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.


Step Five

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


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.


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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