Friday, November 16, 2012

Wire Shelf fix up


Just another settling in story/project. This one involves our pantry.

The new place has a decent size pantry. Not huge but not tiny either. Sort of mama bear size. Which works for me for now. What it does have that I can't stand are wire shelves. I know they are easy to install, easy for the management company to maintain and all that but wire shelves are evil. Nothing stands up correctly. Things tip and spill. Then if they are in the least bit liquid they drip between the wires. Making not just a mess on one shelf but on all the shelves. See? Pure evil!

This was an intolerable situation. So, like any good librarian I started a literature search, i.e. a blog search on the best ways to fix this problem. They were helpful but the solutions were a tad costly. Some suggested lining the shelves with vinyl peel-n-stick floor tiles without peeling-n-sticking, cost on this option is about $37. Some showed DIY plexiglass shelf tops (I didn't even look at how much this would cost) or foam core board covered in fancy contact paper, cost on this option is about $30 plus the cost for the fancy contact paper. There are also suppliers of this sort of thing if I wanted to spend about $150 dollars.

Seriously, this was not going to work. I was looking for cheap. Okay, cheaper than cheap. Like free cheap. So here's what I did. I had JR bring home some of the thickest cardboard he could find from work. I scrounged around to find the rolls of contact paper that I had purchased on sale three rentals ago for about $1 per roll. For some reason I have ton of contact paper leftover. I must have found an uber-deal on it and I needed to find it anyway since I needed to line the kitchen shelves. I set up one of my craft tables and ta-da! Wire shelf liners.

First things first. I measured the inside on the shelves, taking into account the clips that hold the shelves and anything else that was in the way. I then grabbed my handy Exacto knife and went to work; cutting the cardboard to the exact size.

Turns out that the contact paper that I had bought was just about 6 inches wider than the shelf measurement. Sweet! I just cut the length 6 or so inches longer. Once again wielding the Exacto knife of love to cut the corners out. This little step is sort of important since it allows the contact paper to fold all nicely and to get rid of the bulk, making the liner sit flat.

Fold up the corners, press down firmly all over. Don't mind the wrinkles. Or if you do, you can always reposition the contact paper. Obviously, I don't mind the wrinkles as long as they don't interfere with the laying flat function. 

Set on the wire shelves and you are done.

You can load them up. Everything sits flat and level.

Let's go over the numbers.
cardboard: Free
contact paper: Free
(I have been carting this stuff around for over 3 years. I doubt if I paid more than $1 per roll. I used less than a roll. So if you want to get technical let's say that the whole thing cost $1.)
And, about 1 hour of my time.

This solution works really well for us. If one of these liners has a blowout it won't take much to replace it. I have lots of packing boxes left over from the move just sitting in the garage.

This weekend will be spent finishing up all the move in and straightening the garage enough to get the car into it and maybe if there is time, starting the commissioned painting I've got going.

Have you got a free storage solution?

Peace out,


  1. Good idea! I have done the cardboard thing before too, just never contact papered them. Smart woman! I hate those kind of shelves in the kitchen too.

    1. Nice thing about the contact paper is that you can wipe it down with a wet sponge.

  2. When we got our new Amish-made bookshelves, we put our old, mismatched shelves in the basement, where their main mission was to collect dust. Once we started canning, we began putting our finished jars down there.

    We're going to have to buy more shelves for the frames next year, I think.

  3. You could have just stuck the contact paper to the wire, taaa-da, :-D. What you might keep an eye open for are tiles. They work a dream for that type of task.

    1. I could have just stuck the contact paper to the wire but when we eventually move out I would have to take it all up. If it got stuck around the wires that would be a pain. With this method it is easier to remove. And, if they are in good enough shape and the next place has wire shelves I can reuse them.

  4. Wire shelves are a pain, what a great idea!!!


  5. Great idea! And one I need to show to my friend who is trying to figure out a way to keep her wire shelves from sagging.. :-)

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