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Cover wire shelves with wood—the DIY way!

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This post shares all about how to cover wire shelves with wood to make them look more high end and increase their functionality. 

Cover wire shelves with wood—the DIY way!

Hey guys. Let’s complain! Have you ever been annoyed by small things falling down between the slatted wires in your wire closet shelving? Or the wire imprints getting into your clothes? I know I have. I don’t care as much about making the shelves look better. Really, I want the functionality.

So today I am sharing a quick and easy project that shows you how to easily core wire shelves with wood. It makes no permanent changes, though you could fix the cover in place if you wanted to. I just wanted to make this as easy of a solution as possible.

However, I’m not opposed to a step up. I literally have a piece of scrap wood sitting in a few of my closets for this reason. We’re going to improve on that solution today! And the best part? If you’re a chronic DIYer like I am, you might already have the scrap wood to make a few of the wire shelf covers. So let’s get to it.

Cover wire shelves with wood

And here is the DIY way to easily cover wire shelves with wood.

1. Measure, cut, and sand

The first step to making the wood covers for wire shelving is to measure your shelf. Mine is 12 inches deep and XX inches long. I used a scrap piece of ¾ inch plywood from my garage and cut it to size using my miter saw. Plywood can be a bit rough, so I sanded this smooth using medium-grit sandpaper on my orbital sander.

Then I measured a piece of 1×2 pine, also from my scrap pile, and cut it to reflect the length of my shelf. XX inches long. Once all my cuts were done, I sanded everything using fine-grit sandpaper on my orbital sander so clean both pieces up.

pieces for the wire shelf cover

2. Glue together

After sanding, I wiped down both pieces with a clean rag. Then I ran a line of wood glue along the front of the piece of plywood. Decide which side of the plywood will be the top. Then press the piece of 1×2 onto the line of glue.

I used bar clamps to apply gentle pressure as the glue dried. Use the rag to wipe up any glue that oozes out from the seam. If you don’t want to wait, you could just use nails, but I didn’t see the need. I had patience with this project 🙂

applying the wood glue
bar clamps
adding the lip to the shelf cover
Cover wire shelves with wood
Cover wire shelves with wood

Want more quick projects with a big impact? Check out my post on how to re-caulk hardwood stairs, how to make DIY photo ledge shelves, how to make a spice organizer for a drawer, how to hide TV cords in a wall, and how to make a custom-painted doormat!

3. Finish and put in your closet

After the glue dried, I removed the clamps and finished the piece using a natural wood stain and a few coats of semigloss polyurethane. I sanded lightly between coats. If you want to add veneer edge banding to cover any plywood edging, you should do that before finishing off the piece with stain.

sanding the shelf cover
minwax wood stain in natural
Cover wire shelves with wood
finishing shelf
finishing shelf

And here’s the finished project in the closet. I didn’t fix it in place, but it’s heavy enough that it doesn’t really move around a lot. I just set stuff on it, so it’s not really a problem. 

What do you think of the finished product in Ramona’s closet? It’s a pretty cheap way to cover wire shelves with wood, don’t you think? Would you make these for your closet?

Cover wire shelves with wood
Cover wire shelves with wood
Cover wire shelves with wood
Cover wire shelves with wood

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Cover wire shelves with wood

How to Cover Wire Shelves with Wood

Cover wire shelves with wood

How to cover wire shelves with wood to make them look more high end and increase their functionality.


  • Plywood that is the size of the area you’d like to cover
  • 1x2 pine or similar—must be the length of the shelf you want to cover
  • Paint or finish of your choice
  • Optional: Veneer edge banding and iron


    1. Measure your shelf.
    2. Cut a piece of 3/4 inche plywood to size and sand smooth.
    3. Cut a piece of 1X2 pine to the length of your shelf.
    4. Once all your cuts are done, sand each piece with fine grit sandpaper.
    5. Run a bead of glue along the front edge of the plywood. Decide which side of the plywood will be the top and press the 1x2 onto the line of glue.
    6. Use bar clamps to hold it together and allow to dry completley.
    7. Once the glue is dry, remove the clamps (if you are using veneer edge banding, add it now) and finish using the stain of your choice and finish with a few coats of semi-gloss polyureathane. Be sure to sand lightly between coats.
    8. Place over the wire shelf in your closet and you're done! The wood is heavy enough that it stays in place without having to attach it.

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