DIY Faux Floating Shelves: A Simple Upgrade for Your Wire Shelving

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Are you tired of those wire shelves that come with builder-grade homes?  Well, I have a solution for you – create a faux shelf! It is an easy way to transform those ubiquitous wire shelves into something more substantial and aesthetically pleasing without breaking the bank or starting from scratch!

These shelves easily slip over existing wire shelves, providing a sleek look and a solid surface for your items. Perfect for closets, pantries, or anywhere you’re grappling with those annoying wires.  This DIY project is not overly complicated and uses basic materials and tools to achieve high-impact results

Materials Needed:

-1×3 wood (for the shelf face).  I used this 1/3 oak as I liked the color, but pine would be a cheaper option!
– ¼ Plywood (for the shelf surface).  Again, I used this oak plywood here
-1.5 inch Brad Nails
-Wood filler – I used this one
-Polyurethane coating and Stain if you choose to use (I did not stain)
-Sandpaper (various grits)
-Measuring Tape
-Tools: Hand Saw or Table Saw, Miter Saw (optional to cut 1/3), router, nail gun, and Sander.

Step 1: Measure Your Existing Wire Shelves

Begin by measuring the length and depth of your existing wire shelves. These dimensions will guide you in cutting your wood and plywood to the correct size. I always recommend measuring twice to make sure you have the correct measurements! Remove all the existing shelves and if needed, refresh inside paint. Mine was so dirty, this was a step for me was a must!

Step 2: Cutting Your Materials

Once you have your measurements, it’s time to cut your materials. For the front piece of your new shelf, use a 1×3 piece of wood. This will act as the face of your shelf. I used my miter saw to cut this, but if you do not have a miter saw, you can use your hand saw or even have your hardware store cut to size. Then cut your plywood according to the size of your existing shelf, which will serve as the shelf surface. I used my hand saw to cut this. I put blue tape along my cut line to prevent any splintering on my plywood from the cutting.

Step 3: Routing the Edge


Next, use a router to create a groove along the top edge of your 1×3 oak piece. This step is crucial as it allows the plywood to sit flush within the 1×3, ensuring a seamless look – this is going to give the illusion of a floating shelf! 

Step 4: Assembling Your Shelf After routing

it’s time to assemble your shelf. Place the plywood on top of the 1×3 so that it fits into the routed groove. Using a nail gun, secure the plywood to the 1×3 by nailing through the top of the plywood into the 1×3. This method not only provides a strong hold but also keeps the nails hidden for a clean look.

Step 5: Finishing Touches With your shelf assembled

Some seams and nail holes will inevitably need attention. Use wood filler to patch these imperfections. Once the filler is dry, sand the entire shelf smoothly, starting with a coarse grit sandpaper and working your way up to a finer grit for a polished finish.

filling holes and gaps with wood filler
After Applying The Wood Filler and Before Sanding

Step 6: To Stain or Not to Stain At this point

 You can decide whether to stain your shelf. I chose not to stain as I loved the color of the oak, but I did use a clear polyurethane coat to protect the wood without altering its color. However, staining is a great option if you’re looking for a specific color match or effect

Step 7: Installation

Your new shelf should be designed to snugly fit over your existing wire shelf. Carefully slide it on, and voilà, you’ve transformed your wire shelving into a functional and stylish storage solution!

Final Thoughts

With just a little measuring, a few tools and materials, and some basic woodworking, you can significantly upgrade your home’s storage solutions. These faux floating shelves are not only practical, eliminating the annoyance of items tipping over on wire shelves, or falling through the openings, but they also add a touch of elegance and warmth to your space.

I’d love to see how your shelves turn out, so don’t hesitate to follow me share your projects with me over on instagram @Johnston.designs_.

Happy DIY’ing!
-Kerry

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