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Cupboard shelves


snowangel
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OK. So, I've got these awful particle board cupboard shelves. We are gradually (acutally, not so gradually, now that I'm on a mission) replacing them with lovely birch plywood. I've always used shelf liner paper, but the new stuff is awful. It either doesn't stick, or stuff (like cans and plates, etc.) sticks to it, and oil and syrup absorbs into it. Remember, I have little kids, and I need to be able to clean off the spills, broken glass, etc.

So, should I be using some sort of Con-Tact type paper, or should I be applying a really hard finish to the shelves? In terms of finish, I'm rather partial to shellac (applies easily, can apply coats in rapid succession), or is some sort of non-absorbent shelf liner paper more appropriate? Remember, I have kids, and they spill and break. Cushiony, absorbent and difficult to clean need not apply.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I just lined all my brand new shelves with Life Liner. It's plastic, but non-adhesive, so if it gets sticky or whatever, I can just pull it out and wipe it down. It comes in clear (which I bought) and white. It's pricey, but there are less expensive versions of the same thing at The Container Store and Ikea. It even comes in wide rolls for lower cabinet shelves or deep pantry shelves. (LifeLiner's available at Bed, Bath & Beyond and Linens 'n' Things).

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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Jennifer, is LifeLiner the ribbed stuff? Even though it is pricier, if it's that easy to wash, and won't wear out, that might be the way for me to go.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Susan,

I haven't put shelf paper into cabinets in years ... if ever. The MDF (medium density fibreboard) my supplier uses is coated in a "thermally bonded" melamine that is incredibly scrubbable and durable.

Having said that ... birch ply is nice too. But as you noted, stuff doesn't stick to it so well. And IIRC, part of the benefot to shelf paper is that you can remove it if it gets too dirty.

Try painting a shelf (or test with a scrap of the same birch ply) with "Melamine" paint ... any home centre will have it. I think the shelf paper will stick better to a painted surface.

Hope that helps.

A.

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is LifeLiner the ribbed stuff?

Yeah, it's ribbed. The IKEA version is little dots. On my painted shelves, it's all but invisible. On the wood-finished shelves, it's translucent, but not very noticeable. The same company makes a less expensive (slightly thinner?) version that they sell at The Container Store. Maybe try a roll of that if you can get your hands on some and see how you like it.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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Ok, there's a story here. I have a narrow and very deep pantry, and we just built drawers and installed them on runners. Installing them was a PITA, since, naturally, nothing in a house is square. But, they are in, and they are beautiful. And, oh so functional that they have spoiled me. I did finish the drawers with glossy varnish, and I did find some shelf paper that I had that does stick (it must be old!), so I opted for that.

Now, I'm unhappy with two of my cabinets, and am thinking that if I beg and plead nicely, hubby will build drawers for each of those under-counter cabinets. The current shelves are of some pressboard variety that have bowed under the weight of what's on them, and they need replacing, and I'm thinking that if we're going to hack up more of the plywood (1/2") we have, we'd just as well spring for the runners and make it really useful and current (and make the mom really happy; these are deep as well, and unloading what's in front to get at what's in back makes the mom crabby).

So, my question, Arne, is should I forgo finishing the drawers that my husband will craft and we will install in favour of melamine paint? (We have a LOT of birch plywood in our inventory, so I don't want to buy something specific for this project other than runners and screws.)

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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So, my question, Arne, is should I forgo finishing the drawers that my husband will craft and we will install in favour of melamine paint?  (We have a LOT of birch plywood in our inventory, so I don't want to buy something specific for this project other than runners and screws.)

I assume you're asking about painting shelves vs. making new drawers?

If so ... have hubby make drawers, or what I assume will actually be roll-out shelves (drawer boxes that will be behind doors). My storage philosophy is that "useful space" trumps just plain "space" every time. Roll-outs make the full depth of a cabinet useful.

A.

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Arne, they were actually drawers, not shelves. For the shelves in the cupboards, I have replaced all of the ghastly harvest gold and lime green contact paper with new contact paper, but did go with the LifeLiner that Jennifer recommended (I had a whole mess of 20% off coupons from BBB and the stuff comes in nice wide rolls so there was barely any waste) in the drawers because I didn't want stuff to slide around. And, with this stuff, I can just empty the drawers and give the liner a good bath in the tub when it gets gunky.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I had pressboard shelves at one time. They were driving me nuts! Regular shelf paper would not stick to them as they were starting to disintegrate. Every time that I pulled something off a high shelf, I would receive a little shower of sawdust.

I went to the local home improvement store and bought inexpensive, peel 'n stick floor tiles. I cut them to fit the inside of my cabinets with a utility knife, and stuck them down. Worked great! My cabinets happened to be white, so I used white floor tiles. They held up well and were very easy to clean (just wiped with a damp sponge or side towel).

Just a thought.

KBJ

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have always lined the shelves. We built out home and I still lined my cabinets adn pantry. I normally used contact paper or that really need antibacterial liner but I decided to do something different so I bought a cork liners from Williams-Sonoma (I think it was them). I love the look and feel of it. It doesn't slide, move or peel up and a quick flick of the dustbuster clears it of spilled spices, flour, etc.

Whoever said that man cannot live by bread alone...simply did not know me.
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Jennifer, thanks for the Life Liner recommendation. I used it in the pots and pans drawers that Paul just built and installed. And, given the width and lenght of the roll I bought I bought at Bed Bath and Beyond, it was not really more expensive than any of the other stuff, which came in shorter rolls. The irritation with the other stuff was that each roll would have been too short for two drawers, but leaving a lot of waste from two rolls. Oh, and then there was that 20% off coupon from BBB.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I had pressboard shelves at one time.  They were driving me nuts!  Regular shelf paper would not stick to them as they were starting to disintegrate.  Every time that I pulled something off a high shelf, I would receive a little shower of sawdust.

I went to the local home improvement store and bought inexpensive, peel 'n stick floor tiles.  I cut them to fit the inside of my cabinets with a utility knife, and stuck them down.  Worked great!  My cabinets happened to be white, so I used white floor tiles.  They held up well and were very easy to clean (just wiped with a damp sponge or side towel).

Just a thought.

KBJ

I have never used shelf paper, but I think I may consider something for the cottage shelves. This sounds like a great idea, since I'm pretty sure the cupboards are pressboard.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Oh, we've had those pressboard shelves, and they suck. They bend under heavy weight. So, when we moved in, we bought a sheet of 1/2" plywood (I think we spent less than US$20.00) and spent an hour with the table saw, and voila -- new and beautiful shelves that have stood the test of time and weight.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I've never really understood what the purpose of shelf paper is. It seems to me that you either have to clean the surface of the bottom of the shelf or the shelf paper, so I don't see the difference. Do unlined shelves get damaged more than lined shelves? Is it easier to clean?

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  • 8 months later...
I just lined all my brand new shelves with Life Liner. It's plastic, but non-adhesive, so if it gets sticky or whatever, I can just pull it out and wipe it down. It comes in clear (which I bought) and white. It's pricey, but there are less expensive versions of the same thing at The Container Store and Ikea. It even comes in wide rolls for lower cabinet shelves or deep pantry shelves. (LifeLiner's available at Bed, Bath & Beyond and Linens 'n' Things).

I've had the LifeLiner for almost a year, and the verdict is in. Yeah! I just had to clean one of them, and I simply put it in the shower and took a brush to it, and voila, looks good as new. The other thing I finally figured out is that is comes much wider than regular shelf liner, and with the 20% off BBY coupon, it was actually cheaper than that awful shelf liner which wants to wrinkle and battle with me (sort of like plastic wrap) when putting on the shelf.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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