Introduction: In-Stud Shelving

About: I'm an IT professional with a master's in library science. I enjoy woodturning, film making, and being frugal. Sometimes I make stuff that isn't horrible.

I recently moved and began unpacking my tools, only to discover a lack of shelving. My shed is spacious enough to do work, but traditional shelving would eat into the space immensely.

This is in no way a brand new concept, but one that I find is under-utilized. I decided to make shelves that fit within the existing studs.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

For my situation, the studs are all standard 2x4's. I wanted the shelves to be flush, and cheap, so I used Pallet runners. I sourced these from a local medical supply house that receives a large number of wheel chairs and walkers. Their pallets are clean and plentiful. To secure the shelving, I utilized some leftover 2.5" exterior screws from a previous project.


I used a 12" Double-Bevel Compound Miter saw, but this is massively overkill. Anything that can give you an accurate 90 degree cut will be fine.

Step 2: Preparing the Shelf Blank

I began by taking my pallet runner and getting a clean cut on one end. Putting the cut side against one of the studs, I marked an approximate length with a pencil. After cutting at the line, a simple test fit helped determine how much more needed to come off. With this method - not measuring - a chop saw can come in quite handy.

Step 3: Mounting the Shelves

With the shelf cut, I placed a small level on the shelf and marked approximate center across the front of the studs. This is where I wanted the pilot holes to go.

Then it was just a matter of drilling pilot holes into the stud and shelf, and securing it with screws. For the side with the gap on it, a single screw through the shelf was sufficient as the other side held two. These shelves are small enough that the weight they're going to hold up won't be enough to hurt it. Your mileage may vary.

Step 4: Closing Remarks

I used pallet runners to keep it free. Mine had the curved notched sections in them that some folks won't like. Most of my intended objects are either large enough to span the gap, or like the pictured funnels, the hole is actually beneficial.

I haven't yet added another column of shelves, but when I do, they'll be staggered due to the method of joinery. There are obviously items that this will not contain, but this has been the most useful method of shelving I've used with the smallest footprint.

This was great for my small shed items, but would be equally handy for folks with small livings quarters, lacking pantry space, or anyone looking to hide things within the walls. These could easily be boarded over to hide valuables or emergency rations.

If this instructable was helpful to you, please leave a comment or critique!

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