DIY Custom Master Closet: Part 2, The Build

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Hey! I’m here. Life has been a bit crazy and I’ve been busy plugging away on my master closet. BUT I’m getting close to the end so I wanted to hop on here and try to start explaining my process.

After I ripped out all of the carpet in here, I had to also take down all the existing shelves and rods. (You’ll notice in my photos though that I actually did this part as I went, so that I wouldn’t have to haul everything out of there all at once and pile it in my bedroom.) This wasn’t too difficult…everything was just nailed in. I took a hammer to pry off the top and then used a flathead screwdriver and hammer to pry off the rest of the support boards. I removed any remaining nails in the wall with my vice grips and then patched up all the holes with some spackle. To save time and money, I wasn’t going to put a back on my built-ins, thus the need to patch the walls. You’ll notice I didn’t worry about some of the side walls, as I knew my built-ins would cover them.

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

After the spackle was all dry, I gave it a quick sanding with my corner cat and then applied some orange peel texture to match the existing texture. This stuff is pretty easy to use. Just spray it on and wait for it to dry! It does take quite a bit though. I think I used about 3 cans just to cover the small areas of this room.

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

I then got to work on building my cabinet bases. I did this the same way I’ve done before on my media center built-ins. I used 2x4s and screwed them together with braces every 2 feet or so. This would lift my built-ins up off of the floor a bit and give me a nice finished looking base later. You can see some of the scrap wood pieces in the corners just to make sure I was making my bases deep enough that my cabinets would completely cover the rounded corners of the existing walls. 

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Then it was time to start building the cabinets. I ended up using 12 4×8′ sheets 3/4″ pine plywood from Home Depot. I usually get all of my wood from Lowe’s, as it’s the closest store to my house, but on the day I was getting my supplies their saw was broken. I have a table saw at home but the 4×8 foot sheets of 3/4 inch plywood are close to 100 pounds each. There was no way I would have been able to maneuver them onto my tiny table saw without having them ripped down at least a little bit first. This was actually a blessing in disguise though, as it forced me to go over to Home Depot to see what they had, and they had SUCH a better selection and for cheaper prices as well. The pine plywood I bought was $30 per sheet and was SO nice and smooth on BOTH sides. To get plywood as nice at Lowe’s would have been closer to $50 a sheet. The nice people at Home Depot graciously cut down all 12 sheets for me.

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Below is only, like, half of all the plywood I bought. It was a lot.

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

After getting all of my plywood home, I further ripped down the boards and then cut them to length. The cabinets on 3 walls of my closet are about 14″ deep, and the far back wall sits a bit deeper at about 21″. I basically began by making a big box and nailing everything together with my nail gun. The most important part is to make sure both side pieces are the exact same length so that the box remains square. I decided to put in a fixed middle shelf to help stabilize everything, so I measured how far up I wanted it and marked where to nail it in on both sides of my box.

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

To further support everything and keep it as square as possible, I used some of my scrap plywood pieces and nailed them in under the top and middle shelves and above the bottom shelf. This also gave me something to put a few screws into to hold the whole thing to the wall. I had my husband help me to lift the boxes onto my bases and then I screwed the whole thing into studs using 3″ screws.

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

The room isn’t big enough for me to get a nice wide angle shot with the lens I have, but here is a (horrible) panoramic picture I took on my phone to give you more of an idea of the entry to the closet. That door leads to the bathroom which then leads to my master bedroom. The one window in the closet is to the left of this picture.

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

The back wall I did a little differently since it is so long. Instead of building it as one big piece, I built the two side cabinet boxes first, and then added the middle pieces by using support brackets made of scrap plywood. All those pieces were screwed into the studs as well.

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

The final part was the little vanity area. I used plywood for this as well, and braced it with more scrap wood at the top and also eventually at the bottom (though the picture below is before I added that piece). It seems pretty solid.

Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!
Building a DIY custom closet system in my walk-in master closet!

Alright, now that the hard part is over I’m going to stop here, but my next post will be all about how I finished off those raw plywood edges, installed adjustable shelving and added some crown and baseboard to my cabinets!

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