How To Build Closet Shelves: A Step-by-Step Guide

Building closet shelves is a great way to maximize storage space and keep your closet organized. Whether you’re looking to add more shelves to an existing closet or build a brand new one, there are a few key steps you’ll need to follow to ensure that your shelves are sturdy, level, and able to hold all of your clothing and accessories.

First, you’ll need to measure the space where you want to install the shelves. This will help you determine how many shelves you can fit and what size they need to be. It’s important to take accurate measurements, as any errors could result in shelves that are too big or too small for your space.

Next, you’ll need to choose the right materials for your shelves. There are a variety of options available, including wood, wire, and laminate. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to consider factors such as cost, durability, and appearance when making your choice. Once you’ve selected your materials, you can begin building your shelves using basic tools and hardware.

Planning and Preparation To Build a Custom Closet

When it comes to building closet shelves, proper planning and preparation are key to ensuring a successful project. This section will cover the essential steps to take before starting the construction process.

Measuring the Closet

The first step in building closet shelves is to accurately measure the space where the shelves will be installed. This includes measuring the width, depth, and height of the closet. It’s important to take into consideration any obstructions, such as light fixtures or vents, as well as the location of studs in the walls.

Choosing the Materials

Once the closet has been measured, it’s time to choose the materials for the shelves. Plywood and MDF are popular options for DIY closet shelves, as they are affordable and easy to work with. Shelf boards come in a variety of sizes and finishes, making it easy to find the perfect fit for your closet.

In addition to the shelf boards, you’ll also need wood screws, shelf brackets, and support for the shelves. Wood glue can also be used to reinforce the joints and increase the overall strength of the shelves.

It’s important to choose the right tools for the job as well. A stud finder, level, and drill are essential for finding the studs in the walls and ensuring that the shelves are level. A miter saw can also be useful for cutting the shelf boards to the correct size.

By taking the time to properly plan and prepare for the project, you can ensure that your DIY closet shelves will be strong, functional, and aesthetically pleasing.

Building the Shelves

Cutting the Shelves

The first step in building closet shelves is to cut the shelves to the desired size. This can be done using a track saw or a table saw. A track saw is a portable saw that can be used to make precise cuts on large pieces of wood. A table saw is a stationary saw that can be used to make straight cuts on smaller pieces of wood.

Once the wood has been cut to size, it’s important to sand the edges to remove any rough spots or splinters. This can be done using a sanding block or a power sander.

Installing the Shelves

After the shelves have been cut and sanded, it’s time to install them in the closet. This can be done using a jig to ensure that the shelves are level and evenly spaced.

First, mark the location of the shelves on the closet walls using painter’s tape. Then, attach the jig to the wall at the desired height and use it to guide the placement of the shelves.

To secure the shelves in place, use finish nails or brad nails to attach them to the closet walls. Make sure to use a level to ensure that the shelves are straight and even.

Assembling a DIY Closet Organizer

If you’re looking to create a complete closet organization system, you can also build your own DIY closet organizer. This can be done using poplar wood and other materials.

To assemble the organizer, start by building the frame using the same techniques used to build the shelves. Then, add additional components such as hanging rods, drawers, and cubbies as desired.

By following these steps, you can create custom closet shelves and organizers that are both functional and stylish.

Adding Finishing Touches

After building your own custom closet organizer, you’ll want to add the finishing touches to make it look polished and professional. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

Painting the Shelves

One of the easiest ways to give your closet shelves a finished look is to paint them. If you used unfinished wood for your shelves, sand them down first to create a smooth surface. Next, choose a paint color that complements the rest of your bedroom decor. White paint is a popular choice for closet shelves because it makes the space feel brighter and more open.

Before you start painting, make sure to cover the surrounding area with a drop cloth or newspaper to avoid getting paint on your floor or walls. Use a nail gun to remove the shelves from the closet and lay them flat on a work surface. Apply a coat of primer to the shelves, let it dry, and then apply two coats of paint. Don’t forget to paint the edges of the shelves as well for a professional look.

Installing Drawers or Cubbies

If you want to add even more storage to your closet, consider installing drawers or cubbies. This is a great way to keep smaller items organized and easily accessible. You can purchase pre-made drawers or cubbies that fit your closet dimensions, or you can build them yourself as part of your DIY shelving project.

To install drawers or cubbies, measure the space where you want them to go and mark the location with a pencil. Use a nail gun to attach the drawer or cubby to the shelf, making sure it is level. If you are installing multiple drawers or cubbies, use a level to ensure they are all aligned properly.

By following these tips, you can add the finishing touches to your custom closet organizer and create a functional and stylish storage space for your bedroom closet.


In conclusion, building closet shelves can be a great DIY project for anyone looking to maximize their closet space. Whether you have a small closet or a large one, adding shelves can help you organize your clothes, shoes, and accessories in a neat and tidy way.

When it comes to materials, melamine and laminate are both great options for closet shelves. They are durable, easy to clean, and come in a variety of colors and finishes to match your decor. Just make sure to measure your closet carefully before purchasing materials to ensure a perfect fit.

Using a tape measure is essential when building closet shelves. Accurate measurements will ensure that your shelves fit snugly into your closet and provide optimal storage space. It’s also important to take your time and follow the instructions carefully, especially if you are new to DIY projects.

Overall, building closet shelves can be a fun and rewarding project that will help you get organized and make the most of your closet space. With a little patience and attention to detail, anyone can create custom shelves that are both functional and stylish.

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