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Hack: How to Install Kitchen Shelf Liner in Cupboard

Quick & Easy

This post explains how to use shelf liner in your kitchen cupboards and drawers.

You might have experienced that there is some wear and tear on your shelves and drawers.

Especially in the kitchen where we deal with rough ceramic surfaces, all kinds of foods, and daily use, your shelves can get worn out, no matter how careful you are looking to keep them brand new.

Kitchen shelf liners are a great way to protect a shelf or drawer.

Why I chose Cork Shelf Liner for Dishes

There are all kinds of materials you can use to line your shelves.

If you want a clean and modern look, don’t opt for the traditional self-adhesive shelf liner or contact paper you can find in every household supplies store. Go for one of these ideas instead:


For this shelf with ceramic bowls and glasses, I chose a cork shelf liner.

This shelf is one of the ones with the most wear in my house!

The slightly rough raw ceramic surface on the bottom of dishes wears the shelves out more than any other material in the kitchen, and other than plates (where the bottom one usually stays in place), the bowls are moved around a lot.

Cork is sturdy but also soft which is great for the rougher bottom of the dishes and the daily wear and tear. It functions as a buffer and protects both, the shelf and dishes.

How to Install Kitchen Shelf Liner

An Easy Step-by-Step Guide How to Use Kitchen Shelf Liners

Installing shelf liner is pretty straightforward!

Make sure you have all supplies and enough shelf liner at hand before you start to make the process extra smooth.

Decide on the Material

Before you buy kitchen shelf liner, think of the best material for your shelves and drawers.

Don’t think of it only price-related or as a design element; also look at functionality: As described above, soft materials like cork or felt might be great for dishes, pans and pots, while plastic will be the best choice around food.

Choose one or two materials for your kitchen – a mix of too many materials won’t look great!

Preparation: Calculate How Much Liner You’ll Need

Before buying your shelf liner, make sure to measure all shelves and drawers you want to line and calculate the material needed.

It’s pretty easy to guess wrong on this and makes you either need to stop the project midway or have bought way too much. So take time for this extra step before you buy.

Step 1: Clean the Shelf

First, clean out the shelf completely.

Then, wipe off the shelf with warm water and a cloth.

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Hack: Use the Shelf as a Sizing Template

If you have removable shelves, that’s my pro hack: Instead of measuring the shelf, simply take it out. It will serve as the most accurate template you can get.

brainstorming workshop full group discussion - design thinking methods

Alternatively: Measure the Shelf

If you can’t take your shelves out easily and for the bottom of the cabinets, measure the shelf with a tape measure.

Step 2: Cut the Shelf Liner

Next, cut the kitchen shelf liner.

You’ll need a cutting mat, a cutter or rotary cutter, and a ruler (or anything else with a straight edge).

If you’re working with the shelf as a template, simply align it with the edges of the shelf liner and cut around it.

Otherwise, use a pencil to mark the size and a metal ruler to cut a straight line.

Step 3: Install Kitchen Shelf Liner

Next, install the shelf liner by lying it on the shelf.

In case some of the corners don’t fit, just correct the liner, even if the lines are not perfectly straight or square.

If you use stable material like cork or felt and there’s not a whole lot of movement, you’ll most likely not need to stick the liner to the shelf or drawer. Less is more here and you’ll thank yourself later.

But for thin paper or drawers where the liner moves annoyingly, some double-sided tape or reusable mounting putty in the corners will do the trick.

brainstorming workshop full group discussion - design thinking methods

That’s my new shelf.

brainstorming workshop full group discussion - design thinking methods

I love the cork look and definitely recommend that you go with a material you like the look of.

It makes opening the cupboard interesting again 😉

This Post showed you how to install kitchen shelf liner. I hope your cupboards look amazing now and are protected from the daily wear and tear!

What is a Shelf Liner?

Shelf liner, also known as shelf paper, is a tough material used to line shelves, cabinets, and drawers. It covers the entire surface and its main job is to protect surfaces from damage, stains, and scratches from daily use.

You can usually find kitchen shelf liner in plastic, rubber, or fabric – some are self-adhesive. But you can easily DIY your own ones on a budget, from leftover wallpaper or wrapping paper for example.