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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

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      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

      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

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      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

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      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

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      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

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      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

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      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

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      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 (5)

  • 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
    • 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

    • 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
    • You can view more of the steps under when you click the "Project Steps" tab under the video!


  • 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

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