DIY Wire Shelf Covers

8 Materials
1 Day

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

After taking these images, I realized that the joint was not cut deep enough so I did recut. Always learning here.

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″


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.


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!

For more images make sure to check out the full DIY tutorial on the blog.

If you want to add some more character to a boring closet, be sure to check out my DIY handpainted wallpaper that I did in my entryway closet for FREE!

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Daniella Governor
    on Feb 26, 2020

    My wire shelve have always been short on weight capacity. Just wondering if the added weight would make this impractical.

    • Neva Dew
      on Feb 29, 2020

      Unless you're putting something super heavy there should be no problem with weight - if the shelves were installed with the proper support as recommended by the manufacturer. Maybe check packaging or their WEBsite.

  • Joygibney
    on Feb 27, 2020

    We’re at Home Depot or Lowe’s cut the wood for me? I am a woman of 69 and I live alone but I want to do it myself

  • CharlyCRNA
    on Feb 27, 2020

    Is t there an easier way to make the edges? Not everyone has the saws necessary. Maybe someone has a suggestion that doesn’t require an electric craft saw.

    • Denise Ferree
      on Feb 29, 2020

      I did this similar thing using cardboard boxes and wrapping paper, just cut to size and cover.

Join the conversation

2 of 34 comments
  • Carol Painter
    on Feb 28, 2020

    For function only, you can lay cardboard on the shelves to prevent imprints from the wire and to prevent things falling. For a classy look, this is perfect. Might try it in my pantry.

  • Carla5771
    on Mar 4, 2020

    Thank you, I will be doing this project! Very nice!

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