Introduction: Garage Shelving (10ft)

Weekend warrior project: Making Garage Shelves (with Repurposed Ikea Doors as Top Boards)

While looking for a new desk top at Ikea, I found a "handyman special" that included the desk top that I was looking for and a lot of other pieces of wood. This included 15 blue doors. While initially I didn't know what to do with them, I realized we needed shelves in the garage and these were the perfect size to use as toppers of the shelve layers for our space + they match the outside color of our home, so added bonus there.

This project can be completed very easily without the Ikea doors- I will include the instructions on how to use plywood.


Below is the complete itemized list, however I will include which parts and tools were needed throughout this Instructable:

Unless otherwise noted, I got everything at Lowes.


  • 15 Blue Ikea Doors: (25 & 1/16th)" X 23.5"
    • $30 for the entire handy man special (this was about half of the pile so $15
      • If this not what you want, you can purchase (2) 4' X 8' plywood like this one for $13.
  • 16 2x4s: 8' beams
    • I would have purchased 10' beams but my car can only fit 8'- if you can, this will make your life easier.
    • $2.42
  • 1lb box of 3" deck screws
  • (2) 1lb boxes of 2.5" deck screws
  • 1lb box of 1.25" deck screws
  • White Paint
    • I used paint we had in the garage
  • Pest Spray Foam Insulation
    • $5 (this is the regular version, pest version is at the store)

Total Cost: $92 + tax


  • Drill
    • I have two drills, this made life easier but not necessary
      • Look for deals if you need a drill set. This one is similar to what I have.
  • Circular Saw
    • see Drill bundle above. I have a different band, but the concept remains the same.
  • Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
  • 2 Large Clamps
  • Levels
    • I have two levels, 5ft one and a smaller 1ft option, most of the time I just used the smaller one
  • Measuring Tape
  • Paint Brush
  • Pencil
  • Safety Goggles
  • Speed Square
  • 6in #2 Phillips Drill Bit

Step 1: Step 1: Measure Space & Attach 2x4s to Studs


Because I am using Ikea blue doors as my toppers, I knew that my length would be the exact distance of 5 of them (125.5").

My totes are 17" tall, I wanted extra room on top of each tote, plus I wanted to be able to fit totes or larger items on the top layer. I have a short garage (only 7 feet 2 inches...) and I wanted my wife to be able to reach the back of the top level (no joke, I measured her arm and armpit height- a fun moment for sure), so not too high either. Hence 3 levels, off the ground, not too high, and a considerable length.

I also wanted to be off the wall on the right hand side if I needed to access the water drain or get behind the garage door.


  • 20 inches between layer
  • Had a helping pair of hands for this part, it is critical to make sure all the beams are level. So after marking the height and distances, we put a level on top of the beam, brought it to the right location, and while the other person pressed the beam against the wall, I drove 3" screws through the 2x4s to the studs.
  • Height of the top beam is 59"
    • Marked 39" and then 19"
    • Accounting for the thickness of the topper, the height between each layer is 60", 40", 20"
    • Used a leveler to make sure it was straight (see pencil line in pic)
    • Mark far right stud, closest to edge of wall without touching (you may want to go to the end)
  • Total length: 125.5" ( or 8 feet + 29.5")
    • I cut one 2x4 into three 29.5" sections and then added them to the length

Step 2: Step 2: Double Up Template


This step is quite possibly the easiest and most fun part of the project. In order to deal with the slope of the garage and to make sure the wall template and the outside template are exactly the same, this step does it pretty quick and easy.

On the first step, I cut three 29.5 inch pieces to create my total length on each layer, on this step however, I chose to cut 6 2x4 at at 62.75" so that the break in the beams wouldn't be at the same spot.

**Remember to account for the width of the blade of your saw (1/16th usually)


  • Cut six 2x4s at 62.75"
    • I used clamps on my table to keep the wood from moving while I cut.
  • PARTLY drive 2.5" screws to attach the wall mounted beams and the outside template- few only
      • I didn't have that pair of hands of this step, so I used my two clamps to put the beams next to each other on the wall and then keep them there while I drilled
      • You will be taking these screws out in the next step
  • Measure the height of the two ends, and the middle
    • All three should be different due to garage floor slope
    • If your garage is tall enough, you can just bring the 2x4 to the location, level it and mark the height directly on the beam
  • Cut the three vertical 2x4s to the exact height of the three locations you just measured
  • Firmly drive 2.5" screws in the vertical beams to the outside horizontal beams
    • Unlike the other screws that you will remove, you won't remove these screws. I did 4 screws in each cross section.

