How To Build Garage Storage Shelves

  • By: Monica Shulz

We all know how easily garages get cluttered, especially when they double as workshops or extra storage space. An old tire here, a basketball there, some power tools, and before you know it, the entire garage is filled and cramped.

To help deal with this issue, we’ll be showing you how you can create some sturdy storage shelves and cabinets for your garage. These shelves will go a long way in helping you store and manage objects in your garage and create a clutter-free zone.

As a bonus, these shelves go on the wall, so using them saves precious floor space. So, let’s start building them.

What You’ll Need

To build these shelves, you will need some items from the hardware store. Some of these items include:

  • 9’ x 3’ 10mm Plywood sheet
  • 9’ x 3’ 15mm Plywood sheet
  • 4mm Plywood Sheet
  • M6 Wood Screws
  • 25 x 25mm Square Profile Pipe

Cut Out the Blanks for The Cabinet’s Walls

Place the 10mm plywood on your workbench. Mark four points 40cm apart along its 9ft edge lengthwise.

Draw vertical lines from these points to divide the plywood into 40cm thick sections. Cut out these four sections using the jig saw.

Cut Out the Blanks for The Cabinet’s Top and Bottom

Each cabinet will have two sections, so there will be a middle piece dividing the space between the top and bottom. That means you’ll need three blanks for each shelf.

Place the 15mm plywood sheet on your workbench. Using the jig saw, reduce the width of the plywood to 30”.

After that, mark 6 points, each 40cm apart, along the 9ft edge of the sheet. Draw the vertical lines from the 40mm marks to divide the sheet into six 40cm thick sections.

Cut out the sections from the sheet using the jig saw.

Clean The Edges on The Blanks

Set the race on the table saw to a width of 40cm and power up the saw. Pass each blank through the table saw to clean up and remove any excess material from their edges.

Next, sand each edge to make them smoother, so they can align properly when it’s time to assemble the shelves.

Divide The Wall Blanks With A Line

Take a 10mm blank and place it on your workbench. Along the length of the blank, mark a line 24” away from the top edge.

Draw a horizontal line at that point to divide the blank into two. This is where you’ll install the wall that divides each cabinet into two compartments.

Do the same for the remaining 10mm blanks

Drill Pilot Holes into The Cabinet

Next, you have to drill pilot holes into the wooden blanks for the screws that will hold the frame in place. Take one 10mm blank and mark two points about 7.5mm from its top edge.

The two points should be about 20cm apart and 10cm from the left and right sides, respectively. Mark the same points on the horizontal line dividing the blank and 7.5mm away from the bottom edge.

Drill holes through all six points using an M5 bit.  Do the same for all the remaining 10mm blanks.

Drill Pilot Holes into The Floors

Take one 15mm blank and mark two holes 20cm apart in the middle of the top face. Each hole should have about 10cm of space to the closest side edge.

Do the same for the bottom face. Drill holes with an M5 bit at all four positions.

Do the same for the remaining five 15mm blanks.

Assemble the Cabinet

Place one of the 10mm pieces on its side on the workbench. Take one 15mm piece and place it at the top.

Make sure the edges and the holes on both blanks align properly. Next, secure both of them together with M6 screws through the holes.

Take two 15mm pieces and repeat the process at the horizontal line and the bottom edge holes. Make sure their edges line up correctly before screwing them together.

Next, place another 10mm wall piece on the other side of this assembly. Make sure the holes on the blank line up with the holes on the three 15mm blanks.

Connect them with M6 screws through all six holes on the blank. Repeat the process to create the second cabinet.

Cut Out the Backing for The Cabinets

Place the 4mm thick plywood on the workbench. Mark out two sections measuring 36.5” by 30.5”.

Cut both sections out of the plywood sheet using the jig saw.

Attach The Backing to The Cabinets

Take one of the 4mm plywood sheets you cut out and place it on one of the cabinets. Adjust it and make sure the edges of the backing line up with the edges of the shelf.

