How to Turn Older Cabinets Into Open Kitchen Shelves How to Turn Older Cabinets Into Open Kitchen Shelves

What You'll Need
A screwdriver
Wood filler
A putty knife
Wood trim
Mounting nails
A measuring tape
A saw
A miter box
Sandpaper
Primer
Paint
Stain
Paintbrushes
Wallpaper
Fabric
Scissors
Wood Glue

Open Kitchen shelves can be easily made from older kitchen cabinetry. If the cabinets are in good condition, the doors can be easily removed to convert the cupboards into a beautiful shelving unit. This design can provide a fresh look. Open kitchen shelving units can provide a means of displaying your dishes and collectibles. You can do the work yourself, and save you a great deal of money in labor and shelving costs.

Step 1 – Removing the Cabinet Doors

Place an old sheet over your counter tops, to protect them from stains or damage. Use your screwdriver to remove all of the hardware that secures the doors to the cabinetry. Be careful as you work, so you don't accidentally scratch the woodwork. If possible, have someone with you to hold each of the cabinet doors as you are removing the hardware. This will prevent a door from accidentally falling.

Step 2 – Determining a New Design

Once the doors have been removed, you have an opportunity to get a better look at the shelving work. Decide whether you want to keep the shelving as it is, or whether you want to add a fresh coat of stain or paint to brighten up the shelves.

Step 3 – Filling the Hardware Holes

Following the instructions on the packaging, use the putty knife to fill the holes where the hardware once was located with the wood filler. Allow the filler enough time to dry completely. This may take 24 hours. Once the filler is completely dry, use the sandpaper to sand down the filler until it is smooth and level with the surface of the shelving unit.

Step 4 – Applying Trim to the Shelving Unit

Decide whether a trim embellishment would work well with your shelves. Measure the area you plan to trim around the shelves. Visit your local hardware or lumber store and purchase the amount of trim you will need. Measure and mark the lengths you will need to trim your shelves. Use your saw and miter box to cut the trim. Mount the trim to the shelves with small mounting nails and wood glue. Allow the glue enough time to dry completely before you do anything else to the shelves.

Step 5 – Staining the Shelves

Decide on a stain color that will work well with your kitchen décor. You may also decide to use a complementary or contrasting color on the back wall of the shelving unit, to highlight your dish display. Read the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the stain before you begin. Sand down the entire shelving unit to enable the stain to adhere to the cabinetry. Following the directions, apply a layer of stain. Allow the stain enough time to dry completely. Apply a second coat of stain if necessary.

Step 6 – Priming the Shelves

If you decide to paint the shelves instead, you need to prime the wood first. Read the instructions provided by the primer before you begin. Use the paint brush to apply a layer of primer to the entire shelving unit. Allow the primer enough time to dry completely.

Step 7 – Painting the Shelves

Decide on a paint color that will work well with your kitchen décor. Again, this is the time to consider the back wall of the shelving unit to highlight your dish display. Read the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the paint before you begin. Following the directions, apply a layer of paint over the primer. Allow the paint enough time to dry completely. Apply a second coat of paint if necessary.

Step 8 – Applying Fabric or Wallpaper

Consider adding fabric or wallpaper to the back wall of the shelving unit, in place of a complementary stain or paint color. Choose a fabric or wallpaper that will work well with your décor. Use the measuring tape to determine the amount and size of material you will need. Use a ruler to mark the size and shape on the fabric or wallpaper. Cut out the piece. Use the glue to adhere the fabric or wallpaper to the back wall of the shelving unit.

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