Welcome to the final chapter of how to build a closet system. If you’re stopping by for the first time or need a refresher on the materials/cutting diagrams (Step 1) or starting the process of building the closet system (Step 2) be sure to check out those posts.
On this post, I will be sharing the finishing touches needed to finish the closet system. Please note – this does not include the drawers that will be another post. Some links in this post are affiliate link for your convenience, click here to read our full affiliate policy.
ADD THE BASEBOARD
Before you can add the shoe shelf, you need to install the baseboards in the closet. To give me more space under the shoe shelf, I decided to use quarter round trim in just that area. To cut the pieces, I measured the distances of the wall and cut the trim at 45 degrees (do not move the actual blade). For the side of the drawer system, I measure about 2” less on that side, this way the normal baseboard would wrap around a couple of inches. I used 2.5” nails to attach the trim to the wall and 1.25” to attach the trim to the drawer system.
For the baseboard trim, move the saw to cut at 0 degrees but adjust the blade to cut at 45 degrees. I found it easier to have two scrap board (or extra piece of the baseboard) cut at the angle 2 different ways. These boards will help give you the correct angle: like this example.
So measure and cut all the baseboards to fit around the drawer system and use the scrap board to give you the correct cut, but adjust if needed. Install the baseboard just like the quarter round, 2.5” nails on the wall and 1.25” nails on drawer system.
A LITTLE MORE PREP
At this point almost all your wood is installed; the only thing left is the shoe shelf. But before that can be installed you need to caulk, fill in nail holes, and repaint the area below where the shoe shelf will be, plus this prep needs to be done everywhere else also.
To start take a pin punch (this is to make sure your nails are indented into the wood) and hammer, look at all your nail holes and make sure each nail is indented into the wood. If not adjust with this tool and a hammer. Take the pocket plugs (or some type of filler) and glue the plugs to cover the Kreg Jig pockets.
After take the spackling paste and fill each nail hole with it. Let this dry completely before sanding smooth (about an hour but maybe more). Once it’s dry, sand the spots smooth with #220 grit sandpaper. Then vacuum all the dust. Side Note: A great way to remove dust is to use a Swiffer duster plus it’s easy!
Now apply caulk to all the seams and gaps. Remember I shared a tip on how to caulk the easy way before. Let the caulk dry according to the instructions on the tube.
Once the caulk has dried, it is time to paint the part below the shoe shelf. Take a paint brush and paint the spackle spots (nail holes) plus where the caulk was applied. When the paint has dried it’s time to install the shoe shelf (you can paint more areas while you’re waiting but be sure to read my tip about priming the nail holes first, below!).
INSTALLING THE SHOE SHELF
This shelf will be installed like the others. Place the shelf into the space, making sure the pockets are facing down plus facing the side of the drawer system. Level the shelf with a level and use a clamp to hold it into place. Attach the shelf to the drawer system using the 1” Kreg Jig screws. Then nail the other side (wall side) to the support, using 1.25” finishing nails.
Take your trim piece and install to the front of the shelf just like before (glue and nails).
Side Note: I had to chisel out the trim around the door opening to make room for this trim piece. Plus I had to cut it into two pieces to make it fit.
Now prep the shelf by adjusting the nail holes (make sure they are indented) then fill them with spackling paste. Once it’s dry, sand smooth the remove all the dust. Next, caulk all the seams and let that dry.
SOME MORE PAINTING
I already talk about repainting but I want to talk about it again. Once the caulk has dried, take your primer and paint over all the places you have put the spackling paste. In my experience, it has helped to prime over all the spackling. Think of it like drywall mud and drywall, you need to have a layer of primer over them before paint.
After the primer dries, paint over the primer plus wherever you have applied caulk. Then let the paint dry (you should only need one coat of each).
ADDING THE RODS
This part should be the easiest part; adding the new rods. We decided to have stained wooden rods in our closet. We purchased two 4 feet x1.25 inch dowels from the lumber store. And I started this process while I was adding the baseboard because I was using the miter saw.
You will want to measure the distance from the two top rod supports to the drawer system and the bottom rod support to the drawer system. So you will have 3 measurements and depending on your rod holders you will minus 1/8”-1/4” (ours was only 1/8” because the dowel would sit on the rod holder not flush with the system on one side).
Cut your dowels to the measurements then check the fit inside the closet (use the rod holders!). If the rod does not fit, remove a little more until it is snug. Then lightly sand the dowel with #220 grit sandpaper. Wipe clean with a damp cloth and stain (we use Special Walnut by Minwax). After the stain has dried apply a coat of Polyurethane to the rods (we applies 2 coats of Polyurethane). Once the polyurethane has dried, I lightly sanded the dowel to make it smooth (I used #600 grit sandpaper but #220 grit will work).
To place the rod holder, I decided to have them 11” from the back wall (this was enough room for my hangers) and center on the wood rod supports. I started on one side first, measuring the distances then tracing the screw holes. Then I predrilled a 1/8” hole about 1/2″ into the support on the marked spots. I used the screws provided to install the holder.
For the other side, I marked the distance but before tracing I placed the rod onto the holders and checked the level, I adjusted if needed. Once it all looked good, I traced the screws holes and attached the holder just like before.
After both rod holders were installed, I placed the rod in place. I continued this process for the other 2 rods.
That was the process of building the closet system. Wow, what a difference. Up next is building the drawers. Also, stay tuned for the total cost of this project.
Did you miss a part? Here’s the list
- Cutting Diagrams – Part 1
- Assembling the System – Part 2
- Finishing the Closet system – Part 3 (THIS ONE)
- Building the drawers
- Making shaker style drawer front
- Total cost for small closet makeover
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