Take a look around your home and garage. Are your belongings taking up a lot of floor space? Are your closets crammed full of hard-to-reach items? Do you feel like you’re running out of proper storage space? If so, it’s time to consider building your own shelving units to add organization and character to your indoor space.
Below are two ideas and how-to steps for building simple DIY storage shelves. Knowing the concepts behind building these shelves can give you the power to adjust the size and shape of each idea, so you can build creative shelving units for whatever your heart desires.
Vertical Wall Shelves
These shelves are great options for large rooms with blank open walls. You can even include built-in lights to showcase artwork, collectables, books, and more. Note: the following instructions are for one shelving unit. Multiply materials as needed.
Step 1 – Collect tools and materials. The tools you’ll need are a carpenter’s square, a tape measure, and 120- and 180-grit sandpaper. Materials include:
- ¾ x 20 x 72 glued pine panel
- 2 – ½ x 3 72 pine boards
- 4 – 17 ¾-in x 8-in hidden bracket shelves
- 2 D-ring holders
Step 2 – Make the hangers. Screw a d-ring holder into each ½ x 3 x 72 strip centered on its width and four-inches from the top. On the top back of the panel, measure (twice!) and mark one-inch in from each side. Glue and nail the spacer on the back of the panel along the one-inch inset marks.
Step 3 – Sand and paint. Thoroughly sand the front and edges of the panel and the hidden-bracket shelves with sandpaper. Wipe the surfaces clean with a wet rag and let dry completely before apply two coats of your desired paint color onto all visible surfaces.
Step 4 – Install shelves. After the paint dries, measure 12 inches up from the bottom of the panel and center and mark a one-foot-long horizontal line. This is where you’re bottom shelf will be placed. Use the five upper mounting holes on the hidden-shelf holder (may be more or less depending on where you purchase your supplies) and screw it to the panel with the bottom edge of the holder on the pencil line. Repeat this process, spacing each shelf 12-inches apart.
Step 5 – Hang unit. Carefully measure the exact distance between the back hangers and mark mounting locations on the wall. If no studs are available, use hollow-wall anchors and consider using a level to ensure your units aren’t crooked.
Floating shelves are all the rage these days because they are both practical and aesthetically pleasing. Best of all though? They are easy to make! Again, the following instructions are for one floating shelf, so you’ll need to multiply materials depending on how many shelving units you want to make.
Step 1 – Collect tools and materials. Gather clamps, a screwdriver (or drill), a stud finder, a level, a brad nailer with nails, painters tape, a paint brush, paint of your choice, and wood glue. Then stop by your hardware store or lumber yard to pick up one ½-in. x 2-ft. x 4-ft. sanded plywood project panel and one 1-in. x 2-in. x 8-ft. select pine boards.
Step 2 – Cut the wood pieces. Cut the wood pieces into the following dimensions (Note: some stores will even cut them for you!):
- Two: 1-in. x 2-in. x 21-in. These will be side-planks of the frame.
- Four: 1-in. x 2-in. x 6.5-in. These will be the cross-beams of the frame.
- Two: ¼-in. x 8-in. x 21-in. These will be glued to make the top and bottom of the shelf.
- Two: ¼-in. x 2-in. x 8-in. These will be glued to line the sides of the shelf.
- One: ¼-in. x 2-in. x 21 ⅜- in. This will be glued to line the front of the shelf.
Step 3 – Build the frame. Lay the side-planks parallel to each other with 6.5-in in between the two. Evenly space out the four-cross beams between the side-planks making sure two of the beams are flush with the ends of the planks. Screw all parts together.
Step 4 – Secure the top and bottom. Apply a line wood glue to the top of one side-plank and all four cross-beams. Carefully place one of the two ¼-in. x 8-in. x 21-in. pieces on top of the frame, ensuring all sides are flush. Clamp and let dry.
Step 5 – Prepare to hang the unit. Remove the screws attaching the unglued side-plank to the cross-beams. This will give you access to the inside of the box-like shelf and allow to you attach it the wall.
Step 6 – Attach the shelf. Attach the shelf to the wall from inside with a screwdriver. Ensure your shelf is screwed into at least one stud for stability and use a level to make sure the shelf is both vertically and horizontally level before adding the remaining screws.
Step 7 – Finishing touches. Screw the missing plank back into the cross-beams and clue the remaining ¼-in. board to the front. Use a brad nailer to hold in place and wipe away any leaky glue. Apply painting tape to the wall surrounding the shelves and apply two or three layers of your desired paint color for a sleek finalized look.