# Cheap Storage Shelves

Our kitchen was getting too cluttered with not enough counter-space, so I decided to make some cheap heavy duty storage shelves.

Total cost was around \$55 not including tools. Each of the 4 shelves are 21"x 45" and the assembled structure stands 78" tall.
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## Step 1: Materials & Tools

I got all necessary materials at Home Depot. Luckily, my local Home Depot cuts all lumber for free which significantly cut down on the total cost of this build. Some lumber yards charge up to 50 cents per cut, so that would have gotten expensive very quickly. I certainly had the capability to cut my own wood, but it is just so much faster and easier to transport in a sub-compact if you get the store to cut it for you.

Materials:
10 * 8'    2 x 4's @ \$2.59 each  = \$26
1 *  4' x 8'   sheet of 1/2" thick plywood = \$20-\$30
80 * 2.5" exterior screws = \$5 (just buy a 1 lb box)
1" finishing nails

Tools:
Pen
Power drill
Set of drill bits
Level
Measuring tape
Hammer
Clamps (optional)

## Step 2: Cutting the Lumber

You are starting with 10  2 x 4's and one 4' x 8' section of 1/2" plywood.

The plywood will go on to become the shelves, so it will need to be cut to dimensions of 21" x 45". You will need 3 of these sheets and one sheet of 21" x 48" for the top shelf.

4' x 8' plywood --> 3 * 21" x 45" plywood + 1* 21" x 48" plywood

Each shelf consists of two 4' boards with three 18" boards sandwiched between them. These shelves rest on four vertical 78" boards.

Four boards should be cut at 18" --> 4 * 78" boards + 4 * 18" boards
Four boards should be cut at 48" --> 8 * 48" boards
The remaining two boards should be cut into 18" sections until the total number of 18" sections is 12.

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mralex428 months ago

nevermind, I forgot about the two from the 78" boards

mralex428 months ago

How would you cut 2 x 10ft board into 12 x 18' sections? math doesnt add up there..

About to make a similar set of shelves 2ft by 4ft, but with 2x3's and OSB with wheels for the garage. Check out the way this guy does his screws on his shelves with templates(a little OCD) but very secure looking.

http://davewirth.blogspot.com/2013/01/storage-shelf-for-basement.html

Sturdy as all get out and it was a great first project!

xiutehcuhtli1 year ago
Nice drill. Exact same one I have, so we must both be cool.
This is a project I am probably going to undertake on my day off, glad I found it!

Also, could you offer some advice on anchoring this? I have kids who will climb and I don't want them to have this tip over on top of them.
drcj (author)  xiutehcuhtli1 year ago
Theres plenty of room on the undersides of the shelves to use some woodscrews to anchor the top shelf into some studs in your wall. Good luck!
Drcj, I just today completed a set of shelves based upon this instructable.  I used wood on hand (1x2s) for the side and center supports and 2x4s for the rest of the structure.  I also departed from your plans, making a 5-shelf unit instead of the 4-shelf unit featured.

As a novice woodworker, here are some things I've learned in the process of doing this project -
(1) You can never have enough clamps!
(2) Take the time to line up everything square and level, especially when assembling the two side "ladders."  I didn't , and had to re-attach 8 of the 10 side supports.

The unit looks great at our hackerspace.  It's already full of stuff!  I'll need to make another set.
drcj (author)  Otto von Korbecke1 year ago
That's great! could you upload some pictures of your take on the design?
1 year ago

Let's see if I did this right.  The first two images are of the completed shelves.  The third is of the shelves in use.  Around here it filled up fast.
1 year ago
Oh, I forgot to tell you that I altered the dimensions a bit. The depth was changed from 18" to 23", and the width shortened from 48" to 44". This to accommodate the wood I had on hand, and not out of any engineering or design considerations.
drcj (author)  Otto von Korbecke1 year ago
Very cool! It looks amazing. Good job, I hope they last
songbirdfeeder1 year ago
Perfect timing. I'm going to build some shelving for between our two garage doors. Now I can use your plans!! Thanks!
FWIW, my cat lays like that too. She also likes to lay on her back with all four legs in the air.
1 year ago
If I could lend some advice. I build some for my garage. Garage floors usually have some slope to them so that water will drain out. If you build them free standing and move them in place they could be sitting off kilter. I nailed a board on the wall level, set my shelf on it, then nailed the legs on.
drcj (author)  songbirdfeeder1 year ago
I'm glad to know my cats aren't the only weird ones. Good luck with your shelves!
drwebster1 year ago
great!
Geedox1 year ago
A great way to "dispose" of some packing cases and odd lumber laying around! Keep it up! BTW: We have a Cat that loves to lay just like yours!
smalcolm1 year ago
Your cat lays like a corgi LOL.
trevormac1 year ago
not exactly a work of art but what the hell,it does a job.Congratulations
trevormac1 year ago
The Craftsman's Rule; measure twice,cut once
chuckyd1 year ago
While the shelves are attractive and sturdy, I have a few suggestions:

1. Use 1 x 4 trim, instead of the framing lumber. The 1 x 4 will carry as much load on the shelves as the 2 x 4, and present a more finished look.

