How to Build a Wardrobe Out of Plywood

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Have you checked out the price of wardrobes lately? The cost of a budget double wardrobe made from Medium dense fiberboard (MDF) from a well-known Scandinavian furniture store will set you back at least $250.00.You will have the privilege of wrestling the flat pack into your vehicle, transporting it home, and assembling the wardrobe.

What's worse is the wardrobe is poor quality, and if it lasts for a few years, you will have done well. 

This article will guide you on how to build a solid wardrobe from plywood. Plywood is the preferred material. MDF has poor performance values. An MDF wardrobe will not suit your home if you live in an area of high humidity.

Let's get at it.

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Is building a wardrobe a complicated process?

You will need some skills to complete a DIY wardrobe, but it is mainly the ability to take accurate measurements and use power tools which is a pretty simple task that most people can undertake.

Most big box stores will cut the plywood to length for you, so make sure you have a cut list when you purchase the plywood.

The tricky part of the project is cutting dados(grooves that hold your boards in place). You could use a router for this, but if that is too far out of your budget, you can make multiple passes with a circular saw and chisel out the waste.

Pocket holes are typical for this application. It's a cheap jig available at most big box stores, allowing you to attach all your boards very simply. The downside is that you will have screw holes everywhere. You can buy plugs for these holes, but it ends up being a lot of time investment getting them cleaned up afterward, but the result is worth the effort.

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This is what you will need:

Cut List

  • (41/2) Sheets ¾’ plywood (will build two cabinets)
  • (2) sheets ¼’ plywood
  • (3) 2x2x8 boards
  • (2) 1x4x8 boards
  • (2)1x2x8 board

Hardware

  • 1 ¼” pocket hole screws
  • 2 ½” wood screws
  • Concealed hinges
  • Door pulls
  • Shelf pins

Tools

  • Circular saw
  • Kreg rip cut
  • Kreg Accu cut
  • Kreg pocket hole jig
  • Miter Saw
  • Nail Gun (optional)
  • Kreg Concealed Hinge Jig
  • Kreg Shelf Pin Jig
  • Wood glue

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How to start

Start with the base of the closet wardrobe. The base will need to be accurate in dimensions and perfectly square. To double-check, you have a square base. Using the 3:4:5 triangle, the best way to determine an angle is 90 degrees. 

This rule says that if one side of a triangle measures 3 and the adjacent side measures 4, then the diagonal between those two points must measure 5 for it to be a right triangle.

If you wish to vacuum under the wardrobe, add legs.

The base of the wardrobe is an easy construction, made from 2x2 glued and screwed with 2 ½” wood screws. The build will be 33 ½” wide, 18” in depth, and 8’ tall. If you are staining the wardrobe, use pocket holes for the best visual effect.

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Construct the wardrobe

Hopefully, you have the cut list and have the plywood cut to length, so this process is easy. Assemble twp wardrobe carcasses using ¾” pocket holes. Pocket holes are more stable, but if needed, use wood screws, mainly if you are adding a paint finish. You can putty over the screws for a neat finish.

Install the middle shelf; this will offer some rigidity to the structure and prevent the plywood from flexing. Use a pocket drill for a neat appearance.

Drill the shelf holes using the Kreg shelf pin jig. If your wardrobe does not have adjustable shelves, you can skip this process, but it's a cool wardrobe feature that makes the shelving versatile.

Give yourself some space when drilling the shelf pin holes. Deep shelves can be a pain in the neck and add extra weight.

It is worth noting that the wardrobe is robust; hence it has weight, so you may wish to add some brackets to fix the wardrobe to a stud wall to prevent toppling.

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Fix the wardrobe carcass to the base

If you have a base on legs providing the opportunity to vacuum under the wardrobe, use ¼” screws to make a solid fixing.

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Attach the wardrobe backing sheets

Use ¼” plywood for your backing sheet; if you have a nail gun, use brad nails. It is not a problem if you don't have a nail gun. Use finish nails equally spaced, it takes a little longer, but the job gets done.

You could use a decent hand stapler if you have one in your tool kit.

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Add the doors

If you make the doors allow for a ⅛” gap on each side and a ¼” gap in the middle, gap lines are essential for making the wardrobe look square and finished properly.

These cabinets are 33 ½” wide. If you cut your doors at 16 ½” wide respectively, the dimensions should work perfectly to give you the desired door gaps.

Add edging tape to the doors for an excellent finish, and it's easy to apply with a domestic iron. Take your time and ensure the iron is hot enough before applying the adhesive edging tape.

Use the Kreg concealed door hinge jig to fit and drill the holes before fitting the hinges.

Finishing the wardrobe

You will need to make the hanging rod; use 1 1.3” dowel cut to 32” long securely by drilling through the wardrobe sides, and use a 2 ½” screw to secure. For a neater finish, you could use wardrobe hanging fittings, they are more expensive, so it depends on your budget which method you opt for.

Select the door furniture that is best for your style.

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Customize your wardrobe

A shoe rack is easy. Add what wardrobe accessories you would like. Make the rack 15 ¾” wide to attach to a wardrobe door.

Add the removable shelves at this point. If you have cut them at 11 ¼”, the wardrobe door will shut perfectly.

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Wardrobe completed.

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All images credited to:

https://www.woodshopdiaries.com/