How to Build Wood Shelves in a Closet

Have you ever wanted to add some extra storage in your closet? Give yourself the gift of organization and tackle this do-it-yourself project – building wood shelves in a closet. From picking materials, measuring, cutting, assembling and mounting the shelf – we will walk you through each step on how to build wood shelves in a closet to show you how it’s done!

How to Build Wood Shelves in a Closet

Not only is this an easy weekend project that almost anyone can accomplish with just a few tools, but customizing your ideal shelves helps create order and make great use of available space. So grab those measuring tapes and let’s get started on transforming that cluttered closet into a luxurious one!

Why Build Wood Shelves in a Closet?

There are many different ways to create shelves in a closet, but building wood shelves has its own unique benefits. First and foremost, wood is strong and sturdy, making it perfect for storing heavy items. Additionally, wood can be easily cut and customized to fit any space perfectly. Not to mention the aesthetic appeal of natural wood adds a touch of warmth and elegance to any closet.

Moreover, wood shelves can be designed and built to fit your specific needs as opposed to store-bought shelves that may not always cater to your storage requirements. You also have the option of selecting a type of wood that fits your budget and the desired look for maximum satisfaction.

Materials Needed

Before starting on this project, make sure you have the necessary materials ready. These include:

  • Wood Boards (Such as 1×2 or 1×3 Pine)
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Saw (Hand Saw or Circular Saw)
  • Measuring Tape
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Safety Gear (Gloves, Safety Glasses)

11 Step-by-step Guidelines on How to Build Wood Shelves in a Closet

Step 1: Measure the Closet Space

Measure the Width and Depth of Your Closet Space

Firstly, measure the width and depth of your closet space. This will determine how long each shelf needs to be. This measurement will also help in determining how many shelves you can fit within your closet. It is recommended to leave at least 12-18 inches of space between each shelf for optimal storage.

You can also take this opportunity to declutter and reorganize your closet, getting rid of any unnecessary items. But be sure to leave enough space for the shelves and the items you plan to store.

Step 2: Purchase Wood Boards

Based on your measurements, purchase wood boards that are about an inch shorter than your closet width. Remember to also consider any additional support needed depending on the weight of items you plan to store. Pine is a popular choice due to its affordability and strong yet lightweight properties. Although, any type of wood can be used depending on your preference and budget.

Step 3: Cut the Wood Boards

Using a saw, cut the wood boards to the desired length. You will need two boards for each shelf – one for the front and one for the back. Make sure all cuts are straight and even. It is recommended to cut the backboard slightly shorter than the front one, creating a slight slope for better stability.

But this is optional. You can also customize the thickness of your shelves depending on how much weight they will need to support.

Step 4: Drill Pilot Holes

Use a drill and make pilot holes at both ends of the front, back, and sideboards. This will prevent the wood from splitting when screws are inserted. You can also use clamps to hold the boards in place while drilling. It is recommended to use at least three screws per joint for maximum stability.

It is also a good idea to pre-drill holes in the wall where you plan to mount the shelves. But this step can also be done after assembly. It is up to your preference.

Step 5: Assemble the Shelves

Assemble the Boards to Create Each Shelf

Using screws, assemble the boards to create each shelf. Make sure all edges are flush and lined up correctly. If you want extra reinforcement, you can use wood glue before screwing the boards together. But this is optional. You can also add decorative elements such as trim or paint to customize the shelves according to your preference.

Step 6: Sand the Shelves

Use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges and surfaces on the shelves. This will give them a polished look and prevent any splinters when handling the shelves. It is recommended to use a fine grit sandpaper for the best results. This is also a good time to paint or stain the shelves if desired. But be sure to let the paint or stain dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 7: Mount Brackets

Mount brackets onto the walls where you plan to install the shelves. These will provide extra support for your shelves and prevent them from sagging under heavy weight. Make sure to align them with the pilot holes previously drilled in step 4.

It is recommended to use at least two brackets per shelf for optimal support. It is important to make sure the brackets are level before drilling them into place.

Step 8: Place the Shelves

Place the shelves onto the brackets. Make sure they are level by using a level and adjust if needed. You can also secure the shelves to the brackets using screws for extra stability, but this step is optional.

You now have fully assembled shelves ready to be filled with your belongings! If you have multiple shelves, be sure to leave enough space between them for easy access. You can also add additional support brackets in the middle of longer shelves for added stability.

Step 9: Organize and Fill the Shelves

Start by Organizing Your Belongings in a Way

Start by organizing your belongings in a way that makes sense to you. You can use containers or dividers to further categorize items and make them easily accessible. Utilizing baskets or bins also helps maximize limited space. Be sure to leave some room for future use and avoid overloading the shelves. Otherwise, they may become unstable and unsafe.