Step 3: Step 3: Remove Perfect Temple

Quick and easy, simply unscrew those place holder screws between the wall mounted beams and the outside ones and you will have a perfect template.

Step 4: Step 4: Joists


In order to attach the wall mounted 2x4s to the template, I went with 6 joints on each layer. I chose 6 because it is 3 on each half, or in 3 on each template beam. This also allowed for 2 joists to be attached on the 29.5" cuts I did to the wall mount.

I created a joist template beam, because I didn't want to measure 18 times. I figured if 17 were exactly the same + the template joist, then it would work. So I laid three 2x4 8 footers next to each other. Put my template joist on one, marked it, then grabbed my speed square to mark the same location on all three beams at the same time. This made it go by pretty quickly. Yes, even with a circular saw.


  • 18 joists
    • Length is depth of the toppers (23.5' - 3")
      • You subtract the 3" because the two 2x4 lengths are actually 1.5" thick, this includes the wall mounted 2x4 and the template 2x4
    • If you use plywood, whatever the depth you want it to be, just make sure you take that length of depth and subtract the two 2x4s.
  • Critical to remember the blade on this. Because I was using the template joist for my marking, I split the difference and cut through the marking, rather than the outside of the marking.

Step 5: Step 5: Paint Before Assembly


Your life will be easier if you do this now, instead of later. I chose to paint mine to add an extra layer of protection and it was ascetically pleasing. We didn't have any white paint, but we had like 20 different white samples of paint (#married_life), so I combined them all and mixed them to make a new white color. Luckily it turned out to be enough paint for the whole project.

By the time I was finished with one section, the previous was dry enough for me to flip.


  • I lined up the joists, painted a side then switched to the wall mounted 2x4s
  • Then I painted a joist side, then the back side of the template
  • Then another side of the joists, then the front of the template,
  • Then finally the last side

Step 6: Step 6: Drill Pocket Holes and Assemble Joists


Pocket holes are needed in order to attach the joists to the wall mounted 2x4, because it makes for a stronger connection between screw and wood grain, I ended up doing this on both sides. It's cleaner and looks good to me.

I used my trusted clamps to keep the Kreg attached the to joist and lined up the pocket hole jig to each end. I set the depth at 1.5".

Once I drilled out all 18 joists, I used the clamps, speed square, and level to set each joist in place then drive in the 2.5" screws.

Turn down the setting on your drill (max was 22, I put it at 10). I also went in slowly so that the joist wouldn't twist with the torque of the drill. If you go fast, the joist might twist or not sit flush against beam.

I also learned that it was more important for the joist to be level and then perfectly flush. You will want to make sure that the beam however is not sticking up or below the 2x4 wall mount or template.


  • 4 pocket holes on each joist
    • I just eyeballed it, looking for even spaces on either side of the jig before clamping down and drilling out the hole
  • Attach all 18 joists to the wall first
    • If you level and square each one, while holding each joist in place while you drive in the 2.5" screws, then the template will be easy.
    • This is where you will really need the 6" drill bit the screws will sit inside of the hole and you will want to firmly get these in there.
  • Line up template and repeat process while keeping an eye to make sure it's level
    • I made sure to do the two ends first while using the level and the clamps to make sure the template went on correctly.

Step 7: Step 7 Add Top Boards & Enjoy!


This is the best part!

I thought I would need to pre-drill a hole of the screws to counter sink them, but it turns out that wasn't needed. I could counter sink them right below the surface with no issue.

I also did not like the idea of bugs burrowing into the pocket holes in the shelving unit, but I didn't want to take the time to make 72 wood fillers and then sand them.. so I used pest foam insulator, which dried really fast, and then used a knife to cut away the extra. On the outside holes that were filled, I just painted over them.


  • line up the repurposed door top board (or plywood board) on the bottom layer first. Because I had 15 sections (doors), I drove in three 1.25" screws in the back and two (corners only) on the front.
    • If you use ply wood, I would drive in a screw every foot.
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