Last Chance: Cheap Shelf Salvage

Have you ever bought one of those cheap melamine style shelving units with the cardboard back.  The back usually lasts until you put something inside that presses up against the backing ever so slightly.  The result is that the finishing nails pop off like you karate kicked the back off.  I hate it when that happens.  As soon as the back pops off, a predictable string of events is set into motion. You know how that works, first the back pops off and then the unit gradually begins to tilt and sit off kilter like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We had originally bought this for the bathroom in our former house and it worked fine. However, it did not work so well for storing our board games.  You know push in the game, push-off the back.  I got tired of the “look” and was actually afraid it might tip because it would literally “sway” when you opened it. I decided to do something about it.

We are in the midst of a very long basement reno and have lots of old wood from the tear apart in the basement.  Much of it will need to go to the dump eventually, but I am so into salvage and re-purposing, I have been trying to reuse as much of it as I can.  I found this old piece of thin plywood in the pile and thought I could use it to replace the existing cardboard backing.

Steps to Replacing the Back

  • Measured the old back and cut the plywood to size
  • Found some fabric in my stash to cover the interior and edges of the board
  • Screwed the back on, through the fabric, in all four corners
  • Pulled the fabric tightly across the back to get out the creases, folded it over the back to create a nice fabric covered edge, and stapled it in place

After Shots:

The print is a gingham in a light beige and off white, so it is does not provide much impact. There are glass doors on the cabinet and once filled, the fabric backing won’t really be that noticeable.  Mostly, the heavier backing helps to give the unit more stability and the fabric backing gives it a clean fresh look. I think we’ll move it up to the kid’s bathroom for some extra storage. (I keep adding and changing things upstairs in hopes that they might actually stop using the main floor bathroom, but it is yet to work.  The extra storage is not so much a necessity, but more so another ploy to get my daughter showering and pampering herself upstairs instead of in our space.  Wish me luck!)


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