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I keep all my spray paint on a shelf in the workshop. This is usually fine, until I need a spray can way in the back and knock over all the cans in front trying to grab for the one I want. Instead of taking up a lot of valuable shelf space I moved my spray cans to a wall mounted system which allows me to see what paints I have at a glance.

This wall mounted spray paint shelf was really easy to make and is a colourful addition to my space, all while keeping my space organized. Making your own is easy and can be customized or partitioned to accommodate any cans you might have in your workshop. 1..2..3..Let's make!

Step 1: Measure

I started by measuring a spray paint can with the lid on. I noticed that some spray cans were slightly longer than others, but almost all were standardized at 8" tall and 2 5/8" (203mm x 67mm).

The shelf I had in mind could accommodate cans both larger and smaller than the standard size, I was using the standard can as a baseline to get the rough spacing for the shelves.

Step 2: Cut Wood

Knowing the dimensions of the can I could start cutting the wood frame.

Wood list:

  • 3/16" plywood:
    • Shelves: 5" x 12" (I cut 7 shelves)
    • Backing: 24"x13"
  • Frame: 1"x8" project board at least 6' in length

Starting with the shelving I cut a sheet of 3/16" plywood into 5" wide strips. After ripping the plywood I cut each strip to 1' in length to form the shelving. I cut 7 shelves in total.

Step 3: Frame

I ripped a 1" x 8" inch board to 6.5", then cut it into two 24" long sections. This would form the frame of the shelf.

Lying a can down on the board I estimated the angle of the can shelf. I sketched the approximate angle with a pencil. I checked the placement by stacking a few cans up the board to ensure the angle gave me enough clearance. When I was satisfied with the angle I used a straight edge to mark the angle on the board. Where the angle met the edge of the board I transferred the pencil line perpendicular across the edge (see picture 2).

Using the edge mark I offset the mark 3.5" along the entire edge of the board. This offset would allow enough clearance for the diameter of the can and some room for maneuvering the can in and out of the shelf.

Step 4: Angled Dados

Using a table saw I set the blade height to about 1/8". Using a mitre gauge I set the angle to match the angle I scribed on my frame.

Before I can cut the dados that the shelves will slide into, I'll need to measure the thickness of the table saw blade to know how much material will be removed (this is known as the blade kerf). The kerf from the table saw blade is 1/8" or 0.125" (3.2mm), the shelves I am using are 3/16" or 0.1875" (4.8mm). therefore, I'll need to make two passes for each shelf to ensure the shelf will fit into the dado.

Using the edge marking as a guide and the mitre gauge dados were cut into one of the frame sides. To cut the other side the mitre angle will need to be flipped to make a corresponding dado. After resetting the mitre the other frame dados were cut.

It's a good idea to keep one of the shelves around to check your dadoes and ensure they are large enough to slide the shelf in without binding too much.

Step 5: Glue on Shelves + Backing

A small dab of glue was applied to the top, bottom, and middle dadoes and the corresponding shelves were installed. A bead of glue was then applied to the back of the frame edges and the 3/16" backing was placed. Clamps were applied to hold everything in place.

After about 20 minutes the glue was mostly dry and I could install the remaining shelves with dabs of glue and then slide into place. The shelf was then left for a few hours for the glue to dry completely.

Step 6: Router Edges (optional)

I chose to router the edges of my shelving to give it a smoother and more finished appearance. I chose a 1/4" roundover bit. I worked the edges on the front and back, as well as the top, leaving the inside edges and the bottom untouched.

Step 7: Sanding

After routing the edges I sanded the shelf smooth with 200 grit sandpaper.

Step 8: French Cleat (optional)

Since I was going to hang this shelf I decided to use a French cleat. I love French cleats as they are super easy to make, offer great support, and look really clean.

To make a French cleat a 45° angle is cut lengthwise into a plank of wood. One section of the angled plank is attached to the back of the shelf with the angle facing inward and the corresponding angled plank is attached to the wall with the angle also facing inwards. When the two angles are brought together they securely hold the item to the wall.

This type of cleat is great because you can just lift the shelf off the cleat at any time. The shelf can also be shifted left or right along the cleat to position it. The cleat is also not visible when the shelf is hung, so you can use a scrap piece of wood for the cleat.

Step 9: Sealing the Shelf

To seal the shelf I used a polyurethane coating. Wearing protective gloves and working in a well ventilated area I applied a few coats of polyurethane with a foam brush, waiting about 20 minutes between coats.

Then, I let the polyurethane dry for overnight.

Step 10: Roll Prevention

To prevent the cans from rolling around on the shelves I installed a roll strip. That way when one can is removed from the shelf and accidentally knocks another can it won't go rolling around. To achieve this I used a timing belt cut into sections the same length as the shelves.

Step 11: Installing Roll Strip

The cut roll strips were installed on the edge of each shelf. To attach the strips I used a rubber cement. Cement was applied to the shelf edge and the the flat side of each roll strip and allowed to dry completely.

