How to build storage shelves

This step by step diy article is about how to build storage shelves. If you want to add more storage space to you home, you should consider building wooden shelves out of regular lumber, that can be bought from any diy storage. Before starting the actual project, you should decide the size of the shelves, as to fit your needs. Therefore, you can make the structure wider, taller or you can increase the distance between the shelves.

Getting the job done by yourself could translate into significant savings and having the satisfaction of building something with your own hands. Nevertheless, there are a few things you should take into account, when making the shelves. First of all, buy quality lumber and check if the boards are straight and in good condition. In addition, work on a level surface and check the structure for squareness, after each step.

In order to build the shelves, you can use 1×4 slats or 3/4 plywood. Nevertheless, if you want to store heavier items on the shelves, we strongly recommend you to build the legs out of 4×4 lumber and the shelves out of 2×4 lumber. In this manner, the structure will be rigid enough to support heavier items, but the costs of the diy project will increase significantly. It is essential to plum the storage rack each time you attach a component.


Made from this plan



In order to build food storage shelves, you needs the following:



  • 2×2 lumber – LEGS
  • 1×3 lumber – BRACKETS
  • 1×4 lumber – SHELVES
  • 1×2 lumber and 1×4 lumber – SHELF SIDES
  • 1 1/2” and 2” wood screws – SCREWS
  • Wood glue



  • Safety gloves, glasses
  • Miter saw, jigsaw
  • Chalk line, tape measure, spirit level, carpentry pencil
  • Drill machinery and drill bits



  • Pre-drill holes in the wooden components, before driving in the screws
  • Smooth the exposed edges, by using a router with a 1/4” bit



  • One weekend



 Building wooden storage shelves

Building storage shelves

Building storage shelves


Building 2×8 storage shelves is one of those projects that can be done by anyone who has basic woodworking skills. Nevertheless, you will better organize you home, as the in the new created space, you can store a large variety of items, starting with things you don’t use on a regular basis up to old toys or cloths.

Smart Tip: You can adjust the size of the shelves as to fit your needs, but you should use the same carpentry techniques to get the job done. Build the shelves from 1×4 lumber or 3/4” plywood.



 How to build storage shelves

Building the frame of the shelvesBuilding the frame of the shelves

Building the frame of the shelves


First, you have to build the ladders that will support the shelves. In order to get the job done like a pro, work on a level surface. Lay the 2×2 legs on the ground and make sure the diagonals of the panels are equal. Place the 1×3 brackets and secure them with 2” nails.

Add wood glue to enhance the bond of the joints. Make sure the corners of the brackets are right-angled, by using a carpentry square.


Assembling the frame

Assembling the frame


Plumb the frames and secure the ladders together with several 1×4 slats. Ask a friend to assist you while attaching the slats to the frame. As you can see in the plans, attach just a few slats to lock the components together.

Smart Tip: In order to obtain a professional result, lay the ladders on the ground (with the legs horizontal). Afterwards, lift the structure and attach the rest of the slats.


Fitting the storage shelves

Fitting the storage shelves


After each step, you need to check if the components are perfectly plumb and aligned at both ends. Work with great care and attention if you want to build durable wooden shelves for your basement.

Smart Tip: Use 1×4 slats or 3/4” plywood to build the shelves, as they are both good choices for this job. Install several cross-braces to hold the frame in the right position, while you drive in the screw.


Securing the slats with screws

Securing the slats with screws


Afterwards, you have to install the rest of the slats into place and to secure them with 1 1/2” screws. In order to avoid wood from splitting, we recommend you to pre-drill small holes, before inserting the screws.

Smart Tip: Leave at least 1/2” from the edges of the slats, otherwise you might damage the slats. If you don’t want to remove the shelves in the future, you could install nails and fill the holes with wood putty.


How to build storage shelves

How to build storage shelves


Last but not least you have to take care of the finishing touches. Fill the holes with wood filler and let it dry out for several hours. Next, sand the surface with 120-grit sandpaper, along the wood grain.

Smart Tip: Vacuum the wooden surface before applying several coats of primer and wood stain. Make sure the room is properly ventilated, before applying the stain or paint.



Thank you for reading our article about how to build storage shelves and we recommend you to check out the rest of our projects. If you find the article useful, don’t forget to share it with your friends, using the social media widgets.

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