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Built-In Shelves


Ana White
Ana White
Ana White
Ana White

Create all the space you need with these DIY Built-in Shelves by Ana White. This design offers great storage and easy access for just about anything! Download the plans and start turning your space into your own Dream Workshop.

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  1. Project Steps

    1. Step: 1

      Mark out all the studs in the wall and attach a 2x4 in the desired shelving length to the studs in the wall. You can also piece 2x4s (for example: we used two 8 foot long 2x4s to create a 16-foot section, and half of one to create 4-foot sections. Just make sure you adequately attach to studs in wall.) Use 3” or longer screws (depending on wall construction). Use a level to make sure you attach the 2x4 to the wall level. Self-tapping wood screws will make your job much easier.

    2. Step: 2

      Once you have the first one up, you can just measure off of it to attach your remaining shelf boards. We suggest figuring shelf heights to fit totes, tools, or whatever you may be storing in these shelves.

    3. Step: 3

      Next, screw a second 2x4 to the first 2x4, in the same length. Don’t screw the screw all the way in, and only put two screws in each board. These are just to hold the boards in place.

    4. Step: 4

      Next, cut 2x4s to the height of your shelving and screw to the outside 2x4 with 3” or shorter screws. You’ll want a leg on each end and middle legs depending on how long your shelves span.

    5. Step: 5

      Now unscrew those screws that attached the second 2x4s to the first ones, and remove the upright leg and crossbar.

    6. Step: 6

      Cut 2x4s to 3” less than our plywood shelving pieces, drill pocket holes in one side, and attach to the first shelf boards. If you don’t have a pocket hole jig, you can drive screws at an angle into the first row of 2x4 boards.

    7. Step: 7

      Bring the leg set up to the cleats, and screw it to the cleats using 3” screws. Then put a screw through the front shelf bar to attach to the cleats.

    8. Step: 8

      We ripped plywood into quarters so it would fit easily inside the shelves. We used 1/2” plywood, but go up to 5/8” or 3/4” if you decide to not use as many cleats.

Comments (14)


  • Hi Ana, Greetings from Montreal, Canada! Great project! I was taking a look at the shelves and was wondering... is the left part really 8 feet long? If both your carts are 40 inches long and you add both 2x4 (7 inches total), I come up with 87 inches total... There is a difference of 9 inches. I want to know because my garage wall is a bit small for a 16 feet unit and it would actually be a good thing if it was smaller than what is written on the plan! Can you detail the dimensions of the whole unit so I can check if it fits my space? Thank you so much!
    By Ian Charette-Brousseau, on January 8, 2018
    • Hi Ian! Glad you're a fan of this project! If you haven't already, check out the blue "View Project PDF" link above that gives more details that may be helpful. The total dimensions of this project are: 192 x 24 x 84
      By RYOBI NATION, on January 9, 2018
    • There is no PDF link for this project! Can this be added or emailed. Interested in constructing this, but would like the detail information in the PDF. Thank you
      By eringale, on February 21, 2018
    • You can view more of the steps under when you click the "Project Steps" tab under the video!
      By RYOBI NATION, on February 21, 2018

  • Hi, I just completed the project. Although mine is not for a shop but rather for storage. It will be for a shop once I convince my wife to get rid of everything. One note on the plans: the materials page says 3/8 plywood is used (which I purchased) and in the steps it says 1/2 inch plywood was used for the shelves. I wish I would have read through the plans first as 3/8 inch plywood is pretty flimsy but functional for light items. Overall, great plans so thanks for sharing! Chris
    By Chris Tab, on January 16, 2018

  • Where are the pdf plans I can download for these shelves? Thanks!
    By mshuntinglady, on March 27, 2018
    • There is no pdf for this one. Just "project steps" that you can click through, as well as videos that walk you through it.
      By RYOBI NATION, on April 18, 2018

  • I can't find the .pdf for the Built-in shelves.  Where is it?
    By cayoder, on April 15, 2018
    • Hi cayoder! There is no pdf for this one. Just "project steps" that you can click through, as well as videos that walk you through it.
      By RYOBI NATION, on April 18, 2018

  • Am I missing something? 12 2x4s seems a little short for the project. Was gonna hit HD tomorrow, but I guess I’m glad I double checked the math. 
    By DescentFormula, on April 29, 2018
    • Hi @DescentFormula It has been updated to 20 2x4s. Thanks for asking.
      By RYOBI NATION, on May 14, 2018

  • Thanks for the guide. I'm going to be attaching this to a cinder block garage wall, will I need different screws to hold the wood to the wall?

    Thanks
    By hurricanedj, on May 9, 2018
    • Hi @hurricanedj we reccommend using tapcon concrete screws. You may consider using a hammer drill and drilling pilot holes first. 
      By RYOBI NATION, on May 11, 2018

  • Hello,

    These plans will work great for a shed I recently built.  The shed walls I will be building the shelves on are 10 ft across and 113" tall.  I wanted to build the shelves 8 feet across and include three or four shelves at about 20" in-between each shelf.  I am planning on making the shelving 3' in depth, but I wanted to make a loft type area on each side of the shed, and was planning on the loft spanning across the top of the shed and measuring 4' in width and the full 10' in length across the top.  Using your shelve plans, do you have any ideas on following the plans up to a certain hight and then adding a wider and longer shelf as the top to create the loft or a longer and wider top shelf?  Also, do I see that there are no vertical supports in the center of what look to be 8 foot shelving on the left side.  Since my shelves will be 8' long, can I just put supports on the two sides, as in your plans?  Thanks.
    By CenCOast_DYI, on February 12, 2020

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Built-In Shelves

by Ana White
Jan 02, 2018

Create all the space you need with these DIY Built-in Shelves by Ana White. This design offers great storage and easy access for just about anything! Download the plans and start turning your space into your own Dream Workshop.

Project Steps

  1. Step: 1

    Mark out all the studs in the wall and attach a 2x4 in the desired shelving length to the studs in the wall. You can also piece 2x4s (for example: we used two 8 foot long 2x4s to create a 16-foot section, and half of one to create 4-foot sections. Just make sure you adequately attach to studs in wall.) Use 3” or longer screws (depending on wall construction). Use a level to make sure you attach the 2x4 to the wall level. Self-tapping wood screws will make your job much easier.

  2. Step: 2

    Once you have the first one up, you can just measure off of it to attach your remaining shelf boards. We suggest figuring shelf heights to fit totes, tools, or whatever you may be storing in these shelves.

  3. Step: 3

    Next, screw a second 2x4 to the first 2x4, in the same length. Don’t screw the screw all the way in, and only put two screws in each board. These are just to hold the boards in place.

  4. Step: 4

    Next, cut 2x4s to the height of your shelving and screw to the outside 2x4 with 3” or shorter screws. You’ll want a leg on each end and middle legs depending on how long your shelves span.

  5. Step: 5

    Now unscrew those screws that attached the second 2x4s to the first ones, and remove the upright leg and crossbar.

  6. Step: 6

    Cut 2x4s to 3” less than our plywood shelving pieces, drill pocket holes in one side, and attach to the first shelf boards. If you don’t have a pocket hole jig, you can drive screws at an angle into the first row of 2x4 boards.

  7. Step: 7

    Bring the leg set up to the cleats, and screw it to the cleats using 3” screws. Then put a screw through the front shelf bar to attach to the cleats.

  8. Step: 8

    We ripped plywood into quarters so it would fit easily inside the shelves. We used 1/2” plywood, but go up to 5/8” or 3/4” if you decide to not use as many cleats.