DIYdiy projects

diy project: decorative and utilitarian shelf edging

by Haylie Waring

Simple shelf-edging can be a great disguise for unattractive shelving units or it can transform your kitchen and library shelves by creating a more uniform look. Here I have alternated a decorative traditional fabric-edging with a  utilitarian cork edge in the kitchen- a great spot for tacking up grocery lists and recipes… I have also included a quick tip on making cute tiny tacks for your cork edging! –haylie

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

Materials & Tools:

To Make Patterns/ Templates You Will Need:

-small round object (e.g. lid to baby food jar or spice container- depends on size of scallops)
-paper scissors

To Make Fabric Edging:

-fabric of your choice (approx. 1/2 YD per 4- 44″ shelves)
-sewing machine
-scissors (use sharp fabric scissors for precise cutting)
-straight pins
-measuring tape
straight edge ruler

To Make Cork Edging:
-cork roll (depending on shelf size, this ikea shelving required a 5″ x 44″ piece per shelf- can be found in 48″ rolls at office supply stores)
-chalk or marker
-double sided adhesive tape- extra strong bond

To Make Tiny Tacks:
-acrylic paint
-basic applique pins


To Make Template:

1. Measure the height of your shelf edge. The Ikea shelving pictured here measured 1 3/4″, and I added 1″ for the scallop/ pennant overhang. The pattern should measure 2 3/4″ high (overhang may very according to the height of your shelving edge, and personal preference).
2. From a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper, i cut two 2 3/4″ strips from the length of the paper, then accordion folded one strip in 2 1/2″ increments and the other in 1 1/4″ increments.
3. While still folded mark your templates 1 3/4″ down from the top, below this line you will form the scallop or pennant point. For a scallop, use a small container lid to trace a semi-circular shape, centering the shape below the line you have marked previously. For a pennant shape, find the center at the bottom edge of the folded piece. Now, using a straight edge draw a line from the center point to the two outer points marked previously.
4. Cut using paper scissors along the semi-circular edge and the pennant shape. Unfold your template and you should have a repeating scalloped/ pennant image.
5. Use these templates to hang on shelving to help you visualize your final product so that you can make changes if necessary.

To Make Fabric Decorative Edge:

1. Measure and cut two strips of fabric, for this particular shelving edge I cut one piece 4″ x 44″ (depending on shelf size) and one piece 3″ x 44″ (2 3/4″ plus 1/4″ for seam allowance). Place the larger piece to the side, the smaller piece will require ironing.

2. Using the iron, make an accordion pleat in the fabric strip, again at 2 1/2″ increments. After pleating all 44″ you should have a small rectangular piece, neatly pressed.
3. Use scalloped template, folded, and trace the rounded end, remember to place template at bottom edge before tracing (leaving 1/4″ at top)

4. Using good fabric scissors and holding pleated fabric firmly in hand, cut along traced edge.
5. Unfold your fabric scallops, and apply a small amount of fray-check to the rounded edges

6. Now iron this strip flat again, smoothing out all pleat creases
7. Taking both 4″ strip and scalloped strip, piece together two pieces with straight edges together and right sides facing. Secure with straight pins.
8. Using a straight stitch, sew pieces together with a 1/4″ inseam. The two pieces sewn together will form a crisp right angle on the edge of the shelf.

9. Iron seam flat, then fold scallops over and iron flat again, creating a crisp sewn edge.
10. Using a double sided adhesive, apply to shelves under shelf end of edging. Slowly attach fabric, smoothing out wrinkles as you go.
Extra Tip: Because in the kitchen I don’t want the shelves lined with fabric, I only used a 4″ top strip- in a library or bedroom you could extend this piece to fit the entire shelf. In a kitchen setting, I would use a shelf liner to overlap this top strip- I have used the rolled cork, cut to size to fit my shelving.

To Make the Cork Utilitarian Edge:

1. Measure and cut two strips from a roll of cork using a t-square. One- 1 3/4″ x 44″ and one- 2 3/4 x 44″. The smaller piece can be applied directly to shelf edge using double sided adhesive tape (preferably extra strength) this first strip is for extra thickness for a tack to penetrate.

2. Trace template onto the  larger strip, moving template along the 44″ as you go.

3. Cut out pennant edge carefully using scissors.

4. Again, using double sided tape, attach second strip on top of smaller strip, lining up top edges to be flush.

Tiny Tacks:

Using acrylic paint and plain appliqué pins, simply dip the head of each pin into paint, and then leave to dry- may require tweezers for easy handling!

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