I will show you how replacing your wire shelves with custom wood shelving can make a big difference!
Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.
Take closet shelving, for example.
It’s meant to be functional. To provide a service to you in your daily life of storage needs.
But functional or not, I really can’t stand wire shelving.
Our whole house was full of wire shelving. Which, if you love it, power to ya. Then you’ve come to the wrong blog post. Because truly, it’s my least favourite storage solution of all the choices.
Things fall between it. It leaves marks on your clothes and linens. And it just doesn’t feel solid.
So once I got started on our linen closet organizational makeover and had everything out of the closet and sitting in the hallway… I realized, that what I really wanted was new shelving. And paint. EEK!
So once again, the organization project got just that little bit bigger…
But it was totally worth it, don’t you think?
To build these custom shelves, I went to my local hardware / wood store and purchases two 8′ lengths of solid pine shelving (16″ deep), and had it cut into 32″ lengths (the width of our closet). I also purchased two 8′ lengths of 1×2 to use as the shelf support brackets on each side; and then two 8′ lengths of a thin trim board to beef up the look up the shelves along their fronts.
We also used drywall filler, a putty knife, DAP, our caulking gun, our (Dad’s) nail gun and air compressor, 1.5″ wood screws, a small level, our drill, and our mitre saw. For painting, I used Kilz Primer and Simply White Paint by Benjamin Moore.
Our linen closet looked like this when we started…
Okay, actually, it really looked like this:
I had disliked that wire shelving so much that a few year’s ago I had used foam board and contact paper to cover it.
The one advantage it had was in giving us a solid shelf surface in our linen closet. But I knew. In my heart, I knew. It just wasn’t enough. It wasn’t the real thing. I really wanted to switch those bad-boy wire shelves out for some custom looking solid wood shelves.
So we did!
We started by taking out all the old wire shelving (which I plan to donate); and then marking on the wall where the new custom shelves will go. I just stayed with the same spacing because it had worked before, but this is the perfect time to switch up your shelf spacing if you want to.
We also filled all the old holes from the previous wire shelving hardware with wall filler.
Hubs used a level and marked on the wall where the shelves would go. We used pieces of 1×2 that had been cut to the length that we wanted the shelves to be (depth). We used our mitre saw to make the cuts, but you could use any saw, even a hand saw to cut these pieces to length.
We predrilled and added screws to the 1×2 – as you can see in the corner. That screw is on an angle because we wanted to screw it into the stud in the corner of the closet wall. The other screw is hidden but you can see it peeking out underneath my husbands right thumb in the picture below:
Then he predrilled on the one side, where the shelves would not go into a stud and we needed to add a drywall anchor.
And we put in a drywall anchor to hold the screw on that side of the bracket.
Next, it was time to actually screw the open shelves in. We first attached it on the outer side (into the drywall anchor) and then used the level to make sure the brackets were straight.
And lastly we screwed it into the corner stud…
Next, a few things happened that I don’t have great pictures of!
I sanded off the walls and gave the closet two coats of bright white paint.
I painted one coat of primer and two coats on each side of the pine shelves that I bought at the hardware store – I used our dining room table with a drop cloth as a surface, and used a foam roller. It dried pretty quickly so I was able to paint one side, dry, flip it and paint the other side, etc. in a fairly short period of time. I didn’t paint the edges of the pine because I didn’t want them to get thicker and not fit in the closet properly – and on the front we were going to be putting a facing so it didn’t need to be painted.
Once the shelves were dry to the touch, we placed them in the closet…
Time to give them that custom wood shelf look!
We added a piece of trim moulding to the front to make them look thicker. We used our nail gun, but you could also just use some small finishing nails and your regular old hammer.
The trim board was slightly wider at the top and then tapered at the bottom. I only chose this one because it was such a small depth so we had enough space for it in the closet once attached to the 16″ deep pine shelves.
As I said… nail gun. But you could use a regular hammer and small nails.
Lastly, a few more jobs that I didn’t show:
We filled the tiny nail holes and let it dry. Then I used some DAP (my favourite caulking tool) to fill around each shelf and wooden bracket so they all looked solidly attached to the closet.
Lastly, a final coat of paint on the walls, along all the DAPPED edges, the wooden faces of the shelves, and on the shelf surfaces themselves.
Aren’t they pretty?
I mean, for closet shelves??
Now I can’t wait to fill it back up and show you our newly organized linen closet! I’ll be back tomorrow with those details!
Want to switch out the wire shelving in some of your closets?
Don’t forget this tutorial!
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