Tower Based Master Closet System

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 01/08/2020 - 13:00
Difficulty
Beginner
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Build your own master closet system.  This sturdy, freestanding closet can be customized to suit your space and needs.  Free step by step plans from Ana-White.com

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diy closet system
diy closet system
diy closet system
diy closet system
diy closet system

Do you need more closet space?  In our first house, the master closet was only four feet wide.  So I gave the entire closet to my husband and built my own master closet system!

My oldest daughter (now a teenager!) was so proud!
We loved this closet so much, despite moving twice - still use it!  It is very sturdy and helped our family so much over the years.
I used 3/4" plywood to build it, but you can also use Melamine Shelf boards to save time (no finish required or ripping on a table saw!).
I love that you can customize this closet to fit any space.
Thanks so much to everyone who has built it and shared a photo.
Ana
Dimensions
master closet system diy dimensions
15" deep x 84" tall - customizable width

Preparation

Shopping List
  • 4x8 sheet of 3/4" cabinet grade plywood (1 sheet per tower plus an additional sheet for shelving) OR 3/4" thick melamine or particle board shelving like this (about three 8 foot long shelves per tower)
  • IF using the melamine strips, you'll need 1x3s for the top shelf supports, one 1x3 per opening, IF using the plywood sheets, there will be an extra scrap about 2-1/2" wide, you can use this scrap for the supports
  • 2 - 2x4s (use 2x6s if your base moulding is over 3-1/2" tall) in the entire length of the closet run (as shown in diagram this is 12' long) PLUS 24" for the ends of the base
  • 5 feet of 1x6 or 1x8 boards (width of board determines drawer box depth) PER drawer
  • 1 set of 14" euro style drawer slides PER drawer
  • Closet rod sockets (one set per each run of closet rod)
  • Wood closet rods (max run is about 48" without additional support)
  • 1-1/4" Kreg Pocket Hole Screws OR 2" self tapping construction screws (#7 or #8)
  • 1-1/4" and 3/4" brad nails (can use screws if you don't have a brad nailer)
  • 2-3/4" self tapping wood screws (#8 or #9) - you'll just need 8 for building the base but these are good to keep around for a variety of uses and projects, and can also be used to anchor the closet to the wall
  • Wood glue
Cut List
Cut list per ONE tower
  • 2 - 3/4" plywood @ 15" x 81" OR melamine shelf board @ 81" - sides of tower
  • 3 - 3/4" plywood @ 15" x 14-1/2" OR melamine shelf board @ 14-1/2" - fixed shelves
  • Additional shelves are 3/4" plywood @ 15" x 14-1/2" OR melamine shelf board @ 14-1/2" - additional shelves

Cut list per ONE drawer

  • 4 - 1x6 or 1x8 @ 13-1/2"
  • 1 - 1/4" plywood @ 13-1/2" x 15"

Cut list for base

  • 2 - 2x4 or 2x6 for taller baseboards @ overall length of closet
  • 2 - 2x4 or 2x6 for taller baseboards @ 10" 

Cuts for Shelves in Between Towers

  • 3/4" plywood 15" wide, cut to fit in between the towers on installation
  • 1x3 or scrap plywood cut to fit in between the towers on installation
Cutting Instructions
  • Rip plywood sheets into three pieces, 8 feet long x 15" wide.  If you don't have a table saw or other rip guide, you can have your hardware store do this on their track saw - just make sure the rips are exactly the same.  Request to have the saw set and the plywood run through the saw horizontally for consistency.
  • Save the remaining scrap piece to use as supports
  • Cut the ripped pieces of plywood on a sliding miter saw (may need to flip and cut both sides) or use a circular saw and a square to make square cuts.  Sacrificial styrofoam panels under the plywood for support will make cutting much easier.
Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Drill
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander

Instructions

Step 1

Attach the two side boards to the shelf boards.  You can use 3/4" pocket holes and 1-1/4" pocket hole screws, or 2" self tapping wood screws, or 1-1/4" brad nails and wood glue.

