Fix Broken Refrigerator Shelves (probably Works on Other Plastic Stuff Too…)




Introduction: Fix Broken Refrigerator Shelves (probably Works on Other Plastic Stuff Too…)

About: Don't worry about me.

After one too many slams of our fridge door (1,000 thanks to our resident 12 year old boy) two of the shelves in the door cracked in enough places that they were beginning to sag under the weight of the contents. Neither wanting to pay the $50+ replacement cost nor wanting to clutter up the landfill with more plastic, I set about repairing them.

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Step 1: Tools and Materials Needed

You will need:
-Zip ties (it's best to match the colour of the plastic for aesthetic reasons)

You will need:
-Some sort of rotary tool, a Dremel works very well
-A drill bit that corresponds to the size of your zip ties, I used an 1/8 twist bit
-A snipping tool. I like dog toenail clippers but scissors work well.

Step 2: Drill Stop Cracks

Begin by identifying where all of the cracks are as the first thing we are going to do is drill stop cracks. Depending on any and all fears of flying you may have, you may not wish to read the next sentence. Stop cracks are routinely used in aircraft structural maintenance. Cracks are very difficult to stop once they begin and the best method, other than replacement, is to drill a stop crack. So, find all of the cracks and drill a hole that begins just at the edge of the crack and extends past it.

Step 3: Drill Holes on Load Bearing Parts

Now, if the crack was through a piece of plastic that is load-bearing, you're going to need to support the crack with a zip tie. Drill a hole on each side of the crack about (about 6mm) away from the crack. You'll need to do this wherever you drilled a stop crack.

Step 4: Zip Tie Until You Drop!

After all of your stop cracks are drilled and you've drilled holes on either side of cracks through all load bearing parts, you're ready to get jiggy with zip ties.

Pass one end of the zip tie through one hole and then through the hole on the other side of the crack.

Step 5: Snippenzy Zip Ties

Marry up the ends of the zip tie and pull it almost all the way through. Take a moment to make sure the crack is lined up and then get the zip tie as tight as you can.

Be careful not to put your zip ties through a stop crack hole.

Now it's time to make little pieces of plastic fly across the room. Clip the free ends of the zip tie as closely as possible.

Step 6: Almost Done

When you're done putting zip ties through all of the supporting holes and clipping off the free ends, this is more or less what it will look like.

Step 7: Done

Ok that's basically it. Go ahead and put your shelves back in the fridge.

I did this repair about a week ago and the shelves are holding up fine. But, I have cheated a bit and I'm keeping relatively light items on those repaired shelves. I could probably put something heavier in there but I've got things I'd much rather be messing with than fridge shelves.

Speaking of which, stay tuned for the HALO Magnum pistol my son and I are making for his HALO costume. It's going to be absolutely riveting.

P.S. I'm not trying to win any contests so I'm not going to ask you to rate or anything. But, if you see something I could do better or if you find a step or two a little foggy, please let me know and I'll be happy to clarify or improve.

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    2 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I like the repair idea, knowing how these things break it's hard to fix them. Had you thought about a quick flame on the drill holes to smooth and toughen? I see these as the next obvious place for future mechanical failure. L


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't think about that but I will definitely give it a shot if the repair doesn't hold up. I plan on pulling the shelves out in a few weeks to see how the repair is doing. If there are cracks forming then, I'll do that.