Introduction: Storage Shelf

About: My goal with every instructable is to be short & sweet with lots of pictures.

I found some parts for a metal storage shelf at a local surplus warehouse and figured this would be a perfect project. I've seen similar shelving sold at Costco for around $150 - 200. But this costed much less!!


Metal Shelf $20

Plywood $10 x 2

Total: $40

Time to Complete this project:

3 hours

Parts Needed:

  • Metal Shelf
  • Scrap Wood
  • 3 inch Wood Screws
  • 2 inch Fastener Screws + Washers
  • Plywood
  • 1 inch Bolt & Lock-nut
  • 90 deg angle-iron

Tools Needed:

  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Impact Driver
  • Hammer

Step 1: Cutting Down to Size

First thing I did was cut the vertical, metal rails down to 5 feet. This gave me enough space for 2 shelves and still have about 8 feet of headroom to walk under.

Step 2: Setting the Wall Mounts

Cut 6 pieces of 2x6 at 22 inches length. The studs are only 16 inches apart but this extra length gives a little wiggle room.

Once cut, you can mount them in the general area they need to be in to support the frame. Measurements don't need to be exact as long as you don't mount them at the level you're planning to hang a shelf (they'll get in the way).

I do however, like to level everything so I put in the first 3" screw, placed the level, then sank the second screw.

Step 3: Mounting the First Vertical Rail

Position the first rail and secure it with a 2" fastener screw at the top. Remember to pre-drill each hole as to not split the wood mounts. Doing the top one first allows you to let it hang from it while you level and set your bottom screws.

Step 4: Mounting the Other Vertical Rails

Here's a little trick that will make life much easier.

Attach the horizontal rails before mounting the rest of the vertical rails. Then level them horizontally before bolting.

Doing this assures that rails are in the exact position they need to be in order for them to lock together. Even just a few millimeters off will prevent the horizontal rails from locking in place.

If you do this for all 4 of the vertical rails (BOTH TOP AND BOTTOM) It'll save you so much headache!!

Step 5: Mounting Vertical Rails Suspended From the Ceiling

First you need to find exactly where the trusses are located. ***DO NOT use a stud finder for this*** The last thing you want is to barely sink a bolt into the side of a truss and then suspend 300+ lbs from it... Not so smart. You want each bolt to hit them dead center.

To do this, use a finish nail and tap several small holes (about 1/4 inches apart) on each side of the truss until you've found it's edges. Then draw lines, marking the truss edges, that are long enough to make any necessary adjustments.

Do this for a minimum of 2 trusses.

Step 6:

Remember to hang and lock all your horizontal rails before bolting this last vertical rail to the ceiling. Once they are all locked in you'll see that they hold in that last vertical rail exactly in the position that it needs to be in. They were even able to suspend their own weight while I got everything secured.

Step 7: Bolting to the Ceiling

At this point all you have to do is;

  • Position the 90 deg angles with the markings and the vertical rail
  • Center the holes to the trusses
  • Pre-drill holes
  • Sink in bolts
  • Bolt the vertical rail to the 90 deg angles with the 1 inch bolt & lock-nut


I like to use two 90 deg angles back-to-back just for extra stability but you probably don't need to if you're suspending less weight on the shelf.

Step 8: Cut Plywood to Fit

The last step is cutting out a piece of plywood to fit the shelf top. If your shelf already comes with something to accommodate for this then skip this step.

Mine measured to be 72x36 inches. I had them cut it down at Lowes before I even brought it home, since I don't have a table saw.

Step 9: And You're DONE!

They turned out to be very sturdy shelves!!

You can see me hanging from them in the picture above. I weight just under 200 lbs. + another 100 lbs stacked on them. They don't budge the slightest bit, even while doing few pull-ups!!

Enjoy!! :)

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