How to Beautify Your Plain Utility Shelves How to Beautify Your Plain Utility Shelves

What You'll Need
Orbital sander
Wood primer
Contact Paper
Craft Paints
Paint brushes (craft and sash brushes)

While utility shelves are purely for storage, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with the design element. You can decorate a shelf with any application that is appropriate on properly prepared wood. Decorating utility shelves is a great way to master a technique.


Step 1 - Prepare Wood Shelves

With an orbital sander, smooth the shelf surface. From this point, you can decorate your utility shelves in any number of ways. Start with a coat of wood primer. Allow primer to dry at least 2 hours.

Step 2 - Paint Shelves

With interior latex paint, apply a different color of paint to each shelf. Apply at least 2 coats of paint, allowing 24 hours between coats. Add decorative stickers to the painted surface if you like.

Step 3 - Contact Paper

After shelves have been properly primed, cut and apply self-stick contact paper to each shelf. You can wrap the entire shelf before installing onto the bracket system. Have fun with combining patterns and colors.

Step 4 - Stencil Shelves

After shelves have been properly primed and painted, stencil any design on the edge of each shelf. If the shelves are thick enough, you may even be able to cut a wallpaper border to fit the edges of the shelf, or even decoupage the entire shelving system with any paper design.

Step 5 - Seal Design

After completion of decorating the shelves, be certain to seal the shelf with polyurethane. Use at least 2 coats of polyurethane, sanding between coats. (No need to apply protective coating to decoupage). Enjoy your snazzy utility shelves.

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