Join the plywood to the shelf using nails all around its perimeter. Make sure the plywood sheet is suitably flat and straight before you nail it to the cabinet.

Repeat the process for the second cabinet using the other plywood backing.

Cut Out The Doors for The Cabinet

Place the 15mm thick plywood sheet on your workbench. Using your meter rule, mark two sections measuring 15.6” x 36”.

Cut them out of the plywood sheet using the saw.

Mill Long Edges on One Side of The Doors

Take one of the doors and place it on your table router machine. Using the router, create a curved edge on one of the 36” sides of the door.

After this, flip the door and do the same for the opposite side. Repeat the process for the second door.

Once you’re done milling the curved edges, go over both doors with an electric sander to create a smooth, uniform surface. Make sure you go over all the surfaces on the door.

Add Hinges to The Door

Take one of the doors and place it flat on your workbench, with the curved side facing downwards.  Drill two holes with a diameter of 35mm for each door’s hinges.

The holes should be about 1cm from the edge and 12cm from the top and bottom edges, respectively. Once you’ve drilled the holes, place the concealed hinges into each hole and drill pilot holes for their screws, using the holes on the hinge as a guide.

Attach the hinges to the doors using screws. Do the same for the remaining doors.

Attach The Doors to The Cabinet

Place each door on the cabinet and close them up. Ensure the edges of the door and the shelves are flush with each other.

Open the door and extend the hinges on the door into the inside part of the cabinets. Mark out the points where the screw holes on the hinge coincide with the wall of the cabinet.

Drill pilot hole at those points. Do this for all four hinges on the cabinet’s doors.

After drilling the holes, screw in the hinges to secure them to the door. Repeat this for all the other doors on the cabinets.

Attach The Mounting Brackets to The Cabinet

Take one cabinet and place it flat on the workbench to rest on its doors. Using some long screws and a drill, attach flush mounting brackets to the cabinet’s top left and right corners.

Make sure you drill the screws in so they are perfectly flush.

Mount The Cabinets on The Walls

Locate the space where you want to mount the cabinets on your wall. Clean it up and remove any clutter from the space.

Next, mark two points 40cm apart and 6.5ft from ground level. You can modify this height to make using the shelves easier.

Make sure the points are on the same horizontal line by using a spirit level to mark them. Next, measure and mark another two sets of points away from the initial set of points.

Make sure there is about 3m of space between the two sets of points.

Drill the points at the places where you marked them on the walls and add some anchors into the holes. Pound some nails into the holes in the walls.

Hang both cabinets on the nails.

Add Some Braces to The Cabinets

These braces on the sides of the cabinets will support the wooden shelves between them. First, place the 15mm plywood on the workbench and mark six 5cm x 40 cm sections.

Next, cut out the sections with a saw. Sand the edges of the blanks to make sure they are smooth.

Place one blank flush with the bottom of the cabinet and attach it to the bottom. Make sure its edges are flush with the cabinet’s edges and that it is perfectly horizontal.

Next, measure a distance of 1ft from the bottom brace and place another brace there. As usual, make sure it is perfectly horizontal.

Measure a distance of 1ft from the brace you just installed and place the final brace there. Make sure it’s straight before nailing it in.

Repeat the process for the second set of braces on the second cabinet.

Cut Out the Blanks for The Shelf Supports

Place the 25mm square pipe on the workbench. Mark out a 40cm section on one side of the profile pipe.

Set your electric hacksaw to 45°. Place the profile pipe on the workbench and cut outwards from the 40cm marks to create a section with angled ends.

Repeat this process five times to create six sections. After this, increase the length of the sections to 24” and create six more blanks with this length.

Set the hacksaw back to the normal 90°. Use this to cut out three 40mm sections from the 25mm pipe.

Weld The Blanks Together

Take two 36” blanks, and two angled 40cm blanks and place them on your workbench. Form a rectangular shape with these blanks.

Make sure their edges fit right in with each other, and hold them in place with some magnetic clamps. Weld them together at their edges.

Once the welds are strong enough, remove the magnetic clamps. Turn the supports over and weld the other side.

