DIY Wire Shelf Update

Are you one of the lucky ones who has a set of wire shelves in your home? Do they drive you nuts, or is it just me? Nothing sits straight, things fall through the gaps between the wires… they’re just the worst. There’s good news! There’s a super simple way to update them!

What you need:
Foam board
Packing tape
Tape measure
Xacto knife
Contact paper (optional)

Step One
Measure your shelves. You need to know how long and wide the shelves are so you can decide how much foam board you’ll need to buy. For the smaller (linen closet) shelves, I could use one board to make two shelves. For my pantry, (that has really long and wide shelves) I needed two boards for one shelf.

Step Two
Buy the foam board and contact paper if you want it. There are so many styles of contact paper and you can find it almost anywhere! You’ll probably only need one roll.

Step Three
Decide how wide you want the front ledge of your shelves to be. Mine were a little over two inches. Cut the long piece of foam board, including the extra amount for the front ledge. I would only cut enough to make one shelf at first, just so you can be sure that you’re measuring correctly and it fits nicely on the shelf.

Step Four
Measure the amount of ledge you wanted and use your Xacto knife to make enough of a cut that you can bend the foam board and create a “ledge”. It doesn’t have to stay folded and shouldn’t be cut enough to come completely off. If you do cut it all the way off, don’t panic, just attach it back with packing tape.

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Step Five

Measure out how much contact paper you need. Lay the foam piece on the contact paper and cut around it.

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Step Six

Add the contact paper carefully and slowly. This is the hardest part; take your time! Start at one end and smooth it out nicely with a ruler or a leftover piece of foam to ensure that you get all of the bubbles out as you go. Make sure contact paper is smooth and attached to all edges.

Step Seven

Find where you cut for the ledge. Gently, fold the foam piece so it creates a 90 degree angle. It should be kind of hard to bend, but it doesn’t need to bend far, as you’ll connect it to the actual shelf in the next step.

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Step Eight

Put the foam into your closet! Start at the bottom. Usually, the wire shelving lifts up, so you can start at the bottom shelf and get the others out of the way as you work your way up. Your foam should lay perfectly on the wire shelving.

Step Nine

Depending on how easily your “ledge” folded, you may not need this step. To make the shelves looked cleaner and all had the same ledges, I used a little packing tape to secure the front of the ledge to the underneath of the wire shelf. This helped to hold the foam board in place and keep the “ledges” consistent.

You may also need some packing tape to secure the sides down to the wire shelving, as the foam board may be a little too stiff to sit flat. You can’t see the packing tape at all once it’s finished, so use as much as you need!

You did it! Enjoy your new closet space.

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DIY Shiplap Wall

I knew I wanted to dress up a wall of the new baby’s nursery, but wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I went back and forth between DIY shiplap and wallpaper. I loved the idea and look of a wallpaper wall, but the new peel-and-stick options got expensive quickly ($300+ for a wall is what I was looking at). So, I went for the DIY Shiplap.

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Full disclosure: this project cost $44. The plywood underlayment boards were $13 a piece and I already had nails and a sander on hand. It is really very simple. There are tools that would make it faster and easier, but they aren’t necessary.

Once we got all the supplies gathered and home, it probably took us about three hours to complete the wall. The most time is spent cutting and sanding, but it can easily be done in an afternoon!

Tools that would be nice to have, but aren’t necessary:

  • Power saw to cut down pieces and make holes for outlets
  • Nail gun
    • All of the tutorials I read called for a nail gun. I was going to buy one, then realized they are pretty expensive. I was going to rent one, and then realized that most nail guns also require an air compressor, so it was going to be at least $100 just to rent the supplies for one day.
    • Finally, I decided to just use a good old fashioned hammer and nails, and it worked totally fine.
  • A sander
    • I’ve had my Black + Decker mouse sander for years now and it’s the best. It’s also cheap.
    • Regular sandpaper would suffice for this project, though.

Tools/supplies you must have:

  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Level
  • Hand saw
  • Tape Measure
  • 1/4” plywood underlayment
  • Sandpaper
  • Two quarters

…that’s it. That’s all it takes.

Here are the steps:

Step One:

Go to Home Depot or Lowe’s (or another place that will cut wood down for you) and get as many sheets of 1/4” plywood underlayment as you need. My wall was roughly 8 feet by 10 feet and I needed three sheets.

Step Two:

Get the boards cut in the store down to the thickness that you like. I like the thicker shiplap look, so I had mine cut to 8 inch strips.

Step Three:

Get the boards home and sand them. Depending on how sharp the blade was that was used to cut your boards at the store, your boards may need some serious sanding or just a little. Mine were pretty good, but still much smoother after being sanded.

Step Four:

Be sure that the wall color is a color that you’re okay seeing through the spaces between the boards. My wall was gray, like the rest of the room, and I was okay with that showing through. If you’re going to paint your boards once they’re up, you may want to paint the wall to keep everything the same. The quarter spacing makes the gap very small, but a bit of the wall color does still pop through.

Step Five:

Check out the very top of your wall. I read that most ceilings aren’t level, but I got pretty lucky and mine almost was. The very first board is the most important, so take your level up to the wall and determine where you need to position the first boards it to make it straight and make the rest of your project really simple.

Step Six:

Mark your studs. Find the studs in the wall and make lines down the wall so you’ll know where to hammer as you’re working. I just used a pencil; they’ll get covered up by the boards.

Step Seven:

Take the first long board and get it level on the wall according to your markings. Hammer the board into the wall.

Step Eight:

Measure to determine what size piece you’ll need to cut. Mine came to 80cm. It’ll be the same all the way down, so you can cut each round or you could cut them all at once.

Step Nine:

Sand the edges of the board you cut.

Step Ten:

Hammer that board to the wall.

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Yay!

You completed the first strip, which is the hardest and most important. Follow those same steps all the way down the wall.

Put the long board on the opposite side of where you started so your board lines are staggered. Use quarters to maintain a consistent space between boards as you’re working down the wall.

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Put up board, hammer it to the wall, cut/position second board, place quarters, continue down wall.

Just so you know…

This is much easier with two people, but it is possible with one. If you take your time on the very top, the project goes very smoothly.

We cut around the outlets when we got to them. We had to cut out of two boards because of the way it fell. I attached the outlet covers on top of the boards when they were finished.

Many people also add trim to the edges of the shiplap wall, so don’t worry if you get a little uneven on your cuts on the edges; you can cover it up if you need to. Ours, surprisingly, worked out very smoothly and I think we’re going to leave it as is!

If you know you want your shiplap wall to be painted, I would suggest painting before putting the boards on the wall. We were very pleasantly surprised at the clean look of the plain boards and left ours that way.

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