Instantly Update The Look Of Your Kitchen With DIY Shelf Liners

DIY Shelf and Drawer Liners

I don’t think I’ll ever understand how my kitchen drawers and shelves get so grimy. My kitchen cupboards and drawers are closed the majority of the time, but somehow all sorts of yucky stuff manages to sneak in during the brief periods that they are open. (It’s one of those unsolved household mysteries, much like the socks that go missing from the laundry.) But even if you’re a neat freak in the kitchen, your drawers and shelves might still be grimy due to a previous tenant or owner.

Regardless of how they got that way, today I’m sharing a simple project that will help you improve the look of your kitchen almost instantly – DIY shelf and drawer liners! These liners are quick and easy to make, but best of all, they are totally removable.

Related: Make Your Own Inexpensive And Easy-To-Clean Fridge Liners

DIY Shelf and Drawer Liners

Many traditional drawer and shelf liners are made using contact paper. It’s easy enough to apply, but nearly impossible to remove due to the super-sticky adhesive on the back. I wanted a less permanent solution, so I opted to use oilcloth for this project. Oilcloth liners are durable, easy to wipe clean, and can be easily removed at any time. They’re a perfect solution for renters, or anyone who would prefer not to deal with any sticky adhesives. Here’s how to make your own!

DIY Shelf and Drawer Liners

Oilcloth Drawer & Shelf Liners

You’ll need:

DIY Shelf and Drawer Liners


Step 1 – Measure

The first thing you’ll need to do is get the dimensions of every surface you’ll be making a liner for. So grab your trusty measuring tape and a notepad, and get measuring!

If you’re lining several shelves or drawers that are all the same size, consider making a template out of some spare paper. You can trace the template onto your cloth as many times as you need, and will probably save you some time.

DIY Shelf and Drawer Liners

Step 2 – Cut

Once you have your dimensions measured or your template made, you’re ready to cut! Use a ruler or other straight edge to make sure your lines are straight.

DIY Shelf and Drawer Liners

Step 3 – Place

When you’re done cutting, all that’s left to do is “install” your liners. Remove everything from the drawer or shelf and give it a good cleaning first, to make sure you’re not simply covering up any messes.

DIY Shelf and Drawer Liners

Place the liner into the drawer or onto the shelf. To help keep the oilcloth liner in place, I secured it with a few pieces of double-sided tape (one piece in each corner, and one in the center). The double-sided tape is tacky enough to keep the oilcloth from slipping and sliding around, but not sticky enough that it will leave behind any pesky adhesive residue. (And if the tape loses it’s stickiness over time, you can just pull it off and replace it with a new piece of tape.)

DIY Shelf and Drawer Liners

Replace the items in the drawer or on the shelf, and you’re done! Give yourself a pat on the back, and admire your handiwork!

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • Jillee I love this website, thank you so much. I use leftover wallpaper for liners; & no the prepasted has never spontaneously hydrated & stuck to the surface in 32 years. Sometimes random rolls can be found in the hardware/home improvement bins for $1 a roll. I don’t buy wrapping paper any more either. Any wall paper can be used for any holiday, any age, any gender. One roll lasts forever & everyone raves about the look. Just use the appropriate ribbon, cord, baling twine, etc., & decorating doodad from the dollar store, or your stash of odds & ends. & no the prepasted has never spontaneously hydrated & stuck to the surface. You can go to to fold & glue a sheet of paper or the oil cloth into your own custom-made gift bag. Most wallpaper is vinylized also, & very stiff so it stays flat on it’s own. You might find leftover wallpaper for free on Craigslist, or call the local paperhangers & see if they could hang on to unused/partial rolls for you to pick up.

  • So glad my kitchen is now in style. We put oil cloth on kitchen shelves when I was a young girl at home. It’s easy to change and easy to wipe off.

  • UPDATE: We have finished all the kitchen cabinets and drawers in my kitchen with oilcloth and we are LOVING it! I bought mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon. I needed an entire bolt which came 47″ wide by 15 yards.

    The double sided tape did not work well for us. We used a 20 oz. bottle “Roman” brand WALLPAPER & BORDER ADHESIVE ($6.98) found at Lowes and it worked great. We did not need to apply the paste to the entire back of the oilcloth, just in the corners and a few spots as you suggested with the double sided tape.

    Thanks Jillie, what a fabulous idea.

  • Hi! I love this idea for liners but I have another situation. My desk at work has fabric on the sides that has gotton horribly stained! S ince it is a new job and office and they cannot afford a new desk I wa going to cover the fabric sides with contact paper until I saw your idea for oilcloth. Any ideas on how to make it stick to stained fabric without looking tacky?

  • I lined all the drawers, shelves and cabinet floors in our house with plastic tablecloth fabric from Joann’s. For some reason, I couldn’t fine it just now on their online site but I bought more in the store not two months ago. It’s 54 or 56 inches wide and is a pretty lace-like pattern. $9-10 a yard? And of course with your coupon it’s even more reasonable. It cleans up by hand or when really dirty I pop it into the washing machine on gentle/cold and dry it on tumble only.

    I haven’t used shelf liner or contact paper in years. By the square foot, it seemed to work out about the same price as organza bridal fabric.

  • Great idea Jill that I am going to use. Now, who can figure out how much oil cloth I will need from my measurements (alot)?

    Also, what approx. price did you pay for the oil cloth? I’ve seen it ranging from a low of 4.99 up to 17.99 a yard. Did you buy it online?

    • It’s an enameled cloth that used to be made by covering linen cloth with linseed oil. The manufacturing process has changed, but it’s still a strong, durable fabric that makes great shelf liners! :-)

  • The last time I bought the contact paper, about two years ago, it was NOT sticky bathed a backing that kept it from sliding!!! Works great. The part that I liked better is that I did not need to cut out the dimensions but just the length or the width as it the width off the roll worked well.. I did not compare price to oilcloth. Does oilcloth still have the distinctive odor that it had when we used it to cover books for school?

  • Nifty idea, especially if you have any leftover oilcloth. I’ve also used leftover wallpaper to line drawers. IKEA does rolls of clear plastic liner that is slightly tacky, and this keeps everything in place, like knives/utensils, crockery, pots/pans, when you open and close the drawers. The larger items stay quiet as they don’t slide around and knock into each other.

  • I love your blog–so many great ideas! I look forward to reading it every day. I have used my rotary cutter to cut shelf liners to get it perfectly straight with great looking edges. I measure the shelf and then take it to my cutting mat to cut it! Also, it leaves little waste.

  • Do you know if it’s possible to add your own designs to the oilcloth? I saw the black polka-dotted oilcloth, but didn’t click on it; maybe that has the blue kind? The colors I’ve chosen for the kitchen in the ‘Forever Home’ we just bought (and move into this week, SO excited!) are a pale, buttery-sunshine yellow, with sage and red for small pops of color, and would like to use one of the them for the shelf-liners. I figured I would ask the lady whose name I know I can trust when it comes to my kitchen DIYs! Any advice you can give I would be most appreciated!

    Thank you for ALL of the great things you’ve already taught me; I’ll finally be able to implement so much more with this move!
    ~k8 Johnson~

    • You can make oilcloth. You need to do it outside on a still day. Stretch out your cloth, and “paint” linseed oil on it so it soaks through. (It is rather messy). Let this dry completely. Now you have oilcloth. Use as needed. Yes, I’ve made it and was really pleased with the end product.

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