DIY Garage Shelves


Article by Kate Baxendale

Photography by Provided

Is your garage looking a little chaotic? That's nothing a custom shelving unit can't solve. Blogger Ana White shares her plan for easy but sturdy garage shelves built with 2x4s that will allow you to make the most of this valuable space.


  • 2 - 10' long 2x4s PER Leg Support (I had 5 leg supports, so I bought 10)
  • 4 - 2x4 - length of shelf PER SHELF (I bought 16 2x4 @ 20' long because I had 4 shelves, 20' long each)
  • 2-1/2" self tapping wood screws 
  • 2 1/2 inch screws
  • Elmer's Wood Glue

Cut List


  • 2 - 2x4 @ 72"
  • 4 - 2x4 @ 17"


  • Tape measure
  • Speed square
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Ear protection
  • Drill
  • Circular saw
  • Sander

Project Notes

  • You can make your shelving as long or short as you want. 
  • The span between leg sets can be altered. Mine are about 5' appart, and it's plenty strong. I'd go wider (6') so that you can fit three of those giant storage totes per shelf. According to the Sagulator you can put about 200 pounds on a six foot long shelf, made of 4 2x4 boards. 
  • You can go taller if you want.
  • You can add more shelves, at any height.
  • Make sure you secure to the wall to prevent forward tipping or racking

I recommend a good self tapping screw so you don't have to predrill any holes (as I do in the video). Try these for building the "ladder" legs - and you can use something smaller, like these, for attaching the shelving boards to the ladder leg sets.

General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Step 1

Mark out placement of shelf supports on each of the legs. Attach legs to shelf supports with 2-1/2" self tapping screws and glue.  

Step 2

Mark out on 4 of the shelf boards the placement of the leg supports. Attach 2 to top shelf and 2 to bottom shelf with screws. I attached the outer boards first, flush to the inside of the leg boards. This will create the basic shape of your shelving unit.

Adjust for square. Then add remaining shelf boards and screw down.

Attach securely to wall to prevent forward tipping or racking.

Finishing Instructions

Preparation Instructions: Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.

READ MORE: DIY Garage Shelves (Freestanding)

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