Step-by-step do-it-yourself instructions on how to frame the walls for a new built-in closet

Before beginning this stage of the project, see How to Build a Closet.

Assemble the top and bottom plates, wall studs, and other framing members for each wall on the floor and then tilt the walls up into place, framing each wall according to the drawing below.

building wall framing on floor
It’s easiest to build wall framing flat on the floor and then, with a helper or two, tilt the assembled wall framing up into place. Nicholas John Jackson | FreeRangeStock

So that you can tilt it up, the wall must actually be shorter than the distance between wall and ceiling. Note that the sole plate has been cut out where it spans the door’s opening—you will cut this after erecting the wall.

The rough opening for the door requires a king stud and a trimmer stud on each side, a header across the top, and cripple studs between the header and top plate.

Diagram of an interior wall with door frame, including plate, header, and distance between studs.
The Basic Structural Elements of a Closet ©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

Cut the full-length studs to a length equal to the ceiling height minus 3 3/4 inches (for the 1 1/2-inch-thick top and sole plates and the needed 1/4-inch clearance).

Nail short cripple studs into the top plate at appropriate intervals, or, if you have nailed in studs across the doorway, cut these to size. Measure and cut the header, and then nail the header to the bottoms of the cripple studs with 16d nails. Using 8d nails, toenail the header to the king studs.

Measure and cut two trimmer studs (also called jack studs), and nail one to each king stud with 10d nails in a staggered pattern. You will probably need to adjust the width of the opening by adding a pair of trimmer studs on one side.

Once the walls are built, lift them into place, and shim between the top plate and the ceiling joists. Anchor the end studs to existing wall studs or to the blocking that is inserted between the wall studs. (See How to Build & Panel a Wall.)

Nail the sole plate in place with 10d nails spaced every 2 feet, except where it runs across the planned doorway. Cut out that area of the sole plate, taking care not to damage any flooring beneath it, and pry the sole plate away from the subflooring or flooring.

NEXT SEE: Finishing Closet Construction

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About Don Vandervort
Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years as a remodeler and builder, Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort