Learn how to hide wire shelving with these easy DIY wood faux floating shelves!
Y’all, I am so excited to share a little hack today to hide all of those unsightly wire shelves in our homes!
When we moved into our house nearly four years ago, we had wire shelves everywhere. I have slowly been ripping them out one closet at a time and replacing them with solid surface shelving instead.
But we have what I have dubbed “the smallest linen closet in the world,” and it didn’t seem like it would be easy or practical to find shelves that fit perfectly in the tiny space.
So instead of ripping out the wire shelving in the linen closet, I decided to cover it up instead!
I wish I could say that I came up with this brilliant idea all on my own, but that would be a lie. 🙂 Months ago, I had shown our minuscule linen closet on Instagram and mentioned that I didn’t love the shelves. A follower sent me this ah-mazing tutorial from Liz at Within the Grove. I knew I had to do something similar in our closet!
Liz used a router to create her shelves, which is a fantastic method. If you have a router and are skilled at using it, you can follow her tutorial to create these wire shelf covers.
We do not have a router though, so we came up with a different method of putting together our shelves. If you are router-less like us, read on to find out how you can cover up those ugly wire shelves with this oh-so-easy DIY project!
How to Create Shelf Covers to Hide Wire Shelving
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Step 1- Gather the necessary supplies.
Here are all of the items we used to create our shelf covers:
- 1/2″ Birch Plywood
- Pine “Common Board” 1x2s from Home Depot
- Measuring Tape
- Kreg Jig for Making Pocket Holes
- Pocket Hole Screws
- Miter Saw
- Wood Glue
- Bessey Clamps
- Sandpaper + Sanding Block
- Stain of Choice (I used Minwax Dark Walnut.)
- Foam Brush
Step 2- Measure your wire shelving.
Before we could start cutting our wood shelving pieces, we needed to make sure we had the correct measurements. This process was pretty straightforward for us since our shelves were just rectangles.
All shelves are unique. In our situation, there were clips on the back of the shelves along the wall. There was also a piece of plastic that protruded from the side of the shelves against the wall. We made the decision to not make individual notches on the wooden shelves for all of these pieces. We were fine with a small gap along the back and side of the shelf and not having the shelf sit perfectly flush against the wall.
Along with measuring the width and depth, we also measured how tall the vertical portion of the wire shelves was. We wanted to make sure the front piece of our new wooden shelf covers would completely hide the front of the wire shelves.
If your shelving is a non-traditional shape, Liz’s tutorial has a great hack for figuring out what size to make your wire shelf covers.
Step 3- Cut your plywood and 1x2s to the correct dimensions.
After getting accurate measurements, we went to Home Depot to find lumber for our project.
We found a half sheet of birch plywood that was smooth and had a nice grain to it. The plywood was 1/2″ thick instead of the standard 3/4″ plywood. The 1/2″ plywood allowed the shelves to be less bulky so they wouldn’t take up too much vertical space in the closet.
We knew our shelf width measurement, so we had a Home Depot employee use their panel saw to rip down our piece of plywood to the correct dimension. We later cut down the wood to the correct length using our miter saw at home.
At Home Depot we also purchased 1×2″ common board. This is fairly cheap pine wood that is meant for finish carpentry. It’s straight, knot free, and very smooth. It’s a great wood choice for this type of project.
At home we used our miter saw to chip the 1x2s to the correct length to match the shelves.
Once our plywood and 1x2s were both cut to the correct sizes, it was time to put them together!
Step 4- Attach the 1×2 to the plywood.
Once all of the shelves and shelf fronts were cut, it was time to attach the 1×2 fronts to the shelves. For this we used a Kreg Jig pocket hole kit.
If you’re unfamiliar with Kreg Jig pocket holes, it’s a method for joining two pieces of wood. It was a great solution for a project like this.
With the pocket hole kit, you can use the various settings to make sure you drill the correct size and location of pocket holes. For example, we were attaching 1/2″ plywood to 3/4″ 1x2s, so we made sure to set the jig to 1/2″ and the collar on the pocket hole drill bit to 3/4″.
I will say that this was the first time we’ve joined 1/2″ stock to anything using pocket holes. It was tricky. 3/4″ plywood would have provided more forgiveness. When using the Kreg Jig and then actually drilling out the pocket holes, we had to pay very careful attention to the angle we were drilling and then driving in the screws.
If the angle was not perfect or if we overtightened the screws, the tip of the screw would pop through the top of the 1x2s. If this happened, we would back out the screw just a bit and all was well.
After all of the pocket holes were joined, it was time to use the specific Kreg Jig pocket hole screws to attach the plywood shelves to the shelf fronts.
To do this, we clamped the plywood to the work bench and pressed it up against the 1×2. This allowed us to drive pocket hole screws into the pocket holes without the boards moving around or coming apart.
For this step, it’s important to also use wood glue. The joint will just last longer and hold up better this way. Screws alone can slowly loosen up and make a gap visible where the wood is joined.
Step 5- Sand and stain the wire shelf covers.
Once the shelf covers were put together, it was time to make them pretty! The plywood was pretty rough, so before I could do anything else to them, I needed to sand them like crazy.
I used a 340 grit sandpaper and a sanding block to sand all of the surfaces on the shelves until they were pretty smooth. I then wiped down the shelves with a damp cloth and repeated the process with 400 grit sandpaper to make the wire shelf covers as smooth as possible.
After the second round of sanding, I wiped down the covers with a damp cloth again, and I was ready to stain.
For the staining, I used Minwax Dark Walnut stain with just a simple rag to apply it to my shelves. Applying one even coat gave me the color I was going for. (If I wanted the shelves to be darker, I could have applied additional coats.)
I let the stain dry for 24 hours. I did a quick sanding of the shelves with my 400 grit sandpaper, wiped them down with a damp cloth, and applied a coat of clear satin Polyacrylic using a foam brush. The Polyacrylic will protect the shelves from getting scuffed or the stain from fading.
After letting the Polyacrylic dry for two hours, I repeated the process– sand, wipe down, apply another coat of Polyacrylic. I ended up doing three coats of Polyacrylic total.
After the final coat of Polyacrylic, I let the wire shelf covers dry for 24 more hours, and then they were ready to install!
Step 6- Hide wire shelving with your new shelf covers and enjoy!
Installing the shelf covers was really straightforward. We didn’t screw them in or attach them in any way. We simply set them right on top of the wire shelving!
If you’re working in a tight space like we were, you’ll want to start at the bottom and lift up the wire shelf above the one you’re covering to make room to put the shelf cover in place.
(Confession: I did not know that it was possible to pop the wire shelves out like that until an IG friend told me. So here is your heads up that it is possible if you were in the dark like me! 😉 )
Once all of your shelf covers are in place, you can fill up your shelves again and enjoy the beautiful new look of your closet! Yippee!
This was a quick and simple project, but it really made a big impact! I am thrilled to be able to hide wire shelving with something more beautiful!
Thinking of building covers for your wire shelves? Be sure to pin the image below so you can reference this post later!
Have you tried to replace or hide wire shelving in your home? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!
Thank you so much for following along! Have a wonderful day!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.