DIY 2×4 Shelving Unit

With the new year comes the urge to purge and organize.  This month I’ve been working on organizing my side of our basement and since I have so much stuff that I’m not willing to part with, shelves were needed to hold my treasures.  A DIY 2×4 Shelving Unit was just what was needed to help in my organization quest.

It’s not just me that has the organizing bug this month, so do my Power Tool Challenge Team gals.  You’ll find links to organizing projects that my friends created at the end of this post.  I can’t wait to see what my friends made for this month’s organizing theme!

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit - Learn how to make this handy storage piece for your home.


The picture shows one shelving unit but I actually built two because I knew that one wasn’t enough for the amount of treasures that I needed to store.

I followed these plans to make a  heavy duty shelving unit but later realized that since my things aren’t heavy this shelving unit would have worked just as well and would have been just as easy to make.

It took just two afternoons of work to complete two shelving units and the storage that they supply is wonderful.  I like that I can move them around and if I ever needed to disassemble them, all that I would have to do is take out the screws.

Let me show you how easy it is to make a DIY 2×4 Shelving Unit.



*Some links in the material list may be affiliate.*

*This list is what you’ll need for one shelving unit.  I made two shelving units, so my pictures will show double the amount.*

9 – pieces of 2×4 8 ft. lumber

1 – 4 ft. x 8 ft. sheet of 5/8” plywood

16 – Simpson Strong-Tie Connectors – Rigid Tie RTC2Z connectors

2 – Boxes Simpson Strong Tie #8 x 1 1/4” Wafter-Head screws

5/8” Deck Screws

Circular Saw

Compound Miter Saw


Jig Saw

Carpenter’s Square


Pipe Clamps

Clamping Squares – We have four of these and find them to be super handy!

Materials Needed to Make a DIY Shelving Unit




1.  The Plans

These are the plans that I used to make my shelving units.  In my area, Simpson Strong Tie products are only available at Home Depot, so that’s where all of the materials for this project were purchased.

Simpson Strong Tie Shelving Unit PlansSimpson Strong Tie Shelving Unit Plans











2.  Cut the Plywood for the Shelves

The shelves were cut first because the sheets were large and it was easier to cut them on the trailer and then bring the pieces into the house.  Remember that I made two shelving units, so I needed two sheets of plywood.  Each sheet of plywood was cut to 24” x 48” using a circular saw.

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit Tutorial


Shown here are four shelves.  I cut four more since I made two shelving units.

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit Tutorial


3.  Notch the Corners of the Plywood Shelves

Trace around a scrap piece of 2×4 on each corner of three of the shelves to accommodate the corner post.  The top shelf is not notched.

How to make a DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit


4.  Cut Lumber to Size

Each shelving unit required 8 – 45” rails; 4 – 72” corner posts; and 8 – 17” end rails.  These were quick and easy to cut with our sliding compound miter saw.  (Probably my favorite workroom tool!)

Supplies Needed to Make a DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit



It didn’t take long at all to cut all of the pieces needed to build two shelving units.

Supplies Needed to Make a DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit



5.  Build the Shelves

The connectors were first installed on the vertical posts.  To make it easy, the posts were squared off and clamped together so that lines could be marked with a pencil where each connector was to be attached.

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit Tutorial

This is what one vertical posts looks like.  Keep on screwing connectors into place until four vertical posts (or in my case eight) are ready for the next step.

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit Tutorial



The side rails were then attached between two end posts.  Clamping squares and clamps were essential her to keep things square.

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit Tutorial


After the sides were complete, I finished construction the shelves where they would be used.  Here the end rails are added.

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit Tutorial


Again, to make sure that the shelving unit was square, I used clamping squares, clamps, and pipe clamps to hold it together as I screwed the connectors in place.
DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit Tutorial

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit Tutorial


This project is not at all difficult but it did require a lot of screwing!

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit Tutorial


The next step is to screw each shelf into place.  I started at the bottom and worked my way to the top.

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit Tutorial



I used three screws on the long sides and two on the short sides.

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit Tutorial



Here are the two DIY 2×4 Shelving Units in place, ready to be filled with my treasures.

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit Tutorial




Here they are from another angle.  The shelf to the right of the brown pole was added by the former owner of our home.  It’s really not empty, I just moved things out of the way for the picture.  There is no shortage of stuff at my house!

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit Tutorial



This isn’t a decorative piece, but I like the industrial look that the Strong Tie Connectors give my shelves.

Simpson Strong-Tie Connectors Used to Build a Shelf


The connectors also make these shelves incredible sturdy.

Simpson Strong Tie Connectors Used to Build a Shelving Unit


Here are my new shelves filled with my treasures.  I don’t have room upstairs for decorative items that aren’t currently being used and these shelves are the perfect spot for storing my things.  Most bloggers probably wouldn’t show you a picture like this that isn’t perfectly styled but this is real life and I’m all about sharing that.

If you are wondering about the cabinet to the left of the shelves, Mr. SP made it for me years ago and it’s full of craft supplies.

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit


My side of the basement is looking better and is much more organized thanks to my DIY 2×4 Shelving Units.  If you have a basement or garage that needs shelves, this may be a project that would be very useful in your home.

DIY 2x4 Shelving Unit - Learn how to make this useful piece for your home.



Now for the fun part!  Enjoy these organizing projects created by my friends.

The Kim Six Fix – Under Cabinet Storage

My Repurposed Life – Repurposed Drawer Dog Toy Box

H2OBungalow – DIY Hanging Jewelry Organizer