It is important that the center shelf is fixed to keep the closet structural good. 

Step 2

Add additional shelves as desired.  As shown, there is a 12" space between the shelves.

For the drawer boxes, build the box first using the same fastener as you used for building the tower.

Attach bottom 1/4" plywood with 3/4" brad nails and glue.

Install the drawer boxes using the drawer slides.

TIP: You may wish to finish the towers at this point.

Step 3

Cut two 2x4s to the entire desired length of your closet.

Attach with the 2-3/4" screws to the 10" long 2x4s.

NOTE: I recommend building the base slightly smaller front to back so that the closet can sit above your base moulding.  If you have taller base moulding, consider using a 2x6 for the base frame to bring your closet up above the base moulding.

TIP: You may wish to finish the base at this point.

Step 4

Place base in installation location.

Place the towers on the base, so the towers are flush to the back wall.

Screw towers to the bases.

Step 5

Cut plywood to fit in between towers. 

TIP: You may wish to finish the shelves prior to installation.

Attach plywood shelves to fit on the bases.

Step 6

Cut the top shelf boards to width.  Cut the supports from plywood or 1x3s.

NOTE: If using pocket holes in the supports drill pocket holes before attaching.

Attach shelf to the supports with glue and 1-1/4" brad nails.

Attach the top shelves to the towers.

Step 7

Install closet rods between towers.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
For painted finish: If using plywood, fill front edges of plywood with wood filler. Sand and paint as desired.

For stained finish: it is recommend to use edge banding on the front of the plywood edges to finish.
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Comments

bilbong30

Mon, 12/09/2013 - 11:02

I noticed your cuts are 15 3/4 inch. However i notice the depth is 16". I don't see anything else anywhere on that other 1/4". Can you help me? I am looking at doing this with a 24" inch depth. Assuming I need to cut 23 3/4". Any help on where that extra 1/4" is that makes it 16">

In reply to by bilbong30

Lady Goats

Mon, 12/09/2013 - 14:09

There are a few things that this could mean. I believe this plan was drawn up when Ana's site hadn't been transferred to it's current layout, and she had to add dimensions to all of the plans she had previously drawn up (sometimes they're not accurate - but she's human and it was a lot of work, so we'll get past that). Or, even though it's not in the plans, maybe she was taking 1/4" plywood backing into account? You're right to question it, but I believe that was just an error.

balloongal247

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 06:19

Your plan says the center shelf in the hanging sections aren't crucial to the stability of the system, however I'm wondering if it would still be stable to do a single dowel at the top of the system (or perhaps under a shelf the same height as the top shelf of the units, as I'm short), and no center dowel or shelf to allow for smooth hanging of dresses and other long items. Would this still be stable? Does it need some kind of center to keep the whole organizer square? Or are the center shelves on the storage towers plenty?

77jozie

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 13:07

I'm dying to make this, but hubs has doubts. I can't wait to see our closet quote. Maybe then he can be convinced.

My toddler son loves your videos. You're an inspiration and a great role model!

dmcknight123

Fri, 09/04/2015 - 07:18

I know this is several years old, hoping Ana or someone who's done this will chime in. And soon! Ha ha. I'm on my way to HDepot to get materials today.

My question is, if you were to add faceframes to the towers (made from 1x2's) would you reduce the depth of the rip cuts from 15.75" to something less, like 15.25" or even 15"?

Thanks,

David 

pde00311

Fri, 09/04/2015 - 11:02

It was years since I built this, and I did the project according to the specs without adding a face frame, but I remember the width of the cuts being really important due to the hanging clothes. A standard dry cleaning hanger is approximately 16 inches (plus a little depending on whatever you put on the hanger), so at 15.75, you are going to have some clothes poking out in front (you can kind of see it on the photo of my project here: http://ana-white.com/2014/02/master-closet-system). If you want to add a face frame, you might be able to shorten your rip cut, but I wouldn't go below 15.75 in total width (especially if it is going to be flush against a back wall), and you need to still make sure the dowell is centered based on the total width. Hope this helps.