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How to Build Garage Shelves from 2x4s

In this DIY tutorial, I show you how to build garage shelves from 2x4s and plywood.

Most garages are full of clutter.
In fact, the lack of garage organization prevents people from parking their vehicle in the garage.
So today, I show you how to build garage shelves from 2x4s and plywood.
I designed these simple DIY garage shelves for function so anyone can build them.

Tools I Used

DIY Plans for Download 3″ Deck Screws Laguna Bandsaw Jig Saw (Alternate to Bandsaw) Circular Saw (2nd Alternative to Bandsaw) Wood Glue Brad Nailer Nails for Brad Nailer Air Compressor Hose Reel for Compressor Clamp Leveler Neodymium Magnets

Video Tutorial

There are several things which are difficult to fully explain with words and images, so be sure to check out the video tutorial below.

DIY Garage Storage Shelves Plans

Download the DIY wall mounted garage shelves plans to get started today.

These DIY Plans include:

  • 25 Page PDF with photo illustrations for each step
  • Tool List and Alternate Tool List
  • 3D drawing of each piece with measurements
  • Detailed cut list

Introduction

In order to add organization to my garage, I need to get things off the floor.
Essentially, every item needs to have a home.
So, I decided to build sturdy garage shelves from 2x4s in order to hold my ice chests and outdoor cooking items.
Additionally, I used scrap plywood and particle board for the wall mounted garage shelves.

DIY Garage Shelves

This sturdy DIY garage shelving solution is strong, versatile, and expandable.  Also, it can be built for a single shelf or across an entire garage wall.
Lastly, the DIY garage shelves can easily be moved to accommodate larger items and make efficient use of wall space.
As a side note, checkout this post if you ever break your refrigerator door handle as I did.  ;)

Garage Shelf Brackets

I built the shelf brackets according to the measurements in the picture below.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s DIY Plans bracket size

Sketch Bracket

First, I used a square scrap piece of 3/4″ plywood for the garage shelving brackets.
Also, this plywood happened to be large enough for 2 brackets.  Ultimately, I cut the plywood to be 16″ wide.
Next, I used my tape measure to mark a line 8″ down from the top corner, 1.5″ across from the previous mark, and finally 1.5″ down from the top of the opposite side.
Conveniently, the 3/4″ plywood was a square.
This allowed me to reference the 90 degree angle on 2 sides.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s shelf support brackets
How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s shelf support brackets

Then, I used a marker, a ruler, and a combination square to connect the lines.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s shelf support brackets
How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s shelf support brackets
How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s shelf support brackets

As a side note, I made a few brackets from scrap 1/2″ particle board because I ran out of 3/4″ plywood; however, I didn’t use them – yet. 
If you plan to use this material as a bracket, be sure to laminate 2 brackets together with glue and brad nails to make one bracket.
Ultimately, 1/2″ thick particle board is not enough strength to use as a bracket.

Cut Out Garage Shelving Brackets

I used my bandsaw to cut out the DIY garage shelves.
However, a jigsaw works just as well if not better.
Additionally, you need two side brackets to make 1 shelving bracket.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s shelf support brackets
How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s shelf support brackets

Middle Shelf Support Bracket

The middle support bracket for the garage shelves stabilizes the bracket and creates a flat surface for the shelf.
Basically, I used a 14.5″ scrap 2×4.
First, I gathered a scrap 2×4.  Next, I measured and cut to length on my miter saw.
Then, I used the first 2×4 as a baseline to cut the additional middle supports. 
Obviously, this helps keep things consistent and speeds up the process.
Lastly, I cut 1 middle support bracket for every bracket.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s secure to stud
How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s secure to stud
How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s secure to stud

Wall Mounted Garage Shelves Bracket Assembly

As a quick note, I painted the garage shelving side brackets and middle support with leftover paint in my workshop.
Of course, this is not necessary.
Additionally, I used a scrap piece of 2×4 to serve as reference during the bracket assembly.
This is the 2×4 in the picture below which is not painted.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s bracket assembly

First, I placed the 2 side brackets on opposite sides of the reference 2×4 with the inside of the bracket facing up.
Due to my paint miscalculation, I did not paint the inside of some side brackets and the top of the middle support 2×4 to conserve paint. 
These parts of the bracket are not visible.
Next, I ran a line of glue along each bracket. 
However, I forgot about the 1.5″ of space I needed to leave for the support 2×4. 
I simply used my finger to push the glue away from the reference 2×4 approximately 1.5″.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s bracket assembly
How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s bracket assembly

