I've seen this done a few different ways. I saw a few examples using foam board and contact paper but I wanted something more sturdy. A few others I've seen used wood and a wood router, but we don't have one of those. That lead me to this method! I wound up going with underlayment because it was sturdy, lightweight, and cheap. It also can be easily painted or stained. If I were to do the project again, I would make a few small changes which I've outlined below, but overall it was definitely a success.
Wire Shelving Makeover
Moving into a builder grade home, we had these ugly wire shelves in every closet. After a year of living with them, I decided it was time for a little face lift. I didn't want to spend very much money on this so I had to get creative.
The whole makeover only cost $40. I also "shopped my home" for some organizational items to make the space a little better to look at (i.e. baskets, turntables, etc.).
What you'll need:
1/4 in. underlayment (I would use 1/2 in. if I were to do this again)
1/2 in. x 2 in pine moulding (1x2s would be a cheaper option)
1 inch corner brackets
1/2 in. screws
Step 1: Measure and plan
First I cleared out my pantry closet and measured my shelves. I had four shelves- each one was 16 in. x 38 in. and I decided I wanted my overhang in the front to be 2 in.
Unfortunately, I couldn't completely do away with the wire supports but I did remove the middle bracket for a cleaner look. If you do this, make sure that your shelves are sturdy enough with just the two supports.
Step 2: Cut materials to size
I used a circular saw to cut the underlayment for the shelf base (four pieces, each 16 in. x 38 in.) and I used a miter saw to cut the moulding for the overhang (four pieces, each 2 in. x 38 in.).
Step 3: Connect shelves
I used the corner brackets to connect the moulding to the underlayment and I pre-drilled all of the holes so I didn't split my wood.
I also had to use scrap pieces and double up the underlayment so that my screws didn’t go all the way through (remember, 1/4 in underlayment and 1/2 in screws). If I were to redo this project I would have gone with 1/2 in underlayment so I could skip this step.
Step 4: Sand and caulk
Because I pre-drilled, I went fully through the underlayment in some places, so I lightly sanded the holes down and filled them in. I also caulked the gap between the underlayment and moulding to create a seamless look.
Step 5: Paint
Once the caulk dried, I painted the shelves
Step 6: Assemble
Next, I just slid the shelves over the wire shelving and restyled/organized!
For only $40 I couldn't be happier with this project. It was an easy, cheap fix for the ugly wire shelving we had before. I liked it so much that I may be doing it again for our linen closet upstairs!