Introduction: Garage Wall Makeover

About: I like eating burritos and spending way too much time sitting around tinkering with stuff. I'm too lazy to think of something to put here but at least it's a description, right?

My garage has always been kind of messy and gross looking so, after way too long procrastinating, I've started a garage cleanup project to fix things up.  This instructable will show how to redo a wall in your garage to make it more organized, increase the storage space, and make it look cooler in general. If you live in snow country, the shelf wall will also keep your stuff away from wet snow on the garage floor.

For the project we'll paint a few pieces of plywood, attach the wood to the garage wall, and screw in a bunch of shelves and hooks.  Placing sheets of wood on the wall will allow the shelves and hooks to be secure without needing to be drilled into studs directly.  The wood panels support quite a bit of weight and, since everything is drilled into the wood, you'll be able to move items wherever you want instead of worrying about lining up with the studs.  The whole project should take a day or two of work so get it done quick before it starts snowing!

Step 1: Materials

Things you'll need:
  • power screw driver
  • ~100 2-inch screws
  • ~100 3/4-inch screws
  • 6-inch wire shelves (usually used for indoor closets)
  • stud wall clips
  • 12-inch support brackets for shelves
  • wire baskets (usually used for indoor closets)
  • wall hooks for hanging things (about $1 each, not the big $10 ones)
  • 4 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch OSB board (MDF works too but it's more expensive)  and cut one board in half for later
  • a paint roller
  • primer + paint
The exact number of shelves, baskets, clips, etc. will vary depending on your plans.  I didn't use wire baskets in my project but they could be handy for holding tools or other things.  The total was about $190 for me.

Step 2: Screw It In

If your plywood boards aren't already sanded (smooth feeling) grab some 100-grit sand paper and sand one side before putting the boards up.  

After sanding, locate the studs in the wall.  I was a little lucky because our garage was drywall, which made finding the studs very easy.  There were obvious vertical lines of screws in the drywall that marked where the studs were.  If your garage is different be sure to grab a stud finder and draw vertical chalk lines to mark the stud locations.  

Put the plywood against the wall and place a vertical strip of painting tape to help show where each of the studs are.  Then, grab the power screwdriver and drill pilot holes for each screw (I used a 3/32 drill bit).  Drive a screw into each of the pilot holes.  You may have to use some he-man strength to get some of the screw in.  Use a ladder for the overhead screws because pushing the screwdriver is tough if it's anywhere above your head.

Garage floors also have annoying slopes which makes putting the  boards up a little more tricky.  You can try drawing a horizontal  line where the bottom edge of your plywood boards will go with some chalk and a laser level (or maybe some other device).  I lined up my first board (bottom left) with a little concrete ledge that was towards the bottom of my wall.  The ledge had a small slope, so I needed to raise the second board (bottom right) about an inch to get it to sit flush with the first board.  I used some LEGO plate pieces to line things up.  Each LEGO plate is 3.2 mm and a stack of plates can easily take the weight of the plywood.  After the board is screwed in, remove the lego pieces (or whatever you used).

Stagger the joints of the bottom and top boards to give the wall some extra support too.  If all the edges of the wall are flush with one another and the joints are staggered, you'll have maximum support.

Step 3: Paint!

Paint on a coat of primer before applying any paint.  Then, paint the wall with a paint roller (these are way faster than brushes).  

I think it'd be fun if you could do some modern wall art or neat, graffiti art to give the wall some identity but there's nothing wrong with a mono-color wall either.  I painted my wall white because I had some white paint lying around but don't be afraid to get creative!

Step 4: Screw in Hooks

Before actually screwing anything in you should plan where your hooks, shelves, baskets, etc. will go.  I doodled a picture of the final product before doing anything and measured the parts before starting. 

Once you know where the hooks will go, get ready to mark spots for the screws.  Grab the hook you'll be using, place it up against the wall, and slip a pen through the screw holes to mark where the screws will go.  Drill little pilot holes in.  Thread the screws through the holes in your hook and screw them into the pilot hole.  Keep screwing until they're all the way in. 

If you're going to hang something heavy from the hook (like the chairs in the picture) try screwing the hook through the plywood panels and into a stud.

Hand screws hooks are great for little things and easy to install.  Just press hard and screw them in!  Try screwing them in about a 45 degree angle for some extra stability.

Step 5: Screw in the Shelves

The shelves will be attached to clips and support brackets (underneath), so we'll need to get the clips screwed in first.  This really isn't much different than screwing in hooks, you'll just just need to make sure all of the clips are level or else your shelf will be tilted.  Try grabbing a ruler and placing a level on top.  Then mark spots for the clips every three inches or so.  Hopefully this will keep all of the clips in line and avoid lopsided shelves.  I'm sorry I don't have many pictures to illustrate this part but I was working alone and forgot about them (doh)! 

After getting the clips screwed in, snap in the wire shelf and get ready to do the brackets.  Place each of the brackets under the shelf and mark a spot.  Then do a pilot hole and screw the brackets in.  They should be spaced about every foot or so but the package has the exact measurement.  Make sure each self is secure before placing stuff!

Step 6: Stock the Garage

After all the shelves and hooks are finished place all your stuff onto the wall and celebrate!  Post some pictures if you do this project in your own garage and feel free to add extra ideas if you have them.