Are you looking for a way to maximize storage space in your closet? Then you’ll want to check out our melamine shelves.
They are an easy, durable and affordable way to get the most out of your closet.
As we were building the home office library, I knew that my husband would not need this closet storage space.
So I quickly started making plans for storing my extra home decor.
I knew that I didn’t want painted wood shelves, because in no time the paint wears off as bins are slid across the surface.
The answer then was melamine shelves.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to measure, cut and install melamine shelves so that you can create additional storage space in your closet.
Everything from the materials needed to installation tips are covered, so you can easily customize melamine shelves to fit your closet space.
So, let’s get started!
- Is Melamine Good for Closet Shelves?
- How Much Weight Can a Melamine Shelf Hold?
- How Do You Cut Melamine Without Chipping?
- Supplies to Build Melamine Shelves
- Plan Shelf Size and Placement
- Mark Placement of Shelves
- Cut and Install Cleats and Center Support Shelves
- Paint Cleats
- Attach Cleats to Melamine Center Support
- Measure, Cut and Install Melamine Shelves
- Caulk and Putty
Is Melamine Good for Closet Shelves?
Yes, melamine is a great material for closet shelves.
In fact, melamine is an engineered wood product that has a hard surface and is resistant to chipping, scratches and water damage, making it a great choice for closet shelves.
Additionally, melamine shelves are easy to clean, come in a variety of finishes and is very durable.
As you can see melamine is a great product for closet shelving and you can easily customize melamine shelves to fit your closet space.
How Much Weight Can a Melamine Shelf Hold?
The amount of weight melamine shelves can hold depends on how the melamine is secured to the wall and how thick the melamine is.
Generally speaking, melamine shelves that are mounted appropriately can support about 50 lbs per shelf according to the Lowes website.
To ensure your melamine shelves are strong and sturdy enough to hold whatever storage needs you may have, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.
Additionally, always use melamine shelves that are thick enough for your purpose.
Thinner melamine will not be able to hold as much weight as thicker melamine.
You’ll see in our closet that we created a support for the center of each shelf, to ensure that our melamine shelves are secure.
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How Do You Cut Melamine Without Chipping?
In the office – library build, I wanted to use melamine to build the cabinet boxes.
I really wanted a durable surface.
So I did my research and learned that to prevent chipping you need the right blade.
When cutting melamine, you want a saw blade with a higher tooth count.
The best blade will depend on the thickness of the melamine.
For our shelves which are 3/4″ thick, we used a 60 tooth circular saw blade.
If the melamine is thinner, you will want an 80 tooth blade.
When cutting melamine, make sure your blade is sharp.
Supplies to Build Melamine Shelves
To build shelves in a closet you’ll need:
- melamine shelving – we used 15 3/4″ deep and 3/4″ thick shelves
- 1×2 lumber for cleats
- construction adhesive
- white wood putty
- miter saw
- circular saw or table saw
- brad nailer
- framing square
Plan Shelf Size and Placement
First you want to measure your closet space and determine the height you’d like each shelf to be.
I like to get a piece of graph paper and map out the dimensions of the space as well as determine the shelf placement.
To determine shelf placement, I measured the storage bins and items I will be storing in this closet and come up with my design.
Once I know how many and how long each shelf will be I can determine how much melamine shelving I need to purchase.
We have a bunch of scrap lumber from previous projects that we used for our cleats, but if you don’t have scraps you can use 1×2 MDF boards.
If you’re tight on space in your home, see how to install shelves in the wall.
Mark Placement of Shelves
First you want to mark your wall for the placement of the center support.
With our wall about 6 feet long, we added a support in the center.
We used our laser level to mark the placement for the center support.
Then we made marks up the wall for the placement of each shelf.
Next, we transferred the shelf placement mark in each corner.
If you look really close you’re able to see the marks in each corner and also the center support marks.
Next we removed a 3/4″ wide section of the baseboard so the center support will be flush with the wall.
An oscillating tool is a great tool to make cuts like this.
And to protect the floor from the blade, we placed a large putty knife under the baseboard while we made the cuts.
One the cut is made for each support piece, we scored the caulk at the top of the baseboard with a utility knife.
And then removed the piece of baseboard.
Cut and Install Cleats and Center Support Shelves
The first piece to cut is for the center supports.
We used the melamine shelving for the center support as well.
Ours is cut to 64 1/4″. This will be the placement for the top shelf.
Next we used 3/4″ thick scrap lumber cut to 1 1/2″ wide strips for our cleats.
We first set up the table saw with the fence set to cut 1 1/2″ wide strips.
And then ripped all the pieces we would need for cleats.
Then we placed the center support board into the notch cut out of the baseboard, made sure it was square and then measured for the cleats at the back of each shelf.
Before you start attaching the cleats locate the studs with a stud finder.
Then secured each cleat to the wall, aligning it with the placement mark.
Just make sure the brads are in the studs!
Your shelves will not be secure if the cleats are not secured at the studs.
Once all of the back shelf cleats are installed, secure the cleats for the sides of the shelves.
When we cut the cleats for the sides, we cut them about 1″ shorter than the shelf and made a slight angle cut at the end.
Since all of the cleats would be the same length, we set up a stop with a block of wood and quickly cut them all at once.
Then we tilted the miter saw at a 45° angle, set up the stop again and cut all the angles.
The cleats on the left wall needed to be cut a little longer than the shelf, in order to secure the front of the cleat into a stud.
As we placed each cleat we used a level to make sure each shelf would be straight.
Now that all the cleats are secured to the walls, paint them the wall color.
The cleats that will be attached to the center supports are painted white as to blend in with the white melamine.
Attach Cleats to Melamine Center Support
Then using a level, make sure the cleat is straight and attach the cleats for each shelf on the center support pieces.
Measure, Cut and Install Melamine Shelves
The first shelf to install is the top shelf.
This will get secured to the cleats as well as the center support.
Check to see that the center support is square and then secure the shelf into the support piece.
By attaching the top shelf first, the center support is more secure and will make it easier to measure and attach each shelf.
Next measure for each shelf to be cut.
We started at the bottom and worked our way up.
Now we found that our walls were not square, and so each shelf was cut slightly different.
So take the time to measure for each shelf.
When making the cuts use a sharp 60 tooth blade to get clean cuts in the melamine.
We also used a straight edge as a guide to make sure our cuts were accurate.
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Then test fit your shelf and secure to the cleats with brads.
In the corner where the two shelves meet, we cut a 4″ wide piece scrap lumber 1″ shorter than the depth of the shelf and angled it like the side cleats.
Then we attached it at the seam of the two shelves with construction adhesive and a few brads.
Caulk and Putty
And to finish up the shelves caulk the seams and fill in the brad holes with white wood putty.
Need tips on caulking or how to find and use the correct wood putty, click here for pro tips.
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By following this guide and taking the right steps, you can easily install melamine shelves in your closet for additional storage space.
Melamine is a great material for closet shelves as it provides strength and durability while also being easy to customize and install.
Just be sure to measure accurately, cut and secure melamine properly to ensure that your melamine shelves can hold the weight of whatever you are storing on them.
With these tips, you should be able to easily build melamine shelves for your closet in no time!
I hope this guide has been helpful and that you now feel confident enough to build melamine shelves for your closet.
Are you ready to try your hand at building melamine shelves in a closet?
If you try this project in your home, please share your results!
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