Add a Melamine Shelf Inside a Cabinet for Storage

Hubs upcycled this old tool cart into something special. What that ‘something special’ is won’t be fully revealed until my next post. However, in the interim I’m going to show you how to construct and insert a laminate shelf into a cabinet for more storage space.

Here’s how the cart looked before hubs sanded, filled in all the dings and repainted it:


Below is how the interior looks now (but there’s an even better surprise to come next week)! The shelf we installed increased this cabinet’s storage potential greatly.  To make the shelf, you’ll need a white melamine panel, iron-on edge tape to match the colour of your shelf (we used white laminate), scissors, an iron, rubber roller and file.

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You will need:

Hubs had some leftover melamine board from a 4′ x 8′ sheet he used for a previous project. To start, mark the board to the depth you want (ours is 10 3/8″) and length. Deduct 1/8″ from the length measurement for clearance on the sides and cut out the shelf. Hubs used his circular saw with a straight edge clamped to the board to get a straight cut.

At this point, you’ll have raw press board on the outside edges and will need to apply some iron-on tape. We only did the front edge, but you could also do the sides if you choose. Since you don’t see the back, it isn’t necessary to edge it with the tape.

Clamp the shelf into a workbench:

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Cut a piece of iron-on edge tape slightly longer than the length of the shelf (you’ll file all the excess off later).

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Test it for fit.

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Heat up an iron to high and place the tape glue side down over the edge; centre it so that it overlaps slightly along all edges.

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Apply the iron to the tape and keep it moving to melt the glue. Make sure you get all the edges and don’t stay too long in any one area or you’ll run the risk of burning or melting it!

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When ironing is complete, apply pressure along the length with a roller to ensure good adherence.

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Let it cool completely before moving onto the next step. Here’s how it will look before the extra material is filed away:

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There are power tools you could use to trim away the extra material, but hubs went ‘old school’. Take a fine file or rasp and run it at an angle in a downward/forward motion along the edge of the tape. Continue filing off the extra material along all edges until the tape is totally flush with the shelf.

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Be cautious when filing at the ends; ours wasn’t quite glued down and we had to iron it again to reactivate the glue before proceeding. If it’s not glue down properly you could accidentally rip a chunk off and expose the fibreboard underneath, which would be difficult to disguise.

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Take the shelf out of the clamp and then proceed with installing shelf supports into your cabinet using these; you’ll need four supports per shelf. We got ours at Home Depot in a package of eight.

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We determined the height we wanted the shelf, put a line of green tape, then measured two holes equally from the front and back on each side.

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Before Hubs drilled the four pilot holes, he added some green tape to the drill bit to ensure he wouldn’t drill too deep (measure it against the shelf support pin).

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Hubs switched to a wider bit (to match the circumference of the shelf support pin) and drilled a left over piece of scrap board to make sure the shelf supports were going to fit properly into the hole:

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He tested it with a shelf support to make sure the fit was good:

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Apply some green tape to the new bit to mark the depth to drill (as you did with the pilot hole).

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Re-drill the pilot holes with the wider bit and insert a shelf support into each hole.

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Rest the left side of the shelf onto the shelf supports with the other end angled upward. Then slide the right side over the supports until it snaps in place. If the shelf is too tight to lower into place, you forgot to leave the 1/8″ clearance – that’s what gives it enough play to install it. You’ll have to shave a bit off and try again.

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There you have it – a new shelf! I can’t wait to show you the final reveal in my next post! Hint: this makeover is for the gals out there (and no, we didn’t turn this into a bar cart; that would be too expected)!

Until then, here are a few other storage ideas we’ve completed:

Sole Searching – A Shoe Storage Solution

Shoe Storage Solution 001_BOF

Ikea Stenstorp Kitchen Cart Hack


Hidden Kitchen Storage: Turn a Filler Panel into a Pull-Out Cabinet!

Before and After_FINAL BOF

The Making of a Craft Studio (Part III) – If You Build It, She Will Come!!

C_Life is better in the studio_FINAL

UPDATE: click here for the final tool cabinet makeover reveal!

Follow our blog here as Hubs and I continue to feather the nest… one room at a time. You can also follow us on PinterestFacebookYouTube and Instagram.

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4 thoughts on “Add a Melamine Shelf Inside a Cabinet for Storage

  1. Pingback: Tool Cabinet Makeover Reveal | Birdz of a Feather Home

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