I’ve done some finish carpentry in the past, but I’m really more of a framer because I like to just throw things together quickly and make them as strong as possible. I recently built some new garage shelves in the home we have been living in for a couple years now. Obviously you don’t have to make all the shelves be the same height, but make sure to have at least one of two rows of shelving tall enough for all of your tallest items. Given the length of the walls I was building my shelves on, I bought my wood in the 8 foot lengths. The wall I built these shelves on was about 14 feet long, so I needed two 8 foot sheets of plywood for each row.
Once you know the length of the wall, it’s fairly straightforward as far as counting up how many 2x3s and sheets of plywood you need.
As you can see in the picture below, I also used the perpendicular wall for increased support. After screwing and nailing the boards up on to the wall, you can put up the end boards (2x4s). For those with some kind of baseboard in your garage, you will need to take a chisel and notch out a spot for the vertical 2×4 boards that will go on the ends, against the wall. Repeat this process with the next row up, but before you nail the vertical 2×4 to the second row, make sure to level it vertically with your long level. It’s a little difficult to see in these pictures, but I have also tacked in some support boards between the horizontal beams, coming out perpendicular to the main wall. As you can see in the picture below, your garage shelves should be strong enough to double as a jungle gym for your kids! One of my goals with this design was that it would be simple enough for almost anyone to build (including myself).
Great job, having sold steel shelving for the last 25 years, your system makes great use of the available space, you don’t have to try and fit standard steel shelf bays into the gap.
I would suggest trying concrete screws since you really only need the horizontal strength from the wall. What was the spacing you used on the support boards between the horizontal beams, coming out perpendicular to the main wall and did you toe nail at the wall side? I actually only used one perpendicular (from the wall) support piece for the entire length of the shelf because when you nail down the plywood shelving you gain plenty of perpendicular strength and the shelves are not deep enough to warrant perpendicular support beams.
The only reason I put one in the middle was to help connect the spot where I had to splice the length of the shelf, and to hold it in place during the framing stage. I’m planning to do my own shelves and found these to be pretty similar to what I had in mind.
With a 4 foot span I’m not sure the 2x3s would be sufficient, especially if you plan on storing a lot of heavy items on them.
If you want to keep the paneling to match the rest of the garage you should be fine to leave it up.
I love the design however I want to center my shelves on a wall and not have them attached to another perpendicular wall on the end like yours are.
You really made a good job Michael having shelves like this in our garage can make all stuff in one place, my dad tried the steel before but measuring the gap really took a long time. I had build a wall of shelves 8 years ago and have to disassemble them do to water leakage into my basement. I keep thinking about the square dimensions of the posts used in decking but believe I may be underestimating how strong wood can be.
In your case I would probably add some vertical beams to your interior wall in addition to the ones on the outside of the shelves.
As far as your concrete block wall is concerned, I would just use a concrete drill bit to pre-drill some holes and use concrete screws to attach the boards.
Thanks for sharing your success story – I’m glad to hear it worked out for you! Remember the awesome book storage solutions (here) I showed you the other day!?!  I loved one so much that my hubby offered to build it for me!  The Book Tower, similar to a wall bookcase found at CB2 and West Elm. Add a little extra support to the underside of the lower shelves  for storing heavier books. After securing all six shelves, he brought the bookcase spine into the house and mounted it into a stud in the wall, again using countersunk screws.
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Just found your blog through pinterest – love, love, love this bookshelf and I’m loving that houndstooth!!
Pinning this right away and putting it on our to do list for our basement when we take it on in April! With Instructables you can share what you make with the world, and tap into an ever-growing community of creative experts. Are you one of those who reads a few pages of a book then throw it on the floor before falling asleep? I was thinking to build two units, approximately 3' wide and partially stacked on top of each other as shown in the illustration. I pre-drilled small pilot holes at pre-measured lengths so that I could drive the drywall screws easily.
This week I’m building a version of these folding campaign bookshelves for the “Campaign Furniture” book.
I’ve built several sets of backless shelves such as this – they were common during the Arts & Crafts period – and there are lots of little things you can do to make things start stiff and stay stiff.


