Introduction: Floating Garage Shelves

Garages are a great places, they can be used for any number of things. For example, a garage can be used for a workshop, or a home business, of course one could store vehicles in them, or like most people I know, they can be used to store their "treasures". I know my garage has its fair share of treasures. And because of said treasures, a good storage system is required to still allow for full use of one's garage.

I am going to show you how to build some floating shelves, which will allow full use of your garage floor space, and maximize the storage space on your walls.

Disclaimer: I built these shelves previously, so I will be posting some drawings of the shelves, and pictures of the final product. If you think that I missed something, let me know, and I will update accordingly.

Step 1: Required Materials and Tools

The top two shelves here are 24" (600 mm) deep, and the bottom shelf is 18" (450 mm) deep. They are 8' (2440 mm) wide. The distance between each shelf is approximately 20" (500 mm). This is plenty of space to fit most every tote. I hung my shelves on the wall such that there was 24" (600 mm) between the ceiling and the shelf. As a point of reference, this put the bottom of the shelf at the same height as the hood of my truck. I can nose my truck right up to the edge of the shelf, and the bumper almost hits the wall.

For each 8' (2440 mm) shelf bay, you will need:

  • 2 4'x8' Sheets of 7/16” OSB
  • 9 8’ Long 2x4s
  • 4” Long Deck Screws
  • 12 Angle Brackets
  • 1 1/2” Long Screws
  • 4 6' Long 6"x1/2" Cedar Fence, or Similar (Optional)

Tools you may need:

  • Drill/Screw Gun/Impact Driver/Screwdriver
  • Skilsaw or Handsaw
  • Tape Measure
  • Square
  • Chalk Line
  • Pencil

Step 2: Plans

The figures shown show the dimensions of the shelf material.

First, you will want to rip the sheet of OSB down the middle to make 2 24" (600 mm) wide shelves. These will be the top and middle shelves. The next sheet of OB needs to be ripped down to 18" (450 mm) wide, and 24" (600 mm) wide. A table saw helps, though a steady hand with the skill saw will work almost as well.

Next, take the 24" (600 mm) wide piece of OSB from the second sheet of OSB and cut that in half, so you have 2 24" (600 mm) x 48" (1200 mm) sheets of OSB. Cut them as shown in the drawing above.

Next cut 3 of the 2 x 4's down as shown in the figure. You will end up with 8 21" (535 mm) long pieces, and 4 16" (405 mm) long pieces. The 16" (405 mm) pieces will be coped at the one edge, such that the short edge will only be 14 15/16" (380 mm) long.

Additionally, you should not need to do anything with the remaining 2x4s.

Step 3: Installing the Ledger

It is time to install the ledger for the shelves.

Measure down from the ceiling for whatever clear distance you want between the ceiling and the top shelf. I chose 24" (600 mm) for the clear distance, but this value is variable. Measure down an additional 7/16" to account for the OSB thickness. This will be the top of the top ledger. Using an assistant or your mad skills, attach the ledger to the wall using the 4" long deck screws. I like deck screws because they typically require a square or star bit. These bit heads are nice because they won't strip out as easily as a phillips head. Install the screws on each and every stud, along the length of the 96" (2440 mm) long 2x4.

Repeat the previous step for the second and third ledgers. The center to center distance between the top and middle ledgers is 24" (600 mm), and between the middle and the bottom is 20 1/16" (510 mm).

Note: If you are going to put this shelf against a corner, you may or may not want to think about putting a shear plate on the wall at this point. I didn't, and just attached the cross beams onto the perpendicular wall. This should make more sense on the following pages.

Step 4: Installing the Shear Plates

Once all of the ledgers are installed, you can install the shear plates (the 24" (600 mm) by 48" (1200 mm) coped piece of OSB) on the side of the ledgers. This is done by using the 1 1/2" long screws to screw into the end of the ledgers. At this point, the shear plates will be quite flimsy, we will fix that in the next step.

Step 5: Installing the Shelving

After installing the ledger, install the edge cross beams. Use the metal brackets to install edge cross beams on the shelves, i.e. the metal brackets will be used in the corners of the shelving. After the cross beams are connected to the ledger, screw the shear plate to the cross beams using the 1 1/2" screws.

Next you will want to install the remaining cross beams. These should be approximately at the third points on the ledger, i.e. 32" (810 mm). You can attach these to the ledger by screwing through the cross beam and into the ledger at an angle. Additionally, you could use more metal brackets here.

After the cross beams are all installed, you can then install the outside 2x4. Install it to the cross beams using the deck screws to screw through the outside 2x4 and into the end of the cross beams. This will create several "boxes" as is shown in the figure. The bottom shelf outside beam will be oriented at an angle. This is OK, because we will be adding the shelf on top of it. Just make sure that the high point of the outside beam is flush with the top of the bottom cross beams. This is also shown in the previous figures.

By this time the shear plates should be pretty sturdy. Install the remaining OSB for the shelves themselves. Attach these OSB Shelves using the 1 1/2" screws.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

If it is desired install the cedar fence across the front of the shelf. You can either flush it up with the top of the shelf, or make a little bit of a lip. The lip is nice for the bottom shelf, because you can make it large enough that the kids can store their soccer or basket balls up there, and they won't role off onto the floor.

The last step is to put your treasures on the shelves.

Thanks for your patience with this instructable, and if you have any questions let me know.

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