Simple and Cheap Locker Shelf

Introduction: Simple and Cheap Locker Shelf

About: I work as a musical instrument repair technician. Outside of work hours I bury myself in art projects, work out at the gym, waste time on the Internet, play French horn in a band, play trombone in another band…

My locker at the local hackerspace was a mess. I made a shelf to fix that. It cost me nothing but 10-15 minutes of my time. Here's what I did.

Time: Barely any
Skill: Not much
Cost: None

Step 1: Materials

  • Corrugated cardboard; the thicker the better
  • Knife

Optional, But Will Make Things Easier
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Ruler or other long, straight object

Step 2: Building It

I work in a music store. Tubas get shipped in boxes made of this wonderfully sturdy cardboard. I've had several sheets of it kicking around for a while now, and decided this was a good use for them. Home appliance boxes (fridges, washers, etc.) are also good. Raid the trash behind an appliance store, or steal the box from a neighbour's new stove. Alternately, layer several thinner sheets for strength if none of the thick stuff is available.

I trust everybody has something knife-y already.

Measure the the locker/cabinet/wherever the shelf is going. Either use the tape measure or just hold the cardboard up to the thing and mark off the size needed. A few millimetres off won't make too much difference, but it's better to have a bit too much than not enough.

Once the top part is cut, measure the desired clearance and cut the side supports.

Run the corrugation "grain" crosswise for the shelf platter, and vertically on the supports, for extra strength. Thinner stuff especially can begin to sag under heavy loads.

Step 3: Organize All That Crap

Get that mess out of there, toss all the useless detritus that has accumulated since the last time it was emptied, maybe take the time to really scrub it out, and then get the shelf in place. Put everything back in and enjoy the new second storey of storage space. If there's enough room, why not even add another shelf on top? Or several shelves, if it's a really tall locker.

Want it all fancy? It's cardboard. Once it's sized to fit the locker, grab some craft glue and old magazines and découpage it. Paint it. Papier-mâché it.

The plastic boxes stuck to the door are my Sugru'd Dremel burr cases.

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    5 Discussions


    Question 11 months ago on Introduction

    How did you manage to get the support pieces to stand up by themselves? Or is the top piece attached to them somehow? I will definitely be making this for my work locker!

    Chimera Dragonfang
    Chimera Dragonfang

    Answer 10 months ago

    I used really chunky cardboard (close to 15mm thick) so the side supports stand up on their own, and then it's just gravity and friction keeping the top in place. If yours keep falling over, slap some double-sided tape or BluTack on the sides to stick them to the locker walls.


    3 years ago

    I love this idea for my work locker, at Lowe's we have these small square but semi-deep lockers that can get real messy if you try to keep all sorts of food and life supplies in them like a lot of us do (a serious downside of not owning a car/using public transit is that you have to stash daily/life stuff everywhere you go so you don't need to keep it in your backpack). I've already got a tiny carboard box in one of the back corners, tall enough and almost deep enough to fit 2 soda cans into and then 2 plastic boxes from deck screws rest on top with small items in them, but I need a shelf that spans the width of the locker. I also don't want to spend money on it, so snagging a piece of cardboard from receiving and reinforcing it all with packing tape is perfect. I'll probably make a bunch of these for the others at work too. Such a free, easy, and USEFUL idea. Will post a pic when I do this. Thanks!

    Chimera Dragonfang
    Chimera Dragonfang

    Reply 3 years ago

    I walk or take public transit everywhere I need to go too, so I know how it is to lug stuff around with you. The lockers I made this shelf for are about 1.5 times deeper than they are tall, so I was having a hell of a time digging things out of it without having something to stand on. Putting a shelf in helped a lot, and now I don't need to drag out half the contents to find things all the way at the back. Makes me wish I'd thought of doing this with my high school locker too, since half our textbooks were just the slightest bit too big to fit on the built-in shelf.


    4 years ago

    * claps * Bravo, you proved me stupid.