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How to Line Shelves

by Staff Writer

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Kitchen shelves

Things You Need:

  • Shelf lining paper
  • Ammonia or rubbing alcohol
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors or utility knife

Lining your shelves with colored or patterned paper lining is a great way to spruce up that old bookcase or the kitchen shelves. You can find shelf lining with or without adhesive backing and in all shapes, colors and sizes. For adding a little bit of flair to protecting your glassware in the kitchen or your toiletries on your bathroom shelving, you are bound to find lining that will fit your taste.

Lining Shelves:

  1. Clean your shelves. Remove everything and give your shelves a thorough cleaning. Be sure to remove any cleaning residue that might be left behind with some ammonia or rubbing alcohol. This is important if you are going to be using adhesive shelf liners. Some cleaning supplies may include chemicals that react to the chemicals in the adhesive, causing the liner to bond to your shelf, making it very difficult to remove if needed.

  2. Determine the size of liner that you need. Liners will come in rolls of 12, 18 and 24 inches in width and 10 or 25 feet in length. Be sure to measure the length and depth of each shelf because they may not all be the same size.

  3. Cut your liner down to size on a flat surface. Choose a roll that is wider than the depth of your shelf. For instance, if your shelf is 10 inches wide, use a roll that is 12 inches wide. Roll out the liner and cut the length a half inch longer than your shelf. The extra length will accommodate for any irregularities in the sizing. Most liners will include a grid on the back side in 1/2-inch increments. This makes it easier to measure and cut if you don't have a ruler or tape measure on hand. The width may need some trimming as well, depending on the depth of your shelf.

  4. For non-adhesive liners: Place your liner on the shelf. Check for any gaps on the sides and at the back. Shelves in older cabinets and some decorative shelves might not be square, so you may need to adjust your liner with a little trim to fit properly.

  5. For adhesive liners: The backing is normally peeled off so that the liner sticks to your shelf, but you can leave this backing on if you feel there is no risk of the liner slipping off the shelf. Place the liner on the shelf and trim to fit. Typically, the backing will peel off in sections. Start by peeling off a small corner at the back of the shelf. Place the liner in the correct location and press down on the corner without the backing. Slowly peel away the rest of the back while pressing down to ensure that the liner sticks to the shelf evenly.

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