Introduction: Modular Shelving to Wine Rack Conversion

About: I'm a 49 year old Systems Architect living in the Midwestern United States. After travelling the world for 20 years as a consulting architect I became disabled, as a result, I am now embracing a Slow life. F…

As a wine lover, I kept a collection of between 150 and 200 bottles of wine. As one can imagine, this required a great deal of wine rack space that I created under my kitchen counter using modular wine racks. Due to changes in my health, I am no longer able to enjoy my vino the way I once did, and so these racks have become unused.

In the meantime, my family has grown and so has our mutual love of cooking. So much so that we need more shelf space for bowls, platters, gadgets, etc... We faced a choice, either get rid of the wine racks and build/purchase more modular shelving, or convert what we have. Ever on the lookout for a good Instructable, we chose the latter.

To complete this project, one should have:

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Step 1: Make Some Room

By removing some of the pegs and supports, room for items larger than wine bottles is made available. Because of the way the racks we have are constructed, this is a simple matter of just pulling them out. Notice that we left the supports in the back in place to maximize shelf stability and prevent items from sliding out the back. The cost, however, of removing these items is a reduction in lateral stability. The front of the remaining shelves will also flex for spaces larger than one bottle. In order to overcome this, in the next step we will add some support.

Step 2: Measure and Cut Polycarbonate Sheet

The next step is to cut our polycarbonate sheet to match the dimensions of our rack. Measure the width from the inside of the rack and test fit for width before cutting for length. Once sure the width is correct (it just fits without binding up) then measure and cut for length. Note that the length is measured from the centerline of the outside pegs. Why this is done will be apparent when the shelves are fastened to the rack.

Be sure to use a laminate blade in whichever saw you choose to use. I used a table saw, with a laminate blade I picked up from a local hardware store. This will ensure clean, safe, square cuts.

Step 3: Drill Holes

Once the the shelves are cut and fit (as pictured), it is time to drill some holes so that we can fasten our shelves to the rack. Using the rack as a guide, we mark one hole in each corner, and two for each peg in the middle. Note from the picture that these holes don't have to be perfect, it is enough that they are close and that the diameter of the drill bit is slightly larger than the zip ties. In this case the bit used was 3/16"

It might be tempting to use acrylic sheets instead of polycarbonate (acrylic is cheaper), however, acrylic is tougher to work with. When drilling holes near edges and corners, it has a tendency to crack if one isn't careful. Polycarbonate is much more forgiving and sturdy.

Step 4: Zip Tie Time

Now it is just a simple matter of zip tying the shelf to the rack pegs using the holes we drilled. Once you have the zip tie cinched down tight, trim the end for a cleaner look. Only one hole was drilled on the ends since the shelf only extends to the center of the peg. Where the shelf straddles the peg, two holes were used.

Step 5: Finished Modular Shelving

Now it is a simple matter of loading up the shelves. The polycarbonate provides some additional lateral stability. However, if more than one shelf unit is created, they can be zip tied together at the corners to provide an extra bit of sturdiness.