In my post about Getting Organized I discussed building a garage storage rack from 2×4’s. Here are the plans and the process I used to complete the project.
Armed with the knowledge from building two previous storage racks of drastically different design, I researched more options for freestanding racks on Pinterest. The designs are all basically identical with only a few design variations. So the main questions you need to ask are:
- Will the legs be on the front and back, or the sides? (Only difference is whether the rack is 3” longer or 3” wider/deeper than the shelves.)
- Will the shelf frame 2x4s sit vertically or horizontally? (Vertical is more stable, but horizontal takes up less space.)
- Will the shelf surface be made of 2x4s or plywood? (Plywood is thinner but 2x4s are about 50-60% of the cost of the plywood you’ll need.)
In the end, I opted for legs on the front and back, vertical framing for the added strength, and plywood shelving for the extra inch of space per shelf. I then sketched out my plan so that I would know how much lumber I would need and to ensure that I could have 4 shelves for 16” storage tubs and enough clearance on the top for my large storage boxes.
My Plan (sorry it didn’t scan well, but I sketched in pencil):
Reviewing my final plan showed that I would need 19 total 8’ long 2x4s and 2 sheets of 15/32” thick plywood. I would use 3.25 2x4s and half a sheet of plywood for each shelf, and I planned to use another 6 for the legs. Wrapping out the purchases was 2 boxes of 3” exterior screws (about 150 total screws). I bought one extra 2×4 to allow for a potential cutting error and called the project ready to go. If you’re interested in extra support there are several different types of metal construction brackets which could be used to further stabilize the shelf, but I decided not to use any.
Most home improvement stores will cut wood for you on-site, although there are limits to their generosity (typically only one or two cuts per piece). I had the store cut my two plywood sheets down to 2 feet wide so that it would have a straight edge, and so that it would fit in the back of my Jeep which is just short of a 4-foot-wide opening. I chose to cut the rest myself by hand.
I started by cutting 4 of the 2x4s into 21” lengths. These would become the cross supports for each of the shelves and at 21” would make the perfect 24” width of the shelf tops. I then cut 12” off from each of the legs to give them the desired 84” height.
Building the Shelves
With all the cutting done, it was time to begin assembly. I had initially planned to use 5 crosspieces on each shelf, but decided that 4 would be sufficient and placed one at each end and the other two 30” in from each end.
I then drilled two 3/32” pilot holes (or 7/64” after breaking the 3/32 drill bit) for each board and screwed the 6 boards pictured above together to for the frame of a shelf. Repeating the process 4 times produced all the shelf frames that would be needed.
Putting it All Together
With all 4 shelf frames put together, I arranged them on their sides and attached two legs to each one 17” from the bottom and then 17.5” from the shelf below. Each leg was attached to each shelf with 3 screws. These measurements left the legs sticking ½” above the top of the top shelf which will allow the plywood to sit flush with the tops of the legs. Once one side was secured, I flipped it all over, double checked the measurements to ensure it would all be level and attached the other two legs.
With the framework all put together, all that was left to do was move it into position in the garage and place the plywood sheets on top of each shelf frame.
With the work complete, boxes and tubs were then stacked on the shelves and there was much rejoicing.
The next step will be to repeat the process for a second storage rack, this one 6’ long, and finish the proper storage of the rest of our boxes.