Introduction: Chemical Storage Rack

This summer I am going to be disassembling the engine in my pick up truck and have been trying to get my garage organized so the project goes a little smoother.  After looking at the shelves where I store my chemicals, cleaners, paints, and lubricants I was exceedingly dissatisfied with it.  I looked around at various retailers for an affordable storage solution and was not locating anything worth purchasing so I decided to build my own.  Hopefully you enjoy them!

Step 1: The Problem

As a do-it-yourself type of person I have accumulated a rather large variety of spray paint, lubricants, cleaners, and other products for use around the garage and house.  The problem is that most standard shelves are 12-16" deep and most cans are only 3".  While you can store lots of cans on a single shelf it can be rather difficult to locate a specific can quickly.

Step 2: Planning

I am much more of a plan as I build kind of person ( I know not the best).  I saw various solutions for what I basically wanted.  The Go Rhino rack is close to what I wanted, but I needed WAY more storage space.  The woodworkers paint rack would be good if I was only storing paint.  I liked the design of the cans leaning, but you can not really read the labels only the caps.  I knew I needed a top, bottom, two sides, and shelves in between to hold the cans.  I went to the local hardware store to design.

After a quick brainstorm I decided to use small angled shelves to tilt the cans.  I decided to use 1"x4" boards for the outer frame, 1"x2" for the angled shelves.They had 1/8" thick, 3/4" wide, 36" long pieces of steel on a super sale, and I decided to use those to hold the tilted cans on the shelf.  I decided to use pegboard backing instead of plywood in case I wanted to hang anything.

Step 3: Layout

Aerosol cans come in basically two different sizes, roughly 7" or 9" tall.  I knew I would need space above the shelf to get the can in and out.  With standard pegboard being 4' wide I figured I could just do 4 shelves with 12" spacing.  the rack would be 3' wide per the steel strips I bought on sale.  I did some mock up work holding the can up to the 1"x4" and tilting the can to see how far I could get it to lean and still be within the framework.  A tilt of roughly 25-27 degrees was what worked.

Now the project gets a little more complex.  I have been cursed with what I call Grandpa standards.  If you are going to take the time to build something, build it to last.  This meant that I could not just screw everything together.  I laid out the 1"x2" angled shelves on my 1"x4".  Traced the outline, took a utility knife and scored the outline, and used a wood chisel and hammer to notch out a channel 3/8" deep.  I test fitted with a piece of scrap.

Step 4: Assembly

The top and bottom pieces of frame were cut to 48" to be as wide as the pegboard.  Since the steel strips were 36" and the framework was 48"  I measured in 6 3/4" from each end and laid out where the uprights would  be connected.  I notched out the top and bottom pieces to accept the sides of the framework.  I notched out 1/4" of material leaving 1/2" of material in both top and bottom boards, I cut the uprights to 47" giving me a frame that was 48" tall (just as wide as the pegboard)

I decided to build two of these shelves so I needed to cut my 4'x8' sheet of pegboard in half.  I wasn't smart enough to have them cut it at the lumber store.  I don't have a table saw or radial arm saw that can cut material 4' wide.  I used a 2"x4" clamped to the pegboard to serve as a guide for my circular saw.  The end result was a professional looking straight cut across the 4' board.

Step 5: Final Product

I slid the uprights in the slots I cut in the top and bottom, pre-drilled holes and attached with wood screws.  I slid the shelves into the angled slots in the uprights, pre-drilled holes and attached with wood screws.  I laid the 4'x4' piece of pegboard across the back of the whole assembly, pre-drilled holes and attached with wood screws.  I laid out the steel strips 3 1/2" above each shelf and attached them.  The end result  are 4 shelves that are 3' wide with 6" of pegboard on each side to hang supplies.  Each of the shelves are angled slightly to easily remove the cans from the rack, but no so much that you can not read the label.  If you have any questions feel free to comment!

The entire project cost just under $60, and only took about 4 hours to complete.  This project would go faster if you have power tools.