Building a Closet Pole & Shelf

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A closet pole full of clothes often needs extra support.
A closet pole full of clothes often needs extra support. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

If the configuration of dividers inside your closet can accommodate an extra shelf and rod, that's good news for you, because you can never have too much clothes-hanging space. Building the shelf and rod is an uncomplicated carpentry task, but if they span the entire closet, the pole and shelf might need extra support to prevent them from sagging. You can accomplish this renovation with a piece of 1 1/4-inch dowel, and when you're done, you'll have created a little extra room to hang things like hats, scarves and ties.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Stud finder
  • Torpedo level
  • 1-by 6-inch lumber
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • No. 2 Phillips bit
  • 2 1/2-inch wood screws
  • 1-by 2-inch lumber
  • 1 1/2-inch screws
  • 1 1/4-inch closet pole hangers
  • 1 1/4-inch dowel
  • 3/4- and 1/2-inch drill bits
  • 1/2-inch dowel
  • Hammer

Measure the distance from the floor to the proposed bottom of the shelf with a tape measure and make a mark with a pencil. The distance should be at least 66 inches if you plan to hang long coats and dresses.

Use a stud finder or tap the wall to find two wall studs that you can use to support the shelf bracket. There should be one stud in the back corner and another 16 inches away. Use a torpedo level to draw a level line between these studs that passes through the mark. Draw a similar line on the opposite wall.

Cut two lengths of 1-by-6-inch lumber long enough to overlap both studs. Use a circular saw for the cuts. Align the top edge of each length of wood with one of the lines and screw them to the studs with pairs of 2 1/2-inch wood screws.

Saw a piece of 1-by-2-inch lumber that spans the distance between the boards you just installed to support the shelf and prevent sagging. Align the top of each end with the top of one of the boards and screw the support to the studs on the back wall.

Measure the distance between the walls -- not the boards you installed -- and cut the shelf to fit. Set it on top of the shelf supports and drive 1 1/2-inch screws through the top of the shelf to hold it down. Omit the screws if you want the shelf to be easily removable.

Screw a 1 1/4-inch closet pole support bracket to each of the 1-by-6 pieces just under the front of the shelf and about 2 inches below it. You can buy plastic brackets at most hardware stores. They come in pairs with screws.

Use a handsaw to cut a piece of 1 1/4-inch dowel that fits between the shelf supports and drop it into place. Measure the distance from the bottom of the dowel to the floor and cut a second piece 4 inches longer. Make a mark denoting the distance from one end equal to the distance from the rod to the floor.

Secure the dowel to a bench with clamps and drill a 3/4-inch hole through the mark. Drill four or five more 1/2-inch holes near that one, spacing them about 6 inches apart.

Saw through the dowel midway through the 3/4-inch hole. Wedge the dowel between the closet pole and the floor to support the pole.

Prepare a hat hanger from 1/2-inch dowel to fit in every 1/2-inch hole you drilled. Make the hanger long enough to extend about 4 inches from the pole support. Cut it with a handsaw and tap it into the hole with a hammer.

Tips & Warnings

  • The shelf and pole probably won't sag, and therefore don't need extra support, if they are under 3 feet long.
  • Sand the shelf, supports and poles with 120-grit sandpaper before you install them to prevent splinters.
  • Wear goggles when cutting wood or particleboard with a circular saw to protect against flying wood chips.

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