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  • Writer's pictureBrian McKinnon

DIY Closet Shelves

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

While I was visiting family in Georgia, my brother asked me to build some basic shelves for him and his wife in their 5x3 ft kitchen storage closet. They wanted simple but nice looking shelves. Here is what I came up with! There is a video at the bottom of the process.

Materials Used:

1" x 12" x 8' pre primed pine (x2)

1" x 2" x 8' pre primed MDF (x3)

Everbilt Magnum brackets (x10)

Alex Flex caulk (x1)

2" Interior screws

182" Interior screws

1.5" Brad nails

Heavy duty drywall anchors

Tools required:


Drill bits

Phillip's head screw driver

Brad nailer (optional)

Miter saw (optional but recommended)

Hand saw (if not using miter saw)


Draw a level line around the closet at the height you want the shelves to be. This will help you keep everything even as you go. If you're installing multiple rows, be sure to take the bracket height into account when spacing them.


Mark the location of the studs along the shelf height lines. The brackets here come with three screw holes to attach to the wall, and ideally you'll want at least two of them to hit the stud. This is especially true if you're planning on using them for heavy objects such as kitchen appliances. You can get by with drywall anchors here, but make sure they are high quality with a high pound rating.


Cut 3-4 inch strips of 1x2 to use as blocking. Attach blocking in the corners for support and to hold shelves during installation. Make sure to hit the studs here, or use drywall anchors if that isn't possible.


Measure and cut the shelf that will be against the doorframe. Cut the side against the doorframe at a 45 degree angle to make it easier to get in and out of the closet. Nothing is worse than clipping your hip against a shelf corner every time you need to grab something from the closet. While there are a few acceptable materials that we could have used for the shelves, we opted for real wood here. MDF could be a viable choice, but is more susceptible to chipping and sagging over time.


Place brackets flush against the wall and the shelf at the location of the studs. Mark the holes in the bracket against the wall. Remove the bracket and drill pilot holes in these locations. Secure the brackets to the walls with 2" screws to stabilize the shelves, but do not secure to the shelves themselves yet


Measure and cut the back shelf to length. Using the steps above, install the shelf and brackets.


Secure the two shelves together with a 3-4 inch piece of 1x2 as strapping on the underside. This will help keep the seams even over time.


Repeat all the steps above for each additional row of shelving.


Once you are happy with the fit, secure the shelves to the brackets with 1/2" screws.


To make these shelves look more premium, we're going to add 1x2's to the face of each shelf, giving them a thicker appearance. Getting the cuts for the angles right can be kind of tricky, so if you've never done this before, make sure you grab some extra boards for some trial and error. Attach the 1x2's with a brad nailer, or finishing nails and hammer.


Caulk the edges and gaps by placing painters tape on either side of the gap, then putting down the caulk and smoothing out with a finger. Remove the painters tape to reveal a nice, clean line.


Finished! Take a step back and enjoy your beautiful shelves before they get covered up.

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