Stack simple plywood boxes to organise a closet and add storage compartments DIY.
Does your wardrobe resemble an untidy op shop, with insufficient space to store all your clothes? The easy answer is to install a larger one, but if space is tight, that’s not always an option.
We’ve devised a simple system that’s easy on the pocket, quick to build and can be customised to fit neatly into any space, large or small.
In just a weekend you can build several plywood boxes and install them as convenient wardrobe storage.
Configure the boxes to fit the size of the area and add stainless steel rods in between to create hanging space.
Materials for the two large and 15 smaller boxes that make up this wardrobe organiser cost about $460, plus $16 for the hanging rods.
Working with plywood
We used 19mm thick CD plywood because it is strong, can be secured with screws and has a simple grain and warm colour that finishes well.
A 2400 x 1200 x 19mm sheet of plywood costs about $75, with five needed to build these boxes.
If you don’t have a ute or trailer, have the sheets cut lengthways into 380mm wide pieces then prepare the panels DIY using our jig and a circular saw with a straightedge guide.
For accurate cuts, measure from the front and back of the blade to the edge of the base plate to ensure the blade is running parallel to it.
Check the blade is set at 90º to the base plate with a try square. Use a 40-tooth carbide blade for clean cuts and set the saw depth so it just grazes the jig base or you’ll cut it in half.
Making a jig
The key to this box system is that the large box is twice as tall as the small box, and the height of each box is equal to twice its width.
This provides versatility as the boxes can be combined in dozens of different configurations that all align.
To make the system work, you need lots of box parts that have been cut to exact identical lengths.
This can be achieved using a jig that can also be used for making bookcases, cabinets or shelves. Take your time assembling the jig.
First secure the saw guide to the saw carriage with screws, then run your saw against the guide to trim the carriage.
When you mount the carriage on the rails, which are made of pine, use a builder’s square to make sure the carriage is perpendicular to the rails.
Secure shims underneath the carriage on the rails so the plywood can slide under it with ease.
The key to this box system is that the large box is twice as tall as the small box, and the height of each box is equal to twice its width
Follow these diagrams to build these DIY custom plywood boxes.
Assemble the jig and position across a pair of sawhorses. Secure the carriage and shims to the rails and clamp the stop block at the required distance. Cut the parts to the correct width then slide beneath the carriage to the stop block and cut to length.
Position iron-on veneer edge strip on all visible plywood edges, moving a hot iron back and forth to melt the adhesive and secure the edging. Trim the veneer overhang using a fine toothed file held at a steep downward angle then sand with 120 grit paper.
Mark corresponding biscuit positions on adjacent board ends and faces and use a biscuit joiner to cut size 20 slots in the timber. TIP Clamp a support board flush with the edge to help stop the biscuit joiner rocking as you cut the face slots.
Apply adhesive to the slots, insert the biscuits then position the top, base and cleats between the sides, clamping each box. Use a builder’s square to check each box for square, wipe off any excess adhesive and leave to dry for at least an hour.
Align the boxes to be joined and clamp together. Use a right angled drill chuck to drill four 2mm pilot holes to
a depth of 30mm about 50mm from each corner. Secure the boxes with screws or use sleeve connectors after drilling 5mm clearance holes.
Make a ledger to support the boxes by cutting two 50 x 19mm plywood strips to length. Join them at right angles and position 200mm from the floor. Secure to the wall then position boxes on the ledger and secure to the studs with screws through the cleats.