And thanks to handy Husband Justin, I now have my very own custom closet. As part of our Master Suite Remodel, we moved our closet and built a custom closet system to best maximize our space and get the most out of it's size. And now it's done!
Who out there wants to know how to build their own custom closet? We're going to give you a general overview of how to build a custom closet system. If you want an excellent and in-depth tutorial, we'd recommend this tutorial from The DIY network.
Step 1: Design your space!
I started by designing the space. I sketched out a few different ideas on how we could get all our my stuff into a small-ish walk in closet, and this is where we landed.
Step 2: Build your closet system's frame
Using MDF for the side panels, Justin put together the frame of the bookcase. He glued and nailed the top/bottom of the closet system to the sides using wood glue and 1-1/4" brad nails. These nails are to hold the pieces together until you put the actual screws in place.
Then, to prevent the material from splitting, pre-drill holes using a countersink drill bit (this can be used on a regular drill). Then after the holes have been pre-drilled, screw the pieces together using 2" coarse thread drywall screws.
Step 3: Attach your closet system's Face Frame
Next step is putting the face frame on the closet system. For this we used select pine. We secured this into place using wood glue and 1-1/4" brand nails - but no screws!
Next, it's time to go around and fill in all of the nail & screw holes. Instead of using wood filler, we use Bondo body filler + cream hardener. This is a little trade secret because it fills the holes and gaps nicely and does not shrink or crack like wood filler does. But move quickly, because this stuff dries fast!
After the filler has dried, sand with 100 grit sandpaper using your orbital sander.
Step 4: Build your shelves
While we let the Bondo filler dry, Justin went on to building the shelves using MDF for the shelves and select pine for the facing on the front edge of the shelf. Secure the pieces using wood glue, then nail together using 2" finish nails (and your finish nailer). Then apply the Bondo + Cream mixed filler, just like you did on the frame's facing, and let dry.
The next step for our closet system was to drill all the little holes in the side so my shelves are adjustable.
To easily achieve perfectly spaced holes, Justin made a "guide" using a spare piece of plywood, measuring out the exact spacing for each hole at 1 inch. He was then able to tape the guide to the frame of the closet system (2 inches from the front edge) and put in all the holes very quickly using an Adjustable Shelf Bit which we found at Rockler.
Then Justin installed the shelves and the closet shelf & rod brackets.
Step 5: Attach back of Closet System, affix to walls and add trim
Next up is attaching the back of the Closet System. Because our Home Depot didn't carry 1/4" MDF, we used 1/4" plywood for the back of the bookcase. The MDF is a little better because it doesn't warp over time, but because this will be pretty well secured (using a staple gun), we weren't too concerned.
For the true "built-in" look, it looks best to have a back on the shelving unit parts of your closet system vs. leaving it open to the wall. Having a back on your shelving built-ins also helps to hold everything together and makes a sturdier piece.
Lastly, put the bookcase in place and secure to the wall using 3" screws along the top piece into the wall studs. We added trim to the top & bottom of the shelving unit parts of the closet system to help make it look a little fancier.
Step 6: Paint your closet system and style!
We put on two coats of white primer and one coat of xx paint using our paint sprayer. Rolling paint on with a smooth roller would work fine too.
And then it was time to get all my clothes in there and start organizing. I've got a TON of clothes and they all fit in there really nicely.
So while the square footage of this new closet is the same as our old, it's designed much more efficiently and we have so much more room for our things.
And later this week, we'll share how Justin DIY'ed that built-in dresser. Awesome, right?
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