the post I thought … NO ONE is ever going to be able to follow this, lol. It’ll all make sense once you start to do it. Although it sounds like you’ll be fine. ;) ~ karen!

  29. Jake says:

    If anyone throws a plastic snake at me it’s your fault. I will not forget that fact.

    • Karen says:

      I hope you don’t because I want to make sure I’m the first one you email and tell about it! ~ karen

  30. Jackie says:

    Karen, You made me too tired to do anything – with all that drilling, spinning & screwing. I need to go & find my plastic snakes to throw at my neighbors. Good idea. Maybe I’ll write your name on them first.

  31. Olga says:

    I like how you explain to everyone that you just pretending to screw your Lazy Susan to the patio table lol. I wonder if anyone actually though “ohhh, did she screw her lazy Susan outside on the table (add random head scratch)???”. I bet you come across of a lot of interesting people lol

  32. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Great tut..cheap..errr..frugal..love Lazy Susans..

  33. LazySusan says:

    I cannot tell you how many Lazy Susans I find at garage sales. I cannot tell you, because I never counted, but almost every garage sale around here seems to have one or more, and I’ve been going to garage sales around here for a decade. They might be the smaller two-tier plastic ones, or very large single wood ones. I buy most of them, and find a use for them somewhere, like in the upstairs hall closet for first aid supplies, or my craft table for art supplies, or the top of the refrigerator so I can just whirl it around to get the potato chips or the crackers that are kept up there, or in the garage on the work bench, for nails and screws of the size we normally use. They cost anywhere from $1 for the very large wooden ones to 10 cents for the single tier plastic ones. Just a bit of information about where to find Lazy Susans, from another Lazy Susan. Love your Lazy Susans, Karen! I would imagine they will make it much easier to retrieve things from those big, deep cabinets!

    • Karen says:

      They do indeed. I like ’em because I could make them exactly the depth of the cupboards so I’m not wasting a single inch. ~ karen!

  34. Agnes says:

    Do you use an oil based primer on the MDF? I was recently working with some laser cut MDF and needed to make sure all the burnt edges were covered up since the project needed to be very white.

    I used a really good oil based Beautitone primer from Home Hardware…very low VOCs and dried in a couple hours. Then top coated in regular latex paint.

  35. Leslie says:

    Genius with the little drilled holes for attaching it to the foundation!

  36. JF says:

    OK, now that you’ve showed us how to make a Lazy Susan, can you tell me how to coax the ones in my cabinets to actually work?!?!?! it’s a two tier LS that came with the place and they inevitably get stuck and won’t rotate completely. . .wait, I have a Lazy Lazy Susan?!?

    anyway, can I adjust them or should I just get out my axe?

    • Deb J. says:

      JF – not sure exactly what kind of lazy Susan you might have but we fixed one installed at our cottage. It involved the centre pole and two shelves. The pole needs to rotate in its pivot points and the two shelves were attached to the centre pole with a screw that locked them into place. Failure at either point results in poor function. However, fixing the damned thing (poorly) involved actually getting into the cupboard and messing around with the parts. These things are put in before the countertops go on which makes access much easier. If you can’t climb into the cupboard (contortionists here we come!), the axe might be your answer.

      • JF says:

        Deb,

        doing my stretches as we speak! thanks for the info!

        hey, if you don’t hear back from me say, within a week or so, please call the rescue squad and ask them to bring the jaws of life!

  37. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    AWESOME…thanks for the tute! I’ve pinned this info. You are so clever.

  38. Bols says:

    I admit I got a bit confused with all the holes to be drilled but I know from plenty of my own experience that the fog will clear up once you start actually working on it.

    I don’t know what is the current situation but I bought a few of fairly large lazy susans at Home Outfitters. Probably not as large as Karen’s, I would estimate them approx 17″ or 18″ in diameter. These were purchased some 12+ years ago and I still have them. Like I said, not sure if they are still available.

  39. christine says:

    Did you know if you have a lazy susan on the table and you spin it fast enough a full size jar of pickles can become airborne and stain your rug forever?

  40. Mary Werner says:

    Seems like you need to make a DIY for a grabber, pincher, picker-upper thingy. My Mom had hip surgery and needed help picking up things so we found one at a store that sells hospital equipment like wheel chairs, toilet potties, etc. It works great for retrieving from the abyss, tall cabinets, or into narrow spaces next to the refrigerator. Anyway, it’s no wonder you needed a nap after all that spinning and screwing!

    • Becky says:

      I have a few of those grabber things you speak of… I found mine at Harbor Freight for $3. I use them for picking up trash that blows in my yard that I don’t want to touch.

  41. Ann says:

    I have to agree with Jack on the border. I have 2 built in Lazy Susan’s that are in blind corner cabinets. So much has fallen off behind that we can not ever get out. Luckily it is all non-food items like tupperware and such. Maybe in a regular type, easy to reach in cabinet it would all be fine. Unless something glass spins off and breaks. Now that could be a real mess to clean up

  42. Tigersmom says:

    Those are awesome. I found a huge wooden one at a thrift store that I use when I’m spray painting for twelve bucks after pricing similar ones new at around $70. (I paint in my garage and like to keep what I’m painting in the direction of the natural light from outside.) Good to know I can make one if this one ever dies.

  43. Jack Ledger says:

    My expertise here is entirely lacking but might I suggest a border edge around the circumference of each circle and slightly overlap the edge so that your favorite sauce doesn’t fall off into the abyss at the back of your cupboard to become unretrieveable for centuries.

  44. Dagmar says:

    I give you so much credit Karen. I am way too lazy to make a Lazy Susan, hey actually, how did they ever come up with that name ? But, even though I don’t make a good deal of the projects you speak of, I jump like a giddy little girl on the first day of school when I hear my iPad make that ping at midnight, and I know my new installment of what’s new in Karen’s world is here. (The Art of Doing Stuff) Hehehe

  45. Mandy Dunbar says:

    I love that you have to ‘attack’ the lazy Susan bearing onto the bottom – makes the whole venture seem slightly more daring!
    Great instructions :)

  46. Margaret K. says:

    Great instructions! I didn’t know the bases had access holes for the screwdriver to fit through to attach them onto your shelves – always wondered how you did that. By the way, in paragraph 2 of the instructions, I hope you are attaching the bearing, not attacking it. They look like they could be vicious if threatened.

    • Peg says:

      With any project involving me and a screwdriver, I am attaching and attacking! I can get it done, but it takes me 2-3 times longer than most men – life is not fair sometimes.

  47. Amber says:

    Hmm, I know a lazy Susan. She revolves quite frequently.
    Maybe she isn’t exactly lazy…

  48. Feral Turtle says:

    This is just bizarre!! I am in the process of making a big ass one for the floor in my pantry. In fact I just put the first coat of paint on it an hour ago…..so weird. Poor hubby has been after me for months to do this, and we happen to do it around the same time! I guess great Karens think alike….hehe Cheers.

  49. Becky says:

    I have said it before and I’ll say it again… YOU are a genius, and I think I love you.
    In a weird, sorta, I wish you were my sister, or my best friend kind of way, of course.

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