Step 10: Admire Your Work

Step back and take in the sight of your newly built wood shelves. Marvel at how much cleaner, organized, and spacious your closet is now! You can also add finishing touches such as shelf liners or decorative items to enhance the overall look.

It’s your closet, so get creative! You can also use these same steps to build shelves in other areas of your home, such as a pantry or garage. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to add storage space wherever needed. You can even add doors or curtains to conceal the shelves for a neater appearance.

Step 11: Maintenance

To ensure your wood shelves last a long time, perform regular maintenance such as dusting and occasional polishing. Avoid placing heavy or wet items on the shelves to prevent sagging or warping. If you notice any damage or wear, repair it immediately to avoid further damage. But with proper care, your wood shelves should serve you well for years to come.

Following these simple steps on how to build wood shelves in a closet, you can easily build wood shelves in your closet and transform it into an organized and efficient storage space.

With the added benefit of saving money by doing it yourself, this is a project worth trying out for every homeowner. So go ahead and get started on building your own wood shelves today! So why wait? Start building your own wood shelves today and enjoy a more organized and spacious closet! Happy building!

Do You Need to Look for Professional Help?

Professional Help Would Be More Beneficial

Building wood shelves in a closet is a relatively simple and straightforward task that can be completed by most homeowners. However, there may be situations where seeking professional help would be more beneficial. If you have limited experience with woodworking, or if your closet has unique dimensions or structural issues, it may be best to consult a professional for guidance and assistance.

Additionally, if you are unsure about the safety of your shelves or if you have concerns about proper weight distribution, it is always better to seek help from an expert. Remember, your safety should always be a top priority when undertaking any DIY project. So evaluate your skills and assess the complexity of your closet before deciding whether to tackle the task on your own or seek professional help.


Use at Least Three Screws
  • Measure Your Closet Space Before Purchasing Wood Boards.
  • Use at Least Three Screws Per Joint for Maximum Stability.
  • Customize the Thickness of Shelves Depending on Weight Requirements.
  • Sand Shelves for a Smooth and Polished Finish.
  • Utilize Baskets or Bins to Maximize Limited Space. – Perform Regular Maintenance to Ensure the Longevity of Shelves.
  • Be Creative With Decorating Your Shelves to Enhance the Overall Look. – Use These Same Steps to Build Shelves in Other Areas of Your Home.
  • Take Extra Precautions When Drilling or Using Power Tools.
  • Avoid Overloading Shelves for Safety Reasons.
  • Repair Any Damage or Wear on Shelves Immediately. – Have Fun and Enjoy Your Newly Organized Closet! – Don’t Be Afraid to Make Adjustments as Needed. Every Closet and Space is Unique, So Tailor the Shelves to Fit Your Specific Needs. – Don’t Limit Yourself to Just Wood Shelves! You Can Also Use Other Materials Such as Metal or Wire for a Different Look and Feel. The Possibilities Are Endless!
  • And Most Importantly, Have Patience and Take Your Time During the Building Process. Good Things Take Time and Effort, but the End Result Will Be Worth It.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can I Use Different Wood Types for My Shelves?

A1: Yes, you can use any type of wood that is suitable for shelving. Popular choices include pine, oak, and plywood. You can also mix and match different woods for a unique look. Just make sure they are sturdy enough to support the weight of your belongings.

Q2: How Much Weight Can These Shelves Hold?

A2: The weight capacity of your shelves will depend on the thickness of the boards used and how they are assembled. As a general rule, thicker and more closely spaced shelves will have a higher weight capacity. It is important to consider the weight of your belongings and adjust the shelf thickness accordingly.

Q3: Do I Need Power Tools to Build These Shelves?

A3: While power tools can make the building process easier, they are not necessary. You can use a handsaw, hand drill, and other basic tools to complete this project. Just make sure to use caution and follow all safety precautions when using power tools.

Q4: Can I Add Doors or Curtains to My Shelves?

Customize Your Shelves by Adding Doors

A4: Yes, you can customize your shelves by adding doors or curtains for a neater appearance. You can also add labels or signs to easily identify the contents of each shelf. It’s your closet, so get creative and make it your own! – Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help. If You’re Not Comfortable With Building or Using Power Tools, It’s Always a Good Idea to Get Assistance From Someone More Experienced. Safety Comes First!


Crafting wooden shelves is a great way to get more storage space and spruce up your closet. Investing in the right tools, materials, and time can make the process smooth and achievable for anyone. To make sure you have the best chance of success, it’s wise to take measurements, map out your plan on paper, cut and sand pieces to size, mark drill locations, hang wall brackets as needed, assemble parts according to instructions on how to build wood shelves in a closet and design schematic and mount shelves securely.

With these tips in mind, you can be on your way to having an attractive wood shelf-clad closet in no time! Take on this project with confidence – even if you have never done it before – and remember that any helpful product or creative idea can help make your vision come alive. So take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves and go build that perfect closet storage solution!

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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