How to Build a Custom Closet Part 1

What You'll Need
Measuring Tape
Dowel Pins
L Brackets
Circular Saw

This is a 3-part article on how to build a custom closet for your home. (To skip ahead to Part 2, click here.) Building custom closets involves creating compartmentalized storage areas to house different types of clothing items and other accessories that you wear. Building a custom closet can be easily accomplished by purchasing a custom closet system and installing it. However, this how-to article focuses on measuring, cutting and creating your own custom closet based on your design ideas.

To build the custom closets this part will focus on the design elements of the system. The next part of this 3-part article will discuss the materials and a making cuts, and the final part will focus on the installation of your custom closet system.

Step 1: Design the Custom Closet System

Beginning the process of building a custom closet system involves designing the system. You need to take the measurements necessary to determine where the various panels will be placed for your closet system and attached to the closet wall. Take a measuring tape and mark the distances for the closet system. This includes the positioning of the shelves for folded items and space for hanging clothing. Make marks on the wall where the panels will be attached.

In addition to creating a design template for your custom closets you need to create a stencil for the holes that will need to be drilled into the side boards for the dowel pins that will hold the closet shelves in place. Do this by taking several sheets of paper taped together and a pencil that represents the side board. Measure markings for the holes that need to be drilled into the side boards approximately 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch apart. Allow enough spacing in between the holes to make it easy to place the dowel pins in and drill the necessary holes.

Step 2: Purchase Materials for Closet System

With the design plan in hand you can calculate the amount and lengths of plywood needed for the side boards and shelving for your custom closet system. Take these measurements to a home improvement center or lumber yard to acquire the plywood needed for the job. Plywood is the easiest material to work with for this project because of its durability. Although plywood can be heavier than real wood, it will cost much less to acquire it as material for your closet, as oppose to purchasing wood.

You will also need a circular saw for making cuts into the plywood, as well as the other supplies listed in the tools and materials list provided above.

Step 3: Remove the Baseboards in the Closet

You will need to use the prybar to remove the baseboards from your closet. You will need to take out the baseboards and cut them to accommodate the installation of the side boards for the closet system. Pry the baseboards away from the wall carefully by inserting the pry bar into the top of the baseboard and pulling outward.