Who hasn’t been plagued by a shortage of storage and the dilemma of what to throw away? There is never too much space in a home – the seasonal clothing that needs to be stashed away, toys that your kids have outgrown and the ever-growing collection of accessories and linens.
While a wardrobe is a comparatively easy piece of furnishing to construct, getting a carpenter to build one for you or even buying a pre-made wardrobe just to be assembled at home works out to be rather expensive – overlooking even the costs of material.
DIY projects need not always be home accessories and decorative pieces – anyone with a basic knowledge of carpentry and a couple of extra helping hands can design, build and install their own cabinets, wardrobes, and even attic cupboards if the space allows for it. Before getting into details, let us acquaint you with the basic process so that you know what you’re getting into. Though taxing, you first try. Once you get a hang of it then basically all that varies are the dimensions! Broadly, it’s a four-step process.
Keeping in mind what is to be stored, the first step to building your own wardrobe is to decide the dimensions – shallow for shoes and books as opposed to deep cupboards for linens and clothes – and constructing a frame.
You have a large number of materials to choose from – wood, plywood, melamine, laminate, MDF and particle boards – each with its pros and cons. The moisture resistant counterparts of normal MDF and particle boards are ideal for kitchen and bathroom storage units, but if you live in high humidity areas then we suggest these materials throughout.
Once you secure the frame in place, you will get a good idea of what the cupboard is going to look like. At this stage height, width and depth alterations are possible – re-sizing the frame is definitely easier than having second thoughts about the dimensions once the wood panels for the sides, back and doors have been cut.
Depending on whether you want a temporary or a permanent fixture, fix the back to the wall with nails or drilled screws and bolts. Once in place, your next step would be to cut the wood or ply into pieces sized to the back and sides and fix them.
Next stage is the doors that serve both in form and function – perfectly working hinges, sliders, panels fitting edge to edge and surface finishing. The quickest way to bypass making the doors from scratch is to get ready-made ones. Not only are they finished and sized to exaction, but will come with installation instructions – typically in accordance with how the hinges are to be mounted. Choosing to construct doors yourself takes technical expertise, but if you can follow instructions precisely or have some prior experience with fittings, it shouldn’t be much of a task!
Once the cabinet is fixed, customize it to your needs. Adding drawers for small objects, locker for valuables, dividers and hanger rods for larger and heavier clothing, make usage more organised and simpler.
Installing the shelves can be a little tricky, and the sizes need to be very precise so that all the pieces fit in just right. You can choose to make them movable, varying the height between the dividers depending on what you need to store. Instead of fixing the shelves permanently, use narrow strips of wood on either side to create supports so that the ply can slip right on to it. You can make these grooves at 3-4 inch intervals so that the planks can be shifted. The material used for dividers can be lighter like Medium Density Fibre (MDF) boards or ply with a minimal thickness – just enough to hold the weight of the stored objects.
All that’s left is to apply the finishing sealant to keep the wood from staining – any good varnish will do the trick – and painting the front panels. If you’re going for a simple colour then you can choose to either apply primer and paint or use a staining agent straight on the panel.
A paint job requires a coat of primer on the wood to allow the pigment to adhere. Once you apply that, wait for it to dry completely before using the combination of a roller and brush to apply an even coat of paint.
Staining agents just need to be applied onto the surface evenly. In both cases, there is a need for a layer of sealant to protect the board, ply or wood from scratches. This is where your design skills can kick in, using finishes that add an accent of texture and colour to the décor of the room. You can choose from a variety of transparent, coloured and lacquer coats to protect the wood or ply from the weathering and moisture. Alternatively, you could paint artistically on the surface to create a perfect and unique wardrobe!
Don’t forget to download our app for more DIY projects and ideas for you to try out!