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Find out how to construct garage cabinets in a shed or storage

Are you looking for a storage solution in your shed or garage? Well, I have an easy way to build storage shelves for either the garage, shed, or maybe a storage room. And all you need is some 2×4’s, plywood, screws, and some tools.

shed with lawnmower

shed with lawnmower

SIDE NOTE: The way I decided to build these shelves was attaching them directly to the wall, so these cannot be moved after they are built.

HOW TO BUILD STORAGE SHELVES

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience, click here to read my full disclosure policy. 

SUPPLIES:

  • 2×4’s
  • 3/4″ plywood
  • 2.5″ screws
  • 1.25″ screws

TOOLS:

Find the list of tools we use.

CREATE THE SKETCH/BLUEPRINT

The very first thing you need to do is to create the sketch (aka: the plan). Things to think about:

  • How tall do you want the top shelf?
  • How wide will your shelves be?
  • How many shelves? And the amount of space between?

shed with not shelves

shed with not shelves

These questions will help you create your idea sketch. I am a big believer that you need to create an idea sketch which is the basic plan of your DIY/Build. Then you create the actual sketch/blueprint with all the cut measurements (the detailed) plan.

Somethings to note when creating this detailed sketch.

  • You need a leg brace at least every 8ft. This brace will go from the floor to the top shelf.
  • Each shelf needs at least 3 braces for an 8ft span. (2 sides and a middle) I used 4 braces for my 8ft shelf.
    • Here’s an example of my detailed sketch.DIY storage shelves planDIY storage shelves plan
  • The 4″ side of the 2×4 will sit against the wall.
  • Plywood comes in 8ft and every end of the plywood needs to be braced. So if your shelf is 10ft, you will need a brace, centered at 8ft to hold the 8ft plus the extra 2ft. Or you can place two 2×4 braces together and have each plywood piece sit on a different 2×4 (this is what I did for the “L” of my shelf).

Once you have created the sketch it’s time to buy your supplies (because you now know how much wood you need) and now let’s start building.

TIP: Remember 2×4’s are not actually 2″ x 4″, they are 1.5″x3.5″, funny I know!

BUILD THE FRAME

The first boards that need to be cut and placed is the ones against the wall. Before placing each board, measure and mark where each board will sit. Ours was 24.5″ for the first shelf then 49.75″ for the second because of the plywood (24.5″ from the floor for first shelf + .75″ plywood + 24.5″ = 49.75″ for the top shelf). We decided to have our shelves the length of the inside of the shed, which is slightly smaller than 10ft. So we cut a 10ft board to fit inside and attached the board using 2.5″ screws (pre-drilling the holes first), we attached the board to each wall stud. SIDE NOTE: You do not need to attach to every stud but at least every other.

TIP: Use a level!!

attaching shelf support in shed

attaching shelf support in shed

building shelves in shed

building shelves in shed

Next is the braces, these help support the plywood. Cut the 2×4 brace to the sizes needed (width of the shelf – 3″). Then create 2 pockets, using the Kreg Jig, on both ends of the board (there will be 4 per board). This is how you will attach the brace to the board on the wall plus the front board.

Once they all have pockets, attach them using 2.5″ screws to the 2×4 board previously installed.

TIP: You want the braces spaced correctly, so mark the wall 2×4 for where each brace will be placed.

attaching 2x4 with kreg jig pockets

attaching 2x4 with kreg jig pockets

building frame of storage shelves for shed

building frame of storage shelves for shed

Now take the last 2×4 for the frame of the shelf and mark where each brace will sit on the board. Then using clamps to hold the board level, attach the 2×4 using the brace pockets with some 2.5″ screws.

building storage shelves

building storage shelves

SIDE NOTE: I decided to attach one 2.5″ screw through the front 2×4 to the braces, just to make it even stronger (pre-drilling a hole first!).

Continue this process for each shelf and I would recommend starting with the bottom shelf first!

ADD THE PLYWOOD

Once the frame is built for each shelf, it’s time to add the plywood. The easiest way to do this is measure the width of the frame. Then using the circular saw attached to the Rip-cut, cut that width from the plywood.

Then measure the length of the frame, remember each of the plywood pieces needs to sit on a 2×4 and cut the plywood to the measurement( you should have an idea of this form your plan!).

Next, test the fit of the plywood on the frame and adjust if needed.

TIP: If you need multiple plywood pieces, test all of them first before adjusting anything.

Once the plywood fits flush on the frame, attach it to the frame. This is done by pre-drilling a 1/8″ hole and using the 1.25″ screws. Place as many as you need for each plywood piece but I would recommend at least 6 (4 for each corner and 2 for the middle of the frame).

building plywood storage shelves

building plywood storage shelves

ADD THE LEGS

After all the plywood is attached its time to add the legs to help with support. Like I stated before you need a leg at each end but also every 8ft. Take a tape measure and measure the floor to the top shelf at each place you need a leg. Cut a 2×4 at this measurement.

TIP: You could have different measurements and that’s fine! Cut whatever measurement you have and place it in that location.

Check to make sure the fit is good on the leg, does not pass the top shelf, adjust if you need to. Then attach the leg to each shelf using 2.5″ screws and making sure to pre-drill a 1/8″ first.

TIP: Be mindful of where other screws are already and use a level if needed.

diy storage shelves in shed

diy storage shelves in shed

support leg for storage shelf

support leg for storage shelf

Add each leg this way until each leg is added. (We only have 2 legs on our shelves!) And that’s how to build storage shelves. Now I want to share one more way to build these shelves if you don’t want to add a leg.

BUILD A FLOATING SHELF (aka: NO LEGS)

Now you may need a shelf or shelves that have no legs because something is under that shelf. We had this because we were placing a lawn mower under one shelf. So here is how to do that.

building wall shelf in a shed

building wall shelf in a shed

Build the frame of the shelf like the tutorial above but before adding the plywood you need to add an angled wall brace. This brace will connect to the shelf frame plus the wall stud, so it will be at an angle.

TIP: The shelf needs to end on a stud to attach this brace.

The way I did this was to take a 2×4 and place it at the angle I wanted (it will be on the inside of the frame). Then I traced where the wall stud crossed the 2×4, this will be my angle cut for the wall.

I then cut the board at this mark. Then I took the board back to the frame and placed it again where I wanted it. This time I made sure the wall cut was flush. Once it was I traced where the 2×4 passed the shelf frame (where the plywood should be). This is my other cut for this brace.

Once the board was cut to that measurement, I checked the fit and adjusted if needed. Then I attached the 2×4 to the shelf frame and the wall stud, using 2.5″ screws but pre-drilling a 1/8″ hole first.

TIP: Secure the board from the 2×4 to the frame/stud and use a clamp to help hold the 2×4 brace in place.

angle support for shelf

angle support for shelf

Do this for any other braces you need for that shelf (you can also copy this first brace before attaching). Then add the plywood like I explained before.

BECAUSE I like having videos of how to do something I have created a video on the process of building storage shelves.

And that’s how to build a storage shelf for a shed or garage. Hope this helps you organize your home.

build storage shelves in a shed

build storage shelves in a shed

Did you miss another step of this build?

build storage shelvesbuild storage shelves

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