How to Build Garage Wall Cabinets

Written by carson barrett
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How to Build Garage Wall Cabinets
Building wall cabinets in your garage can give you much-needed storage space. (construction,cabinets image by Greg Pickens from

For many people, lack of storage space can be a problem. One area that typically gets messy due to this problem is the garage. Many items that you typically store in the garage are items that you wouldn't want to bring into the house, so having a place to keep them in the garage is invaluable. The good thing is that you could build wall cabinets inside your garage that not only would give you more storage space, but also not take up space that you need to park your car.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Masking tape
  • Stud finder
  • Tape measure
  • 3/4-inch plywood
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • 2 1/2-inch screws
  • 2 by 2 boards
  • Hammer or nail gun
  • Nails
  • 2-inch screws
  • Chalk line
  • 3 1/2-inch lag screws
  • Sliding door tracks
  • 1-inch brads
  • Glue
  • 1 by 2 boards
  • 1/4-inch plywood
  • Finger pulls
  • Trim panels
  • Paint or stain

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  1. 1

    Decide where the cabinets will go. With masking tape, mark the cabinet outline on the floor, then park the largest car that you own in the garage to make sure that you have enough room not only for the car with the cabinets in place, but that you can also access the cabinets easily if the car is in the garage.

  2. 2

    Use a stud finder to locate a stud near the ends of the space you plan to install cabinets. The ends of the cabinet must be anchored to studs.

  3. 3

    Saw the plywood to create two end panels 4 feet long by 2 feet wide, then create divider panels by cutting three boards 4 feet long by 22 1/2 inches wide.

  4. 4

    Hold one of the end panels against the ceiling and the rear wall of the garage, and starting in the bottom corner, screw it into the stud. Use 2 1/2-inch screws every 12 inches.

  5. 5

    Mark the rest of the studs along the wall where the cabinet will go.

  6. 6

    Cut wall cleats from 2 by 2 boards that are 3 inches shorter than the end panels.

  7. 7

    Nail the end panel wall cleat into the last stud an inch-and-a-half down from the ceiling.

  8. 8

    Put the second end panel so the top edge is against the ceiling, one side is against the wall, and the panel is against the outer edge of the end wall cleat. Screw it into the cleat with 2-inch screws.

  9. 9

    Measure the space between the inside edges of the end panels and cut 2 by 2 boards for the ladder rails so that they'll fit between the end panels.

  10. 10

    Cut 2 by 2 boards 20 inches long to act as rungs for the ladder rails. You'll need one rang for each end of the ladder, as well as one for each stud that will be behind the cabinet.

  11. 11

    Nail the end rungs into the ladder rails. On the ladder rails, mark where the studs will be, then nail the other rungs into place. Repeat this process to make another ladder.

  12. 12

    Screw temporary cleats into the end panels 1 3/4 inches below the ceiling and slide the top ladder into place. Push one of the end rungs tight against the ceiling, and screw it into the end panel. Go to the next rang of the ladder and screw it into the ceiling, followed by the other rungs. When you get to the end rang on the other side, screw it into the end panel.

  13. 13

    Drive a nail partway into the wall near one of the end panels an inch-and-a-half from the bottom of the end panel. Hook the end of the chalk line on the nail and run it straight down to the other end panel, then snap it against the wall.

  14. 14

    Add temporary cleats beneath the end panels, place the bottom ladder on top, and screw one of the end rungs into the end panel. Using the chalk line as a guide, nail the middle rungs into the wall, followed by screwing the other end rang into the end panel.

  15. 15

    Put the divider wall cleats against the wall over the studs and nail them into place. Drill three 3/16" pilot holes into the cleats, then attach the cleats to the studs with 3 1/2-inch lag screws. When drilling the pilot holes, space them evenly.

  16. 16

    Cut notches in each corner of the divider panels that measure 1 1/2-inches square. Put the divider panels into position against the cleats and attach them to the wall cleats and top rails with 2-inch screws. Make sure the divider panels are straight, and screw them into the bottom rails.

  17. 17

    Measure and cut the sliding door tracks so that they'll fit between the end panels. Attach the bottom track to the bottom rail with 1-inch brads. Spread glue on the top rail, and tack the top rail into place.

  18. 18

    Cut three 1 by 2 cleats 20 inches long and screw them to the bottom of the divider panels.

  19. 19

    Measure the inside edges between the top track and the bottom track, then subtract 1/8-inch. This will be the height of the cabinet doors. To figure out the width, measure the cabinet from the inner edge of one end panel to another, then divide that number by four. Add 1/2 inch to an inch to allow for overlap. Cut four pieces of 1/4-inch plywood to these measurements to make the doors.

  20. 20

    Put the doors into the rails to see if they fit and can slide in the rails.

  21. 21

    Take the doors out of the cabinet, and mark where you'll put the finger pulls (the knobs you'll use to open and close the doors). Drill 3/4-inch holes in the doors, then glue the finger pulls into the holes.

  22. 22

    Decide what you want the shelf layout inside the cabinet to look like. Screw the 1 by 2 cleats into the end panels and divider panels (these will hold the shelves in place). Cut pieces of 3/4-inch plywood to fit in the cabinet (these pieces will be the shelves).

  23. 23

    Cut the trim panels to fit the front edge of the cabinet and nail them in place.

  24. 24

    Paint or stain the cabinet.

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