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DIY Entry Closet Shelves - how to make closet shelves from plywood

I recently had my fill with out disorganized front entry closet. The closet never got used. Don’t get me wrong – it was full of STUFF. But, we never used the closet because the STUFF was just all piled in there.

It was extremely difficult to find anything. Things fell to the floor and were not seen again for months. It just wasn’t working.

One weekend I reached my breaking point. I pulled EVERYTHING out of the closet and headed to my local home improvement store to grab some plywood.

Navy blue closet cube shelving

Seriously. All you need to make your own custom closet shelving system is:

  • 3/4-inch plywood
  • 1 x 4 boards
  • a level, measuring tape, pencil
  • stud finder
  • circular saw
  • electric drill and 2-inch construction screws
  • nail gun + wood glue

MY new DIY Entry Closet Shelves

These shelves were SO easy to install. You can easily finish a project like this in a weekend. The hardest part is waiting for the paint to dry on your boards.

Adding a bottom storage shelf with a cleat

Instead of adding cube storage all the way to the floor in the right -hand side of my closet, I opted to create large open shelves at the bottom of the closet.

This really helps keep things from piling in a jumbled heap of the closet floor.

adding a cleat board for closet shelves

Using my stud-finder, I screwed a 1×4 board (a cleat) into the wall, about 9-inches from the floor. Be sure to add smaller cleat boards on both side walls as well.

Then I cut a shelf from my 3/4-inch plywood.

adding a shelf to the bottom of a coat closet

Side Note: You’ll notice that my shelf didn’t extend all the way to the wall on the right-hand side. This is because there was an existing cleat board for the top shelf in the closet. By placing two 1×4 boards on that right wall, I was able to have the new cube storage (in the next step) be flush against the boards and extend all the way to the top shelf.

support board on the side of custom closet cubes made from plywood

Next, I added two squares of 3/4-inch plywood to form the sides of my bottom shelf. Then I topped my bottom shelf with another board. This gave the illusion of a large “cube” at the bottom of my closet.

Adding a shelf in the bottom of a hall closet

About the paint: I gave each board two coats of primer and two coats of paint before I installed them. I highly recommend painting your boards before you install them. Otherwise you’ll have a very difficult time painting in a tight space with lots of nooks and crannies. Not fun.

Note: I also added a small board in the center of both shelves. This is to keep those shelves from bowing.

I secured everything together with wood glue and a nail gun.

Adding Cube Storage on One Side

Next, I built a free-standing 4-cube storage organizer to add to the right side of the closet.

I knew I wanted my cube organizer to extend all the way from my new bottom shelf to the existing top shelf.

I measured my 3/4-inch plywood to make a large rectangular box. It was just assembled with wood glue and my nail gun. Super basic.

Before I added the shelves, I set the box inside the closet to make sure everything fit.

DIY closet shelves and cubes from plywood

Then I took the box back out to paint and add shelves with my nail gun.

Once the cube organizer was finished, I put it back into the closet and screwed it into the stud on the back wall. So… even though it looks like my cube organizer is sitting on that bottom shelf, it is really secured to the stud in that back wall with 4 screws.

The Finished Closet Shelving

To finish everything off, I added a panel of bead board to the back wall of the closet. It was leftover from another project, so why not?

navy blue DIY entry closet shelves

My paint colors:

organized coat closet
organized entry closet with DIY plywood sheles and cubes
Organized coat closet with DIY cube shelves

One Comment

  1. Hi! The closet looks absolutely beautiful! Do you know what the dimensions are for the closet? I’m desperate to do something similar to the closet in my boys’ room, but it is TINY!!

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