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Video:How to Build Closet Shelves

with Debbie Anderson

Want to learn how to build closet shelves by yourself? Here, see helpful step-by-step instructions.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Build Closet Shelves

Hi! I'm Debbie Anderson for About.com. Adding closet shelves to your closet, doesn't have to be difficult. So today, I'm going to show you a quick and easy way to add closet shelves in just a few simple steps!

Supplies Needed to Build Closet Shelves

For this project, you will need:

  • a measuring tape
  • a stud finder
  • a power drill with a Phillip's Head Screw Bit
  • a 5/64" drill bit
  • a level
  • a pencil
  • 1" thick wood cleats that are cut to length, which can be done at your local home improvement store
  • 1" thick wood shelf board that is cut to the correct length for your project
  • 3" wood screws
  • and 1 1/2" wood screws

Instructions for Building Closet Shelves

First, measure and mark the wall with a number two pencil at the height where you want each shelf to go in your closet.When measuring the height for each shelf, measure along both the back wall and then also around to the intersecting side walls.Next, use a stud finder to locate the wood studs in the wall where you want to mount each shelf. Make a small mark over the height measurement mark on the wall where each stud is located behind the wall.

Additional Instructions for Building Closet Shelves

Next, use your measuring tape to measure the length and the width needed for each closet shelf and for the cleats. Then, hold the longer cleat up against the back wall so that the top edge of the cleat is level with the height marks made on the wall. Place the level on top of the cleat to make sure that the cleat is level and adjust the cleat until the level bubble is in the center.

More Steps for Building Closet Shelves

Next, while pressing the board firmly against the wall, remove the level and draw a long and straight horizontal line across the back wall with your pencil while using the top of the board as a guide. Repeat this process on the side walls where the shelf needs support.

Next, for the longer cleat that mounts to the back wall, transfer the measurements for where each stud is located on the back wall onto the board being used as the longer support cleat for the back wall. Create two pilot hole marks that are approximately an inch and a half apart at each wall stud location on the longer cleat board. Use your power drill and a 5/64" drill bit to carefully drill pilot holes all the way through the cleat at each of the marks on the longer cleat board.

Next, measure and mark two evenly spaced pilot hole marks that are approximately one inch in from each of the ends for each of the shorter sidewall cleat boards.Use your drill and a 5/64" drill bit to carefully drill pilot holes all the way through the cleat at each of the marks on the shorter cleat boards. Next, along one of the longer edges of each closet shelf, measure and mark the surface of each shelf board at approximately a half an inch in from the edge of the board, to create two pilot hole marks near the center of the board for securing the back of each closet shelf to the cleat below it. Use your drill and a 5/64" drill bit to carefully drill pilot holes all the way through each of the marks made on the shelf board.

Next, line up the longer cleat board so that the top of the longest edge of the board is even with the horizontal line drawn on the wall at the height for each closet shelf. Use 3" wood screws and a power drill with a Phillip's Head screwdriver bit to secure the cleat to the wall at each of the pilot holes. Then, line up the shorter cleats with the horizontal lines on the sidewalls and secure each of the shorter cleats to the sidewalls with 3" wood screws. Next, align the pilot hole drilled edge of each closet shelf with the top of the longer cleat that is mounted on the wall as you lay the shelf on top of the cleats. Secure the wall side of each closet shelf to the cleat beneath it by using your power drill to screw in a 1-1/2" wood screw at each of the pilot holes located on the wall side of each closet shelf.Finally, place your contents on the closet shelf.

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