A step-by-step guide to help you cover wire shelves
Hands down, the biggest impact in our master bedroom closet makeover was covering our wire shelves. Not only does it look so much better, but it makes using the shelves easier since stuff doesn’t slip between the wire slats like it did before.
Here’s what they looked like before:
Since I re-did this space as part of the $100 Room Challenge, and there is close to 50 feet of wire shelving here, I had to find a way to cover them in a cost- effective way that I could DIY. Here’s what I did:
How to cover wire shelves: supplies
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Here’s what you’ll need (total amounts needed will depend on how much wire shelving you have):
- 4X8 foot paneling- make sure that you measure both the depth and length of the shelves you are covering because this is what sits on top of the shelves. The paneling is the cheapest thing I found to cover this much space. I bought two panels and had a little left for our almost 50 feet of shelves with depths of 16 inches and 12 inches- I used this from Lowes
- Either 1X4 whitewood boards or 1X6X8 fence pickets You’ll need enough to cover the entire length of your wire shelves. Note: I used whitewood boards because we had enough on hand left over from other projects, but if not I would have definitely used the fence pickets. They are about 1/2 of the cost of the whitewood boards! (I totally ripped this idea off from Erin of Lemons, Lavender, and Laundry)
- paint or stain of your choice
- You’ll also need a drill, drill bits, and a circular saw
Measure the depth of the shelf that you want to cover, and add one inch. Then, use the circular saw to cut your 4X8 paneling to depth. Our two longest shelves were 16 inches deep, and the three shorter shelves were 12 inches deep.
That’s where I went wrong. I changed my plan a bit here, and cut my depths to the exact dimensions of the wire shelf. They ended up with a bit of a gap in the back, so be sure that you add that inch!
You can see how this gap looks close up here, although I have to say that it’s not really that noticeable in real life:
Once you cut your paneling to width, cut them to the length of your shelves.
Cut your 1 X 4 to the length of your shelves. These should match the length of the paneling that you cut.
You’re going to be attaching the paneling to the 1 X 4- the 1 X 4 will front the shelves, and the paneling will sit on top of the shelves. This whole thing will act as a “cover” for the wire shelves.
Use a small drill bit to predrill your holes. Then, screw your cut paneling into your 1 X 4.
I was doing this by myself and so couldn’t get a great picture, but you can see where I was going here:
I found it easier to do this with the paneling already sitting on the shelf, but you could definitely do this on the floor or a work table if you have one.
The difference is, with the laundry room shelves (above) I used nails instead of screws, plus you can see that I nailed from the front. With the master closet shelves, I had the paneling overlap the 1 X 4 and screwed them in from the top.
There are probably going to be some thin gaps between the paneling and the 1 X 4- nothing a little caulk or wood filler can’t fix!
If you’re planning to paint your 1 X 4, you can use caulk or wood filler, but if you’re planning to stain the 1 X 4, use wood filler. Lightly sand the caulk/wood filler once it dries.
You can see that filling those gaps leaves a pretty seamless look after painting!
Paint or stain your 1 X 4! There’s a lot going on in this closet, so I opted to paint them white for a clean look.
Although I really should have painted the bottom of the shelves white so they blend in with the wire shelves, I’m really happy with how these came out!
For nearly 50 feet of wire shelving, this cost me the cost of the two panels: $29.94 (remember I had the boards on hand, so I didn’t have to buy them). However, if I had to buy the 1 X 4’s, it would have added around $17 to the cost, for a total of $46.44. That’s less than $1 per linear foot- not a bad cost for so much shelving!
I feel like I can’t overemphasize the crazy difference these things made in this space!
I hope this tutorial is helpful for you! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!