Home » How to Build Garage Shelves? Step-by-Step Guide

How to Build Garage Shelves? Step-by-Step Guide

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Some extra storage in your garage to organize the clutter is a real boon. Garage shelves are than just what you need. If you have been wondering about installing one and are unsure where to start, then do not worry because here is a complete garage shelf building plan right from scratch till the end to help you build the garage shelf without any help.

We cover two different DIY, how-to-build garage shelves plans here. Each has a unique style. Have a look at both of them to choose what best suits you.

Attached Garage Shelf

Attached Garage Shelf

Tools and Materials

  • 2×4 lumber as per the number of frames you need
  • ¾-inch plywood
  • Pocket hole jig
  • Pocket hole screws
  • Driver
  • 48-inch level
  • Saw

The Layout

You may want to get some pre-cut plywood to fit in the 8′ sections. It saves you from making your cuts. Else you can cut the plywood section to a 48″ length to put them in place.

The next step is to work out the depth. 24″ depth should work great for most projects. However, you may have to tweak this number to ensure that your car can fit into the garage with the shelves installed.

We have used 48″x24″ plywood for the project. You may have to make some adjustments if required so that the garage door can easily be operated.

Get Started

Lay down the guidelines before drilling in the first screw. Else it gets difficult to make judgments when you are mid-way in the project. Use a level to check that the space is even and at a level.

Make a mark leaving a bit of wiggle room. You can then uniformly use this measurement to mark the areas where you will be building the shelves. You are free to make the shelves only on the top of the wall or go all the way down to the floor.

The Cuts

  • To fasten the work, start by cutting the 2x4s. Then drill the pocket hole screws and cut the plywood panels. It will let the assembly move faster.
  • If you are making the 8′ sections, cross-check your 2x4s to ensure precision. Square up the ends, if need be, to make the shelves perfect.
  • It would help if you now worked on the support braces. If you are making a 24″ deep shelf, then cut the support braces to 21″. Usually, one support should suffice for one shelf. Add support in the intervals if you need added support.
  • The support should be placed at least 48″ apart. However, if you plan to store heavy items on the shelf, it pays to add extra support.

Garage Shelf Assembly

  • Cut the 2×4 into small pieces. These can be used as a ledge to rest the support bars on. It is a place where you let the 2x4s rest and keep the hands free to drill the screws. The 48″ level comes in handy here for every 2×4 when assembling the frame.
  • Now that the wall supports are attached, place the 2×4 on the top of the 2x4s already attached to the wall. Ensure that the top of the 2×4 is lined up with the one attached to it.
  • It is a temporary set up so do not waste time screwing throughout. Just screw enough so that it holds the things properly.
  • The horizontal 2x4s are doubled. The next step is to attach the legs and the cloned board. Ensure that they are straight, which can be checked with a level. They should also have enough spacing between them. If the floor has an incline, you will have to measure each leg individually and then cut it.
  • The front of the garage shelf is cloned. You can then take off the temporary screws and lay the shelf front on your garage floor.
  • Now start connecting the center supports. Start with the end support and, using a level, ensure that it is in a straight line. Avoid tightening it at this stage since you may need a little flexibility when replacing the shelves front.
  • The end supports are now in place. Raise the front section back and align all the pieces with the support. Hold the front in its place. You may need some screws to hold them. The levels will help to keep the supports level and make any adjustments if required. Once you attach the support to the front, tighten the screws.
  • Find where the plywood sections meet and place the center supports in the intervals. So if you are using an 8′ shelf and a 48″ plywood section, create a support in the 48″ mark. It will let the plywood get adequate support on all four sides.
  • If you wish to place heavyweight stuff on the shelves, you can add extra support in the interior section. You may then need support at each 24″ rather than at the 48″. Do not go less than 16″ since the floor and the wall joist are placed at this distance.
  • Your frame is now ready to place on the shelves. Slide the plywood in its place and attach it with a nail gun or with some wooden screws.

Floating Garage Shelf

Floating Garage Shelf

Here is another DIY garage shelf step-by-step guide to making floating shelves. It looks tidy and stores your items safely. The garage shelf design also provides ample space to store heavy items under it. In addition, the design optimizes space on your garage wall, letting you use the garage floor as well.

Check this DIY floating garage shelf guide which is sure to impress.

Things to know

You may choose to build the garage shelves with metal, but wood is a preferred choice. Metal adds extra pressure on the garage walls, so it is best avoided.

All you need to do is decide on the space between the shelves depending on what you wish to store. Harwood is best because it is firm and sturdy.

Materials and Tools

  • Hardwood
  • Carpenters pencil
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Chalk line
  • Hand saw
  • Square

Planning and Measurement

Use a measuring tape to determine the shelf measurement. Start with measuring the distance between the ceiling and the first shelf. It should be approximately 12″, which is again based on what you wish to store on these shelves. Keep in mind that the space between the frame and the ceiling does not put extra pressure on the roof.

The next step is to determine the distance between each shelf, which will range between 12 to 15 inches. The higher the measurement, the lesser the number of frames that you can install.
The distance between the floor and the last shelf should be huge. You need to keep the lighter items on the top shelves and the heavier items on the lower shelf on a floating garage shelf. It prevents pressure on the wall and keeps your construction evenly balanced.

The dimension of the shelf wood is again as per your choice, though it should not be wide. Else it is not a floating shelf. The idea is to optimize the wall to get more space to work and utilize the wall space to the maximum. After you have measured the distance, use a pencil and mark the measurements on the wall.

The Construction

  • You have purchased the wood, and the plan is ready. Use a handsaw and cut your wood.
  • Install the shelf ledgers. For this, you will need a 2×4. Place it against the spot marked on the wall and hold it with a deck screw on both ends.
  • Dig a screw on each stud. Cut the 2×4 into tiny pieces and screw it into the wall.
  • Screw the hardwood. You may want to screw another 2×4 before you screw the wood to create partitions.
  • Place your items on the shelf.
  • Building a garage shelf is easy and fun if you have the right plan and the tools.

Your Garage Shelf is Ready

Your Garage Shelf is Ready

With the right equipment and measurements, DIY garage shelves are simple to build and keep your stuff from falling off. The above two plans guide you in creating a primary shelf. You are then free to tweak it and add your creativity, like installing doors to make the garage shelves look appealing.


A garage serves much more than giving your car shelter. It is a place where you keep things handy, be it the car tools, the car jack, or even your gardening supplies. It could serve as a storehouse for your tools. A cluttered garage, however, is frustrating and makes the space unorganized.

Garage storage shelves are what you need to tidy up the area. And the good news is that you can build these shelves single-handedly right from scratch.

So check out the plans to learn how to get things right and convert your cluttered garage into a smart storage space.