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Converting closet shelves to drawers

Built in cupboards were not designed for people with short arms - like me ! The shelves are far too deep and you end up with small piles of clothes that only take up a third of the space, so that you can still reach what's at the back. To overcome this problem I decided to replace shelves with drawers for easy access.


By removing two deep shelves in my built in cupboards I now have three drawers that can be filled up completely and still have easy access to whatever is stored in them.

After removing the door and cutting down to length, the old shelf was removed and replaced with two new shelves. I simply divided up the space by three to measure and mark the inside frame to be able to mount the new shelves with angle braces.





The drawers themselves were made using 12mm SupaWood. I didn't fit drawer runners to the drawers, but did make the drawers high enough so that they wouldn't tip over easily when opened.

If you prefer to add drawer runners, simply allow for the width of the runner when making the drawers. You will find drawer runners in various lengths at your Builders Warehouse.

The drawer fronts are made of 12mm SupaWood with a 50mm frame of 3mm SupaWood glued around the outside. All the drawer fronts were painted with Plascon Velvaglo. I used a foam roller for a nice smooth finish, but bear in mind you need to complete the project in one go, as you can't clean the roller - it will go to much if you use mineral turpentine or lacquer thinners.

Use strong double-sided tape to position the drawers where you want them before you screw them to the front of the drawers. This allows you to play around and make sure you get the drawer fronts accurate and perfectly straight. The drawer fronts are cut to the same width as the closet door and slightly overlay the frame. They also cover the shelves underneath.

The handles I found at my local Builders Warehouse and they cost around R30 each. They add the perfect finishing touch to the new drawers.

It's amazing how much extra storage space I now have. The three drawers replace the two, deep shelves and allow much more to be stored because you can fill them up to the top.