After welding, place one of the straight-edged 40cm pieces right in the middle of the rectangle. Make sure it’s straight, hold it in place with some magnetic clamps, and weld it to the rectangular frame.

Make sure you weld it correctly all the way round. Repeat this process for the remaining two sets of blanks.

Paint The Shelf Supports

Take the three shelf supports and grind down any welds or surface impurities. Place them on the covered surface and paint them with black paint.

Ensure you get an even coat on all the surfaces of the supports. Leave them in an open area to dry.

Turn The Door Knobs for The Door

Using an axe, cut out a 4cm x 24 cm section from a 4cm thick piece of wood. Place the wooden blank on the bed of your lathe and secure it in place.

Start up the lathe machine to start turning the wood. Use the chisel to create a cylindrical piece with a diameter of 4cm.

While the lathe is still turning, divide the cylindrical blank into four sections with a pencil. After this, divide the four sections into two further sections.

The sections should be 4cm and 2cm, respectively. Using a chisel, turn the 4cm sections into spheres and reduce the width of the 2cm long sections to 2.5cm.

Let the spheres flow into the 2.5cm cylindrical sections to create a smooth-looking knob. You can finish it with sandpaper to create a smooth finish.

Separate The Door Knobs

Remove the blank from the lathe. Divide the blank into the four individual 6cm sections using the band saw.

You can sand the tops of these pieces to remove any cutting marks and produce a clean surface. These are the door knobs for the cabinet.

Attach The Doorknobs to The Cabinet

Open up a door on one of the shelves. Place a knob close to the door’s edge and about 20cm up on the door.

Join the doorknob to the cabinet’s door using a screw or wood glue. Repeat the same thing for the remaining three doors and doorknobs.

Mount The Shelf Supports on The Wall

Once the paint dries, place the shelf supports on your workbench. Take one support and drill a hole in the middle of both the top and bottom sections.

Do the same for the remaining supports. Place one of the supports at about 0.75m away from the left cabinet.

Make sure the top of the bottom brace on the cabinet and the top of the bottom section of the shelf support are on the same line. Attach the shelf support to the wall with two screws through the holes on the supports.

Place the second support about 0.75m from the second one. Make sure it is straight and on the same line as the first one.

Next, attach it to the walls with two long screws. Repeat this process for the third support.

Cut Out the Blanks for The Shelves

Take the 10mm thick sheet of plywood and place it on the workbench. Measure and mark out six sections 35cm wide and 0.75m long.

Cut them out with a saw. Next, measure three sections 1.5m long and 35cm wide. Cut them out from the plywood sheet.

Place The Blanks on The Supports

Take one of the 0.75mm blanks and place it between the bottom brace on the cabinet and the nearest support. Take the remaining 0.75m blanks and use them to bridge the space between the cabinet braces and the shelf supports.

Next, take the 1.5m blanks and use them to bridge the gaps between the first and last shelf supports. Do this for the top, middle and bottom sections.

Cut Out Blanks for The Bottom Supports

Measure the distance between the left cabinet brace and the left shelf support. Use that length to cut out three 5cm wide sections from the 10mm plywood.

Do the same for the right cabinet brace and the right shelf support.

Finally, measure the distance between the middle and left shelf supports. Use this value to cut out six 5cm wide sections from the 10mm plywood.

Attach The Bottom Supports to The Shelves

Drill pilot holes in each bottom shelf section for connecting the shelves to the bottom supports. Place the bottom supports you cut out in their intended sections under the shelves.

Make sure you tap them in with a mallet, so they fit tightly under the shelves.

Secure them to the shelves with some M6 screws through the pilot holes. Repeat this process for the upper sections

Final Product

Great work! Now, your cabinets and shelves are ready for use! You can now declutter your garage’s floor and make room for other, more important things.

(Hopefully, not more clutter!)

If you liked this project, you can get more DIY ideas from the ST workshop YouTube channel.

Photo by ST WORKSHOP / CC BY 3.0