How to Create Stylish Plywood Shelves for a Thrifty Pantry Makeover

Marcia Socas
by Marcia Socas

Fed up with the uninspiring look of your pantry's wire shelves? I certainly was, and that's why I devised a clever solution to give my pantry a stylish makeover.

Let me take you through the steps of building plywood shelves, allowing you to easily replicate this project so you can also update your pantry.

Trust me, this DIY is a real winner!

This post was transcribed by a member of the Hometalk editorial team from the original HometalkTV episode.

Tools and Materials:

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How to cover wire shelves with plywood

1. Measure and Purchase Plywood for Shelves

Begin your DIY pantry shelf transformation by measuring your existing wire shelves.

Remove wire shelves

Remove the shelves from the pantry to make sure you are taking the correct measurements.

Head to your local hardware store and purchase sheets of plywood for shelves. These are cost-effective and provide a solid foundation for your custom pantry makeover.

Cutting plywood sheet

2. Cut Plywood and 1x3s to Size

Using a saw, cut the plywood sheets to match the dimensions of your current wire shelving.

Additionally, cut 1x3s to the same length – these will serve as the front lip of your new shelves, providing a clean and finished look.

Use a 1x3 as a front lip for the DIY shelf

3. Secure 1x3s to Plywood

Attach the 1x3s to the plywood by using a nail gun.

Affordable idea for covering wire shelves

This step ensures stability and durability.

DIY plywood shelf for cheap pantry upgrade

The 1x3s will act to stabilize the shelf when placed over the wire shelves and also add a decorative element.

Replace wire shelves

4. Replace Wire Shelving and Add Plywood

Place the wire shelving back into your pantry.

Cover the wire shelves with your new playwood shelves

Place the cut plywood with attached 1x3s on top.

DIY plywood shelves in pantry ready for staining

This straightforward process instantly transforms your pantry shelves, giving them a solid wood surface.

Stain the plywood

5. Optional - Stain the Plywood

To add a touch of warmth and character to your shelves, consider staining them.

While it's recommended to take the shelving outside for staining, you can also opt to stain them in place for convenience.

More Pantry Makeover Ideas

If you are looking for another affordable idea for updating your pantry, read my Floor Tiles on Wall tutorial to get your creative juices flowing!

Budget-friendly pantry update

Pantry Makeover: Plywood Shelves DIY

My pantry has never looked better! The plywood shelves look gorgeous and hardly cost me anything.

Upgrade wire shelves with plywood

Let me know if you gave this DIY a try and any creative twists you added.

Marcia Socas
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 4 questions
  • Lou Lou on Jan 27, 2024
  • Did34154573 Did34154573 on Jan 27, 2024
    How do you close the doors if you instal baskets on it? Won't the products on the shelves prevent that?
  • Suzann L Suzann L on Jan 27, 2024
    Why not stain the wood before putting the shelves in the closet? Saves dripping and getting stain on the wall. Just saying.....
Join the conversation
2 of 12 comments
  • Cheryl Cheryl on Jan 29, 2024
    Nice job! Looks great!
  • Sho70088404 Sho70088404 on Jan 30, 2024
    I think you've done a great job with your pantry shelves you've given yourself alot better room & for staining the shelves I'm sure that would of crossed your mind while you were preparing everything, I think they look Authenticly Ace, Job well done!