Build Your Own Melamine Closet Organizer

From anarchy to order in a weekend! (melamine panels make it easy)

Walk through the closet aisle at any home center and you’ll see lots of closet organizers—everything from wire shelving systems to ones that look like real wood cabinetry with all kinds of fancy accessories. And while these systems are designed to work in just about any type of closet, you can get a fully custom closet organizer—and possibly even save a few bucks—by building one yourself. Here’s how we built ours using melamine panels, plus some tips on building your own.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine






$100 - $500

Predrilled panels save you time

What is melamine?

While real wood is strong and beautiful, building a closet organizer with it is expensive and time-consuming. Melamine products are an attractive and inexpensive alternative to wood or plywood. These boards, panels and sheets are made of particleboard with a tough, factory-applied melamine finish similar in appearance to plastic laminate. A 4 x 8-ft. melamine sheet is about half the cost of cabinet-grade plywood and available in a variety of colors. Be warned, however. Most home centers stock it only in white, which is what we used for our project.

Time and Money

If you’re an ace woodworker, you can probably build an organizer like ours in one day. If not, expect to spend a full weekend. You’ll find everything you need to build it at most home centers. The melamine for our project cost about $250. But if you plan to add fancy accessories like we did, your final cost might be much higher. We spent about $250 on accessories and fasteners.

How we built ours:

Overall dimensions: 77-1/4" wide x 96" tall x 15-3/4" deep

Our closet had a 9-ft. ceiling, so we built 8-ft. cabinets. If your ceiling is lower, adjust the cabinet height as necessary.

Choose your hardware first

Prevent chip-out

Make perfect cuts every time

Edge banding hides the ugly

Drill pilot holes

Hide the screw heads

Connector bolts tie it all together

A ledger board makes installation easy


Closet in a box

Additional Information

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