How to build a 2x4 shelving unit

Written by ruth de jauregui Google
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How to build a 2x4 shelving unit
Shelves organise your boxes and bags neatly in the garage or pantry. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Bulk storage is a necessity in many homes today. Whether you store boxes and bins of dry goods, clothing or tools, a messy storage space ensures that you waste money dashing to the store for items you already own. Building a simple shelving unit with 2-by-4-inch boards and plywood shelves gives you the storage space you need for that bulk pack of toilet paper, a year's worth of canned goods or the entire family's sports gear.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • 9 boards, 2-by-4-inch, 8 feet long
  • Drill with screwdriver bit
  • Deck screws, 3-inch
  • Stud finder
  • 2 sheets 3/4-inch plywood, 4-by-8-feet
  • Table saw
  • Deck screws, 1 1/2-inch

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  1. 1

    Measure the space before building your shelves. This project is for a garage shelf unit measuring 8 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 27 inches deep. It assumes that the garage has a 10- to 12-foot ceiling.

  2. 2

    Cut three of the 2-by-4 boards into 2-foot pieces.

  3. 3

    Lay out three pairs of the 8-foot boards on their sides, 2 feet apart. Insert the 2-foot boards between each pair, one at the top and one at the bottom, butted to the sides. Pre-drill two holes through each side of the long boards and into the ends of the short boards. Screw together using the 3-inch deck screws.

  4. 4

    Space two more 2-foot boards between the 8-foot boards, at 32 1/2 and 63 1/2 inches. Pre-drill through the sides of the 8-foot boards and into the ends of the 2-foot boards and screw together.

  5. 5

    Locate the studs in the wall with a stud finder and mark with a pencil.

  6. 6

    Lift the uprights into place, perpendicular to the wall and aligning at least one with the wall studs. Place the two ends at 89 inches apart. The third upright is centred between the two ends. Have your helper hold each upright in place while you screw through the 2-by-4 side and into the wall, using the 3-inch deck screws.

  7. 7

    Cut the plywood into 2-by-8-foot shelves with a table saw. If you do not have a table saw, the hardware or lumber store can cut all the wood to size for you at the time of purchase.

  8. 8

    Insert each shelf into the unit on top of the 2-foot supports. Pre-drill and screw to the supports with the 1 1/2-inch screws.

Tips and warnings

  • Move the centre support to the right or left as needed to align with a wall stud. If at least two of the supports are attached to studs, the unit will not fall over in an earthquake or if a child climbs on it.
  • If the garage floor is uneven, adjust the supports so the shelves are horizontal, using a level.
  • Adjust the height of the shelves as needed to accommodate your storage needs.
  • Use the top shelf for lightweight items such as bulk packs of paper goods. You should place heavy items on bottom shelves to stabilise the unit further.
  • Wear gloves and safety glasses when working with power tools.
  • Measure twice, cut once is more than a cliché. Measure, write it down, and measure again to ensure that the unit will fit into the space allocated.

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