Building Shelves in My Garage


Garage shelves don't have to be pretty, just functional.
There are many ideas for building garage shelves that are primarily utilitarian and not particularly decorative. Brackets or a rod-and-bracket system for holding precut pressboard shelves is perhaps the easiest solution, but one that lacks support on the front of the shelves. In a garage, this support is likely needed to hold heavy objects like tools, automotive supplies and batteries. A do-it-yourself shelving system made of wood, with just a few corner brackets, is only slightly more difficult but significantly sturdier.

  • 2- by 4-inch pieces of lumber; each piece is commonly called a 2-by-4
  • 1/2 or 5/8-inch thick sheets plywood
  • Circular saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Drill and #2 Phillips bit
  • 1-inch metal corner brackets
  • 3/4-, 1 5/8- and 3-inch screws
Measure the length and width of shelving you need. Cut the number of desired shelves from plywood. For each shelf, cut a corresponding length from 2-by-4s.

Affix the 2-by-4s you have cut to the wall at the desired positions of the shelves. Use the level to ensure they are horizontal. Screw the 2-by-4s to the wall studs with 3-inch screws. Typical vertical spacing is between 12 and 16 inches, but they can be spaced at your discretion.

Set each shelf on top of a 2-by-4 so it is flush against the wall. Screw the shelf into the 2-by-4 with 1 5/8-inch screws.

Attach corner brackets on the bottom of the two front corners of each shelf so the brackets are facing down and are flush with the front edge of the shelf. Screw the brackets into the shelf with 3/4-inch screws.

Cut two more 2-by-4s equal to the distance from the floor to the top shelf, as measured from the side of the shelf that's against the wall. You can make this 6 inches to a foot longer if you like.

Set one of these 2-by-4s against one of the front corner of the shelves. Set the level on the top shelf and move the corner until the shelf is level. Screw the corner bracket into the 2-by-4 with 1-5/8-inch screws. Repeat with all the other shelves, checking with the level that the 2-by-4 is straight. Repeat the process with the other 2-by-4 for the remaining front corner.

Tips and Warnings

  • You can refine this design by using pine or fir instead of plywood, and 2-by-2s instead of 2-by-4s.
  • Give the shelves a finish coat with varnish or polyurethane to protect against motor oil or other liquid materials

Article images courtesy of:
Cd Shelf Image by Michal Ciucias From

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