Easy DIY Floating Garage Shelves to Make for Storage

Pennies for a Fortune - DIY Cluttered Garage Makeover

Have you ever wanted to get everything off the garage floor and make your own DIY garage shelves? Same! My garage was an absolute mess before I did this easy DIY project. I’m going to show you simple, step-by-step instructions on how to make your own garage storage shelves. 

Trust me when I say this, I couldn’t see the garage floor up until a month ago. From scrap wood to giant tool cases, our in-theory two-car garage was more like a storage space. Ever since I started my DIY journey, (here’s one of my first and most popular projects for you to check out), I had to make space in our garage for a makeshift workshop. Every project would leave a big mess and even though I had a free standing shelving unit from IKEA, it wasn’t nearly enough to keep things off the floor. Buying heavy duty garage shelving can be expensive and the kind of floating shelves I wanted would have to be custom. 

My goal was to create an entire wall of floating shelves to hold large storage bins for all the garage clutter and have easy access to everything. I did what any DIY-er would do, I started sketching my own garage shelves design and looked at other DIY garage shelf projects as well. I particularly liked the tutorial by Modern Builds and was heavily inspired by his heavy-duty garage shelves. As with any DIY project, the best part is you get to customize it to your needs. 

Before You Begin

Prep for building DIY Garage Shelves

Before you make a trip to the hardware store make sure you have a plan in mind. Sketch out the shelves on paper, figure out the shelf height you want, and how long you want each shelf. You could follow my tutorial exactly with my measurements if you don’t want to make your own custom shelves. Let’s do some very important prep work before we get to building shelves:

  1. Clear out the space where you plan on building shelves. I temporarily got a storage unit to put away things so I could create plenty of room in my garage. Trust me, you need all the floor space you can get!
  2. Measure the wall and draw a rough layout on paper to see a visual.
  3. Mark stud locations on the garage wall using a stud finder. I love using my Stud Buddy, it’s such an easy and accurate tool to use. I use a long level and a pencil to mark the wall studs.
  4. Order all your supplies and get your toolkit ready before starting the build so you’re not running out to Home Depot in the middle like I had to!

Materials and Supplies Shopping List

Cut List

Design Plan for DIY Garage Floating Shelves - Cut List

NOTE: these cuts are for my floating shelves layout as shown in the images.

  • 21″ (2×4’s) x 23 pieces
  • 36″ (2×4’s) x 2 pieces
  • 60″ (2×4’s) x 4 pieces
  • 96″ (2×4’s) x 8 pieces

How to Build Garage Shelves

Design Plan for DIY Garage Floating Shelves - Plan

Design Plan for DIY Garage Floating Shelves - Final

Step 1: Lay out the Shelf Frames

Step 1 - Lay out the Shelf Frames

Once you have made all your cuts, it is time to assemble the shelf frames. Lay out the frame pieces as shown in the diagram below. Make sure your side pieces are aligned properly before screwing together the shelf frame. 

Step 2: Attach the Shelf Frames Together

Step 2 - Attach the Shelf Frames Together

Use the 2.5″ wood screws to attach the frame together. This is the best thing about this tutorial – no pocket holes so you can put that kreg jig away! Use a rafters square to make sure the vertical supports are square with the side pieces. Repeat this process for all the shelf frames. 

Step 3: Mount the Top Shelf to the Garage Wall

Step 3 - Mount the Top Shelf to the Garage Wall

Once your frames are complete, start by installing the top shelf at 86″ above the garage floor. I used extra 8 foot 2×4’s as shelf supports while I screwed the frame into the wall. Those 8 foot boards acted as an extra pair of hands so I could rest the frame on them while I screwed them into wall studs with the 3″ long screws. Of course an actual extra set of hands would be ideal to hold the long frames up but if you’re a one-person show like me this is the best solution. I also screwed the frame into wall studs from the short side of the frame for extra support. 

Step 4: Install the Second Layer of Frames

Step 4 - Install the Second Layer of Frames

Phew! The hardest part is done! Installing the top shelf is the most difficult part but now you can just screw the next shelf frame into it. Remember to use a long level to make sure the shelf frames are perfectly level as you screw them into studs. Repeat the process for the second layer of frames, I installed them at 69″ from the floor. Lastly the bottom shelf is 36″ from the floor. 

Step 5: Install the Shelf Tops

Step 5 - Install the Shelf Tops

The next step is to install the plywood pieces or particleboard to the frames to make the shelf tops. Since I got 2×4′ project panels (which are pricier) I didn’t have to rip them down with a circular saw or table saw. That cut back a lot of time and effort. Alternatively you could buy the larger 4×8′ sheets and have them cut to size at home depot or lowes. You just need 1-1/4″ wood screws to secure the tops into the frame. For my last piece of plywood I had to use the table saw to fit it into the space. 

Step 6: Install Vertical Support Legs to the Shelves

Step 6 - Install Vertical Support Legs to the Shelves

For the final step, we’re going to install vertical support legs to the front frame of the shelves. This just means you take 2, 8 foot long 2×4’s and secure them to the front of the shelves for additional support. We’re using 3″ long screws again. When doing this, make sure you lift up the frames as needed to make them perfectly level before screwing in the vertical supports. 

And you’re done! The DIY floating garage shelves are officially complete and you have created so much space for storage in your garage! Now when you open your garage door you won’t be greeted by a giant mess on the floor like I was a month ago. 

FAQs about DIY Garage Shelves

Pennies for a Fortune -DIY Garage Floating Shelves

What wood to use for DIY floating garage shelves?

I recommend using 2×4 common wall studs for the main structure and then using plywood board(s) for the long shelves. Plywood shelves are sturdier than using sheets of OSB. Additionally you could also use particle board for the tops of the floating garage shelves.

Is it cheaper to buy or build garage shelves?

It can be a lot cheaper to build your own garage shelves rather than going the custom built shelving route. You cannot buy long shelves that attach to the walls for these specific dimensions. Some garage organization systems do make customizable shelving but it costs a fortune! The cheaper option would be to get freestanding garage storage shelves but the drawback is that they don’t utilize all the vertical space in your garage. You won’t even get the deeper depth of these DIY shelves by buying store bought shelving. Another option is to use heavy duty shelf brackets if you don’t want to build your own frames. 

How much does it cost to build shelves in a garage?

It cost me about $400 to build these shelves because I accidentally purchased more expensive plywood sheets that I had meant to! You can easily make heavy-duty shelves for around $200. It also obviously depends on your wall space and how large you want the shelves. 

What storage bins to use for an organized garage shelf?

There are a ton of storage bins you can use to organize items on this easy shelving project. I personally used Sterilite Industrial Stackable bins in this exact configuration for my shelves:

These bins are excellent for storing heavier items and fit great on a deep shelf. In fact, even if you don’t have these shelves, stackable bins like these are the best solution for storage in limited space. 

From sports equipment to camping gear and grilling items, I have everything organized in these heavy-duty Sterilite storage bins. 

How much weight can these shelves hold?

These DIY shelves can easily hold up to 50lbs of weight for EVERY wall stud it is attached to! That is excellent weight capacity that you might not be able to get with other deep shelves. Don’t worry, you’ll have more than enough room to store everything you have!

If you’re looking for more inspiration for garage storage and organization, be sure to check out this post on Simple DIY Garage Shelving Ideas! It’s all about different kinds of storage ideas to keep your garage clutter free and I’m sure you’re going to be fully inspired for your next organization project. 

Other Garage Shelving Ideas You May Like

This post contains affiliate links to products that I used or recommend. If you purchase something through an affiliate link, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. I really appreciate your support!
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