2. Use a finhish grade plywood, instead of the framing plywood. The surface will be smoother and easier to keep clean.

3. The edges of the plywood need to be protected, to prevent creatures from growing within the plys, and to avoid the inevitable splintering along the edges.

4. Finally, the wood needs to be protected with several coats of water resistant finish, such as polyurethane. Not only does this protect the wood and prevent mold growth, it makes clean up a snap.
kewrw281 year ago
This is one heavy duty group of shelving! I think it will withstand a TANK driving over the top of them. Good Job.
jwebsd1 year ago
Excellent job and instructions! Thanks
drcj (author)  jwebsd1 year ago
Why thank you!
criggie1 year ago
Thoughts - no cross brace anywhere - what stops it rhombusing ?

Is it screwed to the wall - think earthquakes.

Since this is in your kitchen and holding food and equipment, untreated timber is a must. A layer of varnish or something to protect the wood from water and cooking oils and cooking smell would be good.

You MUST not use pallet wood for something like this - that stuff could have any sort of insecticide or anything on it - fine for outside but not in the kitchen.

And something on the bottom of the studs to protect the floor covering? a scrap of lino folded up the sides and screwed on would be ideal. Carpet scraps will get wet when you wash the floor so not suitable.
drcj (author)  criggie1 year ago
The shelves are actually fairly stable in the left-right direction due to the way the joints are screwed together. Additionally, I currently have them wedged between one wall on the left and the door-frame on the right which prevents any movement. if I had these as standalone shelves though, I would either add a cross-brace (which would interfere with the open design) or reinforce the joints with some metal plating.

I have scrap cardboard on the bottom to protect the floors. I am hoping to protect the wood with some type of finish soon, but I currently have no time.
jwhyman1 year ago
I made kitchen shelves using oak pallet wood, which was free. Only problem was the time it took to get the nails out.
1 year ago
Pallets can have all manner of chemicals in them - not recommended near your food or kitchen. They're fine for outside though.

Did you consider a protective layer of varnish to keep the nasties enclosed?
crkalino1 year ago
Not bad! Functional, durable and cheap! It could be made very attractive with another hour or two and some stain!
Wroger-Wroger1 year ago
I actually make these types of shelves for my own home.

With ply sheets up to 1200mm wide by 2400mm long, and timber in any length that you want, you can make them as wide, as deep and as high as you want,

With adequate under shelf bracing, you can make them carry reasonably large loads.

With steel trussing, via rods, cables and screws etc.. you can make them carry far more with a slightly upward camber or a bowing in the middle.

And you can store anything from tea cups to engine blocks in them.

What I like the most about them is that they are OPEN, and stuff is not locked away and forgotten about,

What I also like about them, is that they are made from REAL wood and not that crap paper thin, discount furniture grade ply, that has just enough glue in it, to keep the veneers stuck together... and then this crap-tastic ply is stuck on with staples... and the chipboard is made from particles and flakes, that also has just enough glue in it, to make a board... You know it's NOT lathered with glue and pressed into a decent strong board, it's more like corn flakes with a misting of weak sugar syrup...

And MDF is filled with nasty chemicals that cause blisters on my skin.....

The best thing about REAL timber shelving, is that if you live in a flood plain, you can stack all your stuff up high, and the REAL timber will hold together, while the crap-tastic discount chipboard, the chem-death MDF all soak up water, and swell, and turn to soggy wheat flake breakfast cereal.

The REAL wood - that acquires character and it has a story to tell.

I am also a fan of boiled linseed oil (metallically salted catalyst to speed drying) mixed with turpentine or kerosene 1:3 or 1:4, as a finish.

It's durable and a few "soaking" type coats, for a start and a cleaning (wipe over) and a recoat every 2 or 3 years, keeps them all nice.

I also add a pyrethroid insecticide to the linseed oil / turpentine mix, to keep borers and termites out if it.
zawy1 year ago
You can get a same-sized steel-frame shelving from a big box store for about the same price, but I like wood. As another commenter said, I would use 1x2's for the under supports. It gives 2" more headroom for each shelf and comes out a lot lighter. The design looks like it will be flimsy in the left-right directions because there is no back-plane like in a book shelf. Even the front-back plane looks like it needs two 45 degree cross brace. Again, I would use 1x2's for the 4 extra cross-braces. The 3 2x4s under each shelf in the front back direction are giving this design some of that support I am saying appears missing.
ddw_az1 year ago
these are my 2 cats. Tigger & Nuisance. Nuisance lives up to his name.
JoshHawley1 year ago
That is a really good, and simple way to ensure evenness!
JoshHawley1 year ago
A "T" square would be handy here.
Wantashi Na1 year ago
Well, done and sturdy too
ballegre1 year ago
You can probably get big-box store to rip cut the 2x4s or use circular saw rip fence.