After about 10 minutes the rubber cement was completely dry and the strips could be pressed onto the shelf. To ensure a secure bond I used some clamps to hold each strip down for a few minutes. You only really get one chance to apply the strips with this cement, to take your time and ensure the strips are applied straight.

Step 12: Fill Your Rack

All that's left is to install your paint rack somewhere accessible for your space and fill up your paint rack with your spray cans.


Have you made your own spray paint rack? I want to see it!
Share a picture of your version of this project in the comments below and be awarded a 3-month Pro Membership

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Can you email me these instructions with pictures please. The pdf download doesnt work and when i copy everything and try to print it, only the text comes through. Any help would be appreciated. Jeremyericksonmcp@hotmail.com
<p>Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page, then download the PDF. If that doesn't work you can always print the page directly from your browser and save as a PDF. </p>
<p>I really liked the concept and found that I needed something like this in my garage. Unfortunately I lack the ability to dado, for now, so I went with a bit more basic approach.</p>
<p>The basic approach is great if it gets the job done and keeps your paint cans organized. Looking good!</p><p>Thanks for sharing pictures of your build, enjoy the Pro Membership!</p>
Hoping to make onea these, and I quite like the idea of using a table saw to not only cut the pieces, but to handle the joint work too. Thanks for posting!
<p>Cool idea!! stylish, well built, functional...I love it! : </p><p>With a couple of modifications, this could become a magazine rack...sandpaper storage....and about 10,000 other things I have yet to think of. : ) Now I can get rid of the old refrigerator door liner(the inside part of the door, with the shelves, etc.) I have been using to store my spray paints in...TY Sir for sharing!! : ) </p>
I always love adding to my shop, so thank you for the inspiration! I modified mine with wider rows and more of them to accommodate for all my cans (still have plenty laying around). <br><br>Keep on building!<br>-Andy<br><br>Pictures should be here:<br>
<p>Your wider spray can rack looks great! After installing one in my shop I've doubled my paint storage capacity, and could probably remake it even wider like yours.</p><p>Thanks for sharing pictures of your build. Enjoy the Pro Membership. Stay awesome!</p>
<p>Its funny cause the spraypaint wasn't used on this DIY</p>
<p>nice!</p>
<p>Great Instructable. Restaurant bus tubs are my spray paint holders now. Yours is much nicer! The use of the recycled timing belts smart and I also learned the terms French Cleat and Kerf! Thanks!</p>
<p>That's a clever solution, and something I could probably use in my shop. Out of curiosity, how much did the timing belts cost you?</p>
<p>Try a repair shop, they should have some that they have thrown away. </p>
<p>Thanks, Ian!</p><p>My spray area is much tidier now, and I have my paint organized into rows so I know what I've got. I bought my <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CAYU54/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000CAYU54&linkCode=as2&tag=wwwmichaelsau-20&linkId=YIZ6VOLA6S6R5HSK" target="_blank">timing belt here for $20</a>, but you can likely get them for less if you specify a different model/make of your car.</p>
Here is my floor or bench top version of my spray paint and container holder that is two stories built from crown molding and the bottoms are 1/4 in plywood laid in groves aprox. 1/2 in up
<p>Great reuse for that crown molding. Looks like a smart use of that narrow space, and 2-tiered storage is inspired!</p>
<p>I love this rack and will make one myself. I hope to post photos of mine. I will mod it to handle a few things. One is it will be deep enough to contain the entire can. This will allow me to make the rack removable and a carry container. The other will be to have two depths for the shelves. I have a lot of model paint and those cans are much shorter. A final mod will be a replaceable label on the edge of the shelf. Since I use my paint in clubs for kids at church, it is rare that I get them back with their proper lid. I place to put a splotch of the paint color would be very helpful ii that regard. </p>
<p>I love this rack and will make one myself. I hope to post photos of mine. I will mod it to handle a few things. One is it will be deep enough to contain the entire can. This will allow me to make the rack removable and a carry container. The other will be to have two depths for the shelves. I have a lot of model paint and those cans are much shorter. A final mod will be a replaceable label on the edge of the shelf. Since I use my paint in clubs for kids at church, it is rare that I get them back with their proper lid. I place to put a splotch of the paint color would be very helpful ii that regard. </p>
so gonna build this for my husband model paints. it will free up space and he will be able to find them when he needs them.
<p>From the picture I thought that the black thing on the shelves is magnetic backing to keep the cans in place. Seems like I guessed the purpose, but not the method to do so. And old timing belt could be acquired for free in a car workshop I guess?</p><p>As for paint racks, it doesn't really count as making one, but for portability it's great to have a beer crate (for standard pint sized bottles). Cans fit in nicely ant don't fall out that easy either. I believe such a crate could be mounted on a wall as a rack and quickly removed for transportation too. Oh, and they stack!</p>
<p>Love it, going to make one, thanks for sharing</p>
<p>I love this! I honestly should make this or something like it. My corner of the garage would definitely apreciate it!</p>

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