How to Cover Shelves

Written by f.r.r. mallory | 13/05/2017
How to Cover Shelves
Kitchen cupboards with shelves. (kitchen image by Ritu Jethani from

Kitchen and bath cabinets as well as linen and pantry cupboards can come with shelves. These shelves are subject to spills, dirt, discolouration, water damage and a host of other problems that often make the inside of the cupboard look a bit dingy. You can improve the appearance of these shelves with a little time and effort.

Remove everything from the cabinet, and vacuum the inside of the cabinet thoroughly using a wand-type vacuum cleaner or attachment. You may have to use a scraper if things are stuck to the floor or walls of the cabinet. Scrub down the cabinet with soap and water, and dry the cabinet immediately with an old towel.

Remove the cabinet shelf if it detaches from the cabinet, and clean the sides of the shelf and the inside walls of the cabinet. Adhesive shelving paper will not stick well to dirt, so it is essential to clean the surface. Wipe down the surfaces with a degreaser.

Purchase an adhesive cabinet shelf paper that has a grid on the back. This will help you pre-fit and pre-cut the paper to exactly fit the inside of the cabinet. When possible, wrap individual shelves when they are out of the cabinets. Use scissors to cut the paper. Once the paper is cut, peel off the wax backing in the corner farthest from you. Position the paper in alignment with the corner and peel and press the paper into position.

Rub out any wrinkles or bubbles using a silicone scraper or the rounded side of a plastic spoon. Consider stapling down the corners to help the paper stay in place.

If you prefer to use oilpaper, fit it the same way except add 4 inches of extra paper along the front of the shelf. Position the back of the paper in the back corners and staple along the back edge. Wrap the paper over the front edge and staple it on the underside every 2 to 3 inches to keep the oilpaper from sagging.

Things you need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Scraper
  • Soap and water
  • Old towel
  • Degreaser
  • Adhesive shelf paper
  • Scissors
  • Silicone scraper
  • Plastic spoon
  • Oilpaper
  • Stapler

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