I was one of the ones that asked that you include this in the book and am grateful that you did so.
I really like the folding shelf sketches you’ve been posting lately, thanks for the previews!
How are you thinking of attaching the cross piece so it adds enough stiffness in use but removes easily for transit? How to Register to Leave a CommentYou can get a WordPress username to comment using this link.
Enter your e-mail address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by e-mail. My PWM BlogA Quick Hold-open Lid Stay for a Tool ChestIn two weeks I’m moving to a new workshop (ground-floor storefront, yay!). With garage shelves, in my opinion, they don’t need to look fancy, but they do need to be sturdy – I’ve seen far too many saggy garage shelves that look like they’re going to come tumbling down at any moment. Divide this distance by the height of the tallest item you will be keeping on your shelves. I made our bottom two shelves taller to hold the larger, heavier items (like food storage), and made the upper shelves a little bit shorter to hold the smaller, lighter items. If your bottom shelf will have a 21 inch space under it, measure up 24 ? inches and use your level to draw a horizontal line all the way across the wall. I used a combination of 2x4s (for the vertical support posts), and 2x3s (for the main horizontal framework, including the boards tacked to the wall). For a 14 foot wall, I used 5 2×4 vertical posts, two on the end and three in the middle, each spaced about 3 ? feet apart. This is the fun part and if you’ve already measured and marked everything, the building portion should go fairly quickly (with this design). Place them over the horizontal lines you drew and put a nail in at each vertical line (where the studs are). Measure and cut these boards (and all the other vertical support 2x4s) to be ? inch taller than the highest board against the wall. Start at the bottom and place something under one end, while you nail the other end to the perpendicular board that is against the wall. After you have leveled the 2×4 and nailed it to the second row, the remaining rows will go quickly. They should fit right into your frame and once nailed down will offer additional strength coming out of the wall, as well as side to side. With the budget you have, you can actually do a lot of things with it but make sure to canvass for cheap but quality materials. My main goal was to build shelves that wouldn’t sag and would hold up well in the long run. Is there any way you could make the shelves within your system adjustable to give you even better use of space ? I would think that you could use this same design, just duplicate the back and front sides with the vertical beams, and then make sure to include some kind of diagonal support beams that go from the top left to bottom right, and top right to bottom left corners to maintain the horizontal strength. These should work since you don’t need the vertical strength from the wall, just horizontal. It’s hard to resist a good opportunity to build something yourself and save some money!
You will have to pre-drill the holes with a hammer drill and a concrete drill bit, but concrete screws should work, in my opinion.
If you decided to use thinner plywood than I did then you might need to add in more support beams. Just be sure you are screwing and or nailing into a stud behind the wall and not just into the panelling. Since those were secured to each horizontal shelf they really don’t move down on the floor.
I just finished building these shelves in the center of a wall in my garage, there is no wall to attach to at either end.
For the spacing of the vertical beams, I would try not to go beyond 4ft, unless you plan on using thicker horizontal beams. You could then cut all of the horizontal beams, that are to attach to the interior wall, to fit in between the vertical beams. For the width (or depth) of the shelves, I just measured the the widest item I knew I would be storing on the shelves and then made them an inch or two wider than that.
This is my first time on your blog… dropping by from The Shabby Creek Cottage link Party!
Attach the end pieces by applying glue at the contact points and then fastening the pieces with drywall screws. The individual bookshelves came out to be pretty much as I had originally thought, however, my stacking idea did not work for me because I ran out of wall. You could probably get the stuff from the scrap bin or do some dumpster diving for materials for free. I made slight changes to the original Victorian design – incorporating some features that I spied in some other folding units. I actually have need to build something like this soon so I’ll be giving it a go before the book comes out.
But last night as I was trying to get to sleep I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to prop the lid of my tool chest open against a wall. In fact, I’ve actually had a pet killed by some pre-built garage shelves that collapsed.


I wanted to share my experience to give other DIY-ers an idea of a simple shelving design that is built to last. I would also recommend storing all of your DIY chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, or cleaners on the top shelf, so your children cannot reach them (easily…).
Take your stud finder across the wall horizontally (twice), once up higher, and once down lower and mark each stud.
The next horizontal line should be 24 ? inches above that line (assuming all of your shelves will be the same height). I also used ? inch thick plywood for the shelving surface, with the smoother side of the plywood facing up. You can do whatever you want here, but make sure you don’t go too far between the posts so you have enough strength.
This is so that when you lay the plywood down on the top shelf it will fit into the frame for additional support. Replace whatever you were using to support the other end with the first vertical support 2×4. I would still check each row with the level as some boards can be warped and will need to be bent into place. I guess I should have mentioned that $60 of that $200 was buying a new box of screws and a nails for my nail gun, which I obviously didn’t use all of them. I also wanted to use wood because it’s cheaper and I already had all the tools to do it easily. Instead of buying a shelving system, I thought it might be more price-efficient to try and reuse the planks we have. You might want to go with an entirely new design for your situation, however, since this design gains most of its strength from being attached to the wall. Some concrete screws come with a concrete drill bit that is the right diameter for the screws you are buying.
As far as vertical strength is concerned, I personally think the 2x4s are good enough for your situation. Do you think I should remove the paneling from the wall that I’m building shelves on? I will say that you should make sure they are all the way down on the floor before tacking them into place up above, to ensure that they are supporting the vertical weight of the shelf. At the same time, it might work just fine since each of the vertical beams would be attached to more than two horizontal shelves, hindering that side-to-side movement. I’m always throwing away magazines because they seem to be in the way, but this is a beautiful and functional way to display them. I just designed and made a play table for my toddler with scrap materials from another project and made it for like $5 (purchased red spray paint and a dowel). Most old tool chests that I have seen don’t have any mechanism to keep the lid open, though these mechanisms do exist.
This would equal roughly 4.4, which means that you have enough room for 4 rows of shelving with 21 inches of usable height.
Then take a 4 ft (or longer) level and trace a straight vertical line between the upper and lower marks. Nail it into place with only one nail so you can still pivot the board side to side and level it. I personally go for wood than any other material for shelves because 1) it is easy to work with 2) it is exudes a classic warm appeal. I wanted the spacing to be large enough so I could get large tubs in and out, but still have enough support. Having it attached to the wall should also help to prevent it from collapsing to the side, but again, I’m really not sure. I do wish I had a few more inches when storing some of my larger coolers, but I am still able to get them in. Once I knew that depth I wanted, I pre-cut all my plywood to that width so those pieces would just lay right into the frame.
Most of the time, […] T […]Different Campaign Furniture (Different Campaign)Though I’ve been building campaign furniture pieces for five years, my focus has been on British pieces from the 18th and 19th centuries. My shelves were about 21 inches deep so I was able to get two, 8 foot long pieces out of each sheet. If you plan on spacing your vertical beams at 4ft, or longer, I would at least upgrade your horizontal beams to 2x4s instead of 2x3s. This vertical line will be your guide to help you see where to screw the boards to the wall. I found this depth to be good for most tubs and other large items you would store, and plenty of room for storing several smaller items.
You also can put it in the proper order, then you can find the book you want to read easily.
It is an important step, because you can just assume the measurement, because you actually do not exactly know the measurement of your room size.
You may also want to build cabinet doors so you can hide things you da not want people see.
Be careful when cutting it with saw, make sure the markings is right.If you really want to go all out in making it.



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