Then, I placed the middle support 2×4 on top of the reference 2×4 and closed the side brackets on them. 
I used a clamp to hold it in place to make certain the top remained flush.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s bracket assembly

Secure Garage Shelves to 2×4

While the clamps secured the side brackets, I secured the garage shelves.
First, I drove 2 brad nails in per side.
Then, I loosened the clamp and removed the bracket from the reference 2×4.
I verified I had 1.5″ of space between the back of the middle support 2×4 and the back of the side brackets.
Next, I drilled 3 pilot holes per side and secured it with screws.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s bracket assembly

Then, I verified the bracket fit nice and snug on the reference 2×4.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s bracket assembly

I repeated this process until I had 8 brackets.

Prepare Wall Support 2x4s

For these DIY sturdy garage shelves, the wall support 2x4s must be attached directly to a wall stud.
Since I installed this system in a small space, I only needed 2 8′ 2x4s to vertically attach to the wall at 32″ apart.
As a side note, wall studs are spaced 16″ on center behind sheetrock.
I find it more than sufficient and sturdy to space the wall support 2x4s 32″ apart.
First, I used a 1/8″ drill bit to predrill 4 pilot holes spaced around 2′ apart.  The spacing doesn’t need to be exact.
Next, I used a countersink bit so the screw does not protrude the surface as this may cause the shelf bracket to be uneven.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s prepare support 2x4

Find Wall Studs with a Magnet

Obviously, finding studs is an important part of building sturdy garage shelves from 2x4s.
In order to find wall studs without a stud finder, I used a neodymium magnet to locate the sheetrock screws.
Essentially, sheetrock screws are used to secure sheetrock to a wall stud.
Neodymium magnets lock on sheetrock screws very easily, which helps me determine the location of the wall stud.
First, I ran the neodymium magnet horizontally on the wall and slowly work my way down with each pass.
Next, I use a nail to mark the location of the stud through the center hole in the magnet.
Then, I repeat the process further down the stud to get at least one more reference nail.
As a last step, I use my 4′ leveler to mark a line down the center of the stud.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s find wall studs with magnet
How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s secure to stud

Secure Wall Support 2×4 to Wall Stud

First, I place the wall support 2×4 on the line with my leveler on the side to make certain it remains square.
Next, I use a 3″ screw to secure the 2×4 to the stud.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s secure to stud
How to Build How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s shelf support brackets GaHow to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s secure to stud

Attach Brackets

After both wall support 2x4s were secured to the wall stud, I attached the garage shelf brackets.
First, I marked the top of each support bracket according to the drawing below.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s DIY Plans rear view

Next, I placed the brackets on the 2x4s.
My brackets had a snug fit, so I didn’t need to use a clamp to secure them.
Then, I drove in 2 screws per side on the first bracket.
I placed the leveler on top of the bracket and repeated the same process for the other bracket while keeping everything level.

How to Build Sturdy Garage Shelves from 2x4s secure to stud
level garage shelves

Secure Top Garage Shelf

First, I used my bandsaw to cut 2 notches 1.5″ deep according to the diagram below.
I used 1/2″ particle board for the shelf, but 3/4″ plywood can be used as well. 
In fact, the drawing and my DIY plans for this project have 3/4″ plywood as the top shelf.

garage shelves diy plans
garage top shelf cut outs

Then, I used 2 screws (front and back) to secure the shelf to the middle bracket support.

secure garage shelving
secure garage shelving
secure garage shelving

Final Result

These DIY garage shelves from 2x4s provided a home for my ice chests and outdoor cooking equipment.
Also, this garage storage solution allows me to easily expand the system to other parts of my garage. 
In fact, I plan to do just that in the coming months.

DIY Garage Shelves
DIY Garage Shelves

Conclusion

In conclusion, I hope you learned how to build sturdy garage shelves from 2x4s.
Download the DIY plans for this project. 
In summary, this was a very easy DIY project and it turned out great.

Also, checkout my online store for other DIY plans and handmade items for sale.

Wanda

Tuesday 7th of January 2020

Nice job!

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