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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Jessica | The Martin Nest
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  • Lisa Tropeano Tringale Lisa Tropeano Tringale on Aug 21, 2020

    It looks nice but if you are going to do all this and spend more, why not just get wood shelves?

  • Roz Roz on Feb 27, 2021

    Great job, I cut 45* angle on the front face and top shelf outer edge then glued and pin nailed the 2 mitered edges together, sanded the corner edge down and stained

  • Laura Laura on Mar 01, 2021

    You smart cookie you ! Looks great!🧡

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3 of 50 comments
  • Lannen Lannen on Feb 26, 2022

    Love it!! For anyone with a square space (i.e., no angle cuts required) or a lack of tools, get your measurements and head to a big box home can get most/all of it cut there for free (given that you buy the wood there). Use thicker plywood (as Jessica offers an an alternative in Step 3) and this becomes an even simpler project of straight cuts and nailing. A super satisfying project that would be especially great for those new to DIY!

  • Sissy Sissy on Feb 26, 2022

    must be me but I like wire shelving in my pantry . I can lay out led strip lights and see what is on each shelf

    • Mary Russell Mary Russell on Feb 26, 2022

      I'm with you.Nothing wrong with good,well kept wire shelves.As you said, rope lights,or led strip lights can light up each shelf to show contents.also easy to put labels on /take off/move around.