A budget-friendly DIY tutorial that will teach you how to cover wire shelving using a wood overlay.
Ahhh….wire shelving. The shelving we all love to hate. It’s durable, cost-efficient and practical. But man, is it an eyesore. Not to mention how it leaves lines on your stacks of clothing and nothing ever seems to balance well on it. This DIY tutorial will teach you how to cover wire shelving on a budget.
When we moved in two years ago, one of the first things I did was install this simple bracket shelving and remove the bi-fold doors from the linen closet in our kids’ bathroom. Originally, I had intended to paint and re-install them, but that was another project doomed for the Pinterest graveyard. So when I saw this awesome makeover from Within the Grove, I opted to DIY some wire shelf overlays instead.
This particular closet had some angles, and I didn’t care to mess with actually removing the shelves so these DIY wire shelf covers were the perfect solution. This would also be an excellent project for anyone who rents since it doesn’t require you to actually remove the existing shelving.
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- 1/4″ Plywood
- Circular or Table Saw (You can also ask your local hardware store if they can cut for you, most will do a few cuts for free or a small charge)
- Miter Saw
- 1 x 3 Wood for the facing
- Router (or table saw)
- Sander / Sandpaper
- Wood Glue
Step 1: Measure
Measurements will be specific to your particular shelving. Since mine had an angle, I used a piece of brown kraft paper as a template to help get the exact shape.
Step 2: Make cuts
Make your plywood cuts. I used my Kreg jig Rip-Cut and circular saw to make five cuts matching the width and depth of my shelves. These will be the tops of your shelves. I also cut my 1 x 3 face boards to the same length.
I then took the template and traced it onto my plywood cuts. Using a jigsaw I trimmed off the corner angles and gave everything a good sanding to smooth out any rough edges.
After all of my cuts were made, I did a quick dry fit to make sure things were on track.
Step 3: Prep Face Boards
Using my table saw, I cut a rabbet joint down the edge of pre-cut 1 x 3 pine. This groove will allow the 1/4″ plywood to rest flush with the pine face board. You can also achieve this joint with a router or Dado blade. I don’t own a router, and my table saw can’t accommodate a Dado blade so I taught myself a fun new skill with this project.
Alternate Option: If you were to purchase 1/2″ or 3/4″ Plywood you could completely eliminate the step of cutting rabbet grooves. You would just simply nail your face board into the plywood edge. I just chose to keep the cost and overall weight of the shelves down by using 1/4″
Step 4: Assemble Shelves
Run a thin line of wood glue along the rabbet joint. Lay the plywood flush with the groove and 1 x 3 facing and attach it with your nail gun.
Step 5: Patch and Paint
Once the shelves are assembled you can patch any obvious gaps or nail holes with wood filler. Once dry, use a sander to smooth it out.
At this point, you can finish to your liking. Paint, stain or simply coat with a clear polyurethane as I did.
Slip them over your existing wire shelves and BAM, you’ve got a custom look without the hassle of complete reinstallation.
Full disclosure, this is a temporary fix for this space. You can still see the wire shelving, but only if you’re looking up from below at the top two shelves. Regardless, I love how much it dressed up those boring wire shelves!
If you need a budget-friendly DIY showing you how to cover wire shelving, make sure you Pin this for later and share your final projects with me over on Instagram!