See how to make DIY closet shelves that look beautiful, are inexpensive to make, and are easy to build.
Organizing closets can go such a long way to keep the storage space in your home functional. A closet without good shelving can instead add to the chaos instead of relieving it. This makes the perfect DIY Woodworking Project for any experience level.
DIY Closet Shelves
When researching closet shelving systems, not only can the options be overwhelming, but the price can be straightup daunting.
Especially if you’re looking to organize a closet that no one will ever see inside.
If it’s a closet purely for function and organizing clutter or mess, then why spend hundreds of dollars on shelving for it.
These DIY closet shelves are simple. I mean seriously simple. But, here’s the kicker, they look great! And, they won’t break the bank. Win, win.
What you need to make the DIY shelves:
- 3/4″ MDF board cut to the width and depth of your shelves
- 1″ x 1″ wooden square dowels (2 pieces per shelf, cut to the shelf depth)
- 1″ x 2″ cut to length per shelf
- miter saw or circular saw
- nail gun
Build the custom closet shelves
Wait until you see how easy this process really is. Once you get the shelving up, it’s functional and ready to use, but adding the extra stained facade on the front really makes these shelves pop and gives them a really custom look.
Bonus – add peel and stick wallpaper behind your shelving to really add to the space!
Make your cut list
Begin by cleaning out at measuring your closet. Figure out the width and depth of each shelf, how many shelves you will need, and how far apart they will be in height.
For this small hall closet, I am just building 2 shelves along the back wall at 3′ wide and 1′ deep.
So, for my plan, I need to cut:
- (2) 3/4″ MDF shelves at 1′ x 3′
- (4) 1″ x 1″ dowels at 1′ length
- (2) 3′ pieces of 1″ x 2″
Assemble the shelving
To build the DIY closet shelves, you are going to use the dowels as brackets or braces to hold up the shelf.
Measure the height of your first shelf from the floor, place your bracket again the wall on that line and level.
Using the nail gun, nail this into place until it feels secure.
Repeat this on the opposite side, measuring and leveling to double check your height before nailing in. (sometimes floors and walls aren’t completely level so just measuring might not always work – use your level to double check!)
Once the brackets are nailed in on both sides, place the cut MDF shelf on them, and double check the shelf with the level.
Continue this process until you have installed all of your shelves.
This is actually the same process that we used to create custom living room built ins with stock cabinet bases too!
Add the finishing custom touches
Your shelves are built and 100% functional, but, why not make them look extra pretty?
Stain the 1″ x 2″ pieces and attach them to the front of the shelves with wood glue and the nail gun.
Notice in the image below the difference this makes!
The stain that I used was Minwax Early American.
Then caulk all of the edges of the shelf where the wood meets the wall. I like to do the sides and the back wall on the top of the shelf for sure. You can choose to do around the bottom of the shelf too but it isn’t necessary.
- use a caulk gun to place a bead of caulk along the edge where the wood meets the wall
- spread the caulk with a wet finger until smooth
- wipe with a towel
At this point, your shelves are complete and beautiful! What a simple way to create beautiful and functional DIY closet shelves.
You can follow this same method with any size closet, however, if your closet is longer than 3-4′ you might want to add an additional brace made out of 1″x2″ along the back wall under the shelf for extra support.
This is a great beginner woodworking project, happy building!