If you have an unfinished basement, a garage or a storage shed, you can store much more in it if you have shelves. Built-in shelves are great, but if you’re renting or want the flexibility to rearrange the shelving units, you might want to make some free-standing shelves. Here’s a simple method for building some inexpensive storage shelves — and you can build them without power tools.
Materials to make two shelving units:
* 1 1/2-inch-thick sheet of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). A full sheet is 4-..feet-..by-8-feet. Cost: about $7.50
* 16 8-foot 2-by-4s. Cost: $1.85 x 16 = $29.60
* 5 pounds of 3-inch deck screws. Cost: $28.24. You could probably find cheaper screws.
1) Cut the 4-..foot-by-8-foot sheet of plywood or OSB into six pieces that are 4 feet by 16 inches. This requires five cuts. The lumberyard or building center might cut the plywood for you if you don’t have a power saw. Accounting for the width of the saw blade, these pieces will be slightly less than 16 inches wide.
2) Cut 12 pieces of 2-by-4 to 13 inches.
3) Cut six of the 2-by-4s in half. These will be slightly less than 48 inches.
4) Make six frames for the shelves. Put the 13-inch pieces between the ends of the 48-inch pieces and join each corner with two screws.
5) Attach the plywood pieces to the tops of the shelf frames with screws — two on each long side at least, more if you’d like. Note that the OSB will likely have a smooth side and a rough side. Keep this in mind as you attach it to the frames. Either side will work — this is only personal preference.
6) Attach an 8-foot 2-by-4 to each corner of the shelves, three shelves per unit. Use two or three screws per joint. You can pick a height for each shelf that works for you. Try to keep the shelves as level as possible.
7) Set the shelves in place.
* For safety, attach at least one corner leg to a ceiling joist or something secure to stabilize the unit.
* If the shelving units aren’t perfectly level, you can use shims to level them — or use the method for leveling a table from Build Your Own Table (scroll down to “Make Your Table Stable”).
* The legs can be shorter than 8 feet. You might want to trim these to fit your space. I cut 13 inches from each and used those pieces for the frames, so I had longer leftover pieces.