Cedar is an aromatic wood that naturally deters insect larvae and moths. The scent of cedar keeps fabrics smelling fresh. People use cedar chests to store blankets, clothing, and keepsakes and blocks of cedar are used to freshen closets. However, these have limited use and their scent is not as powerful as lining closets with cedar panels. Turning a standard closet into a cedar closet is a simple and inexpensive project.
You will need:
• 4×4-foot cedar panels or tongue and groove cedar planks
• ¼-inch thick wood scraps
• Baseboards (if existing baseboards cannot be salvaged)
• Pry bar
• Stud finder
• Latex caulk or wood trim
• Construction adhesive
• Finishing nails
• Tape measure
• Wood putty
• Putty knife
• Dust mask
• Safety goggles
Step 1: Remove the contents of the closet, including shelving and closet rods. Use the tape measure to capture the dimensions of the closet. Based on these, calculate how much wood is needed. If cedar panels will be used, account for a 2-millimeter gap between them for natural expansion. The last panel installed on a side wall should be narrower by ¼-inch to accommodate the panel that will be installed on the adjoining back wall. If you use two 4-foot high panels, each one should be ¼-inch shorter than the closet height, leaving a gap of ¼-inch near both the ceiling and the floor. The ceiling gap can be covered with the latex caulk or wood trim and a baseboard will cover the gap near the floor.
Step 2: Locate closet wall studs using the stud finder. Place a pencil mark at the center of each stud. Use the measuring tape to measure the distance between the pencil marks and record these on a paper diagram of the closet.
Step 3: Place the wood scraps along the floor of the first wall. These will hold your first bottom side panel at the correct height. Apply the construction adhesive to the back of a cedar plank or panel. Prop the wood on top of the wood scraps and press it onto the wall. Hold it in place and attach it to a wall stud using the hammer and nail. Do not pound in the nail all the way.
Step 4: Use the level to level the sheet. Pound in the nail completely. Hammer in finishing nails along the stud, spacing them 6 inches apart. Hammer nails into the stud below the panel.
Step 5: Install panels along the remaining bottom section of the closet walls, moving the wood spacers to the new wall and attaching each panel with the construction adhesive and the finishing nails. Leave 2 millimeters of space between each panel.
Step 6: Use your first installed panel as a guide to install cedar in the upper section of the closet. Apply construction adhesive and nail each panel in place.
Step 7: If desired, fill in nail holes will wood putty using the putty knife
Step 8: Use the latex caulk or wood trim to cover the space near the closet ceiling.
Step 9: Remove the wood spacers from the bottom of the wall and replace the baseboards.
Step 10: Allow time for the construction adhesive to dry.
Step 11: Reinstall the closet shelves and rods. These may need to be refitted because the closet will be narrower by about ½-inch.
Step 12: When the closet is not in use, keep the door closed to maintain the scent. The aroma should last for years and when it begins to fade, use fine-grit sandpaper to sand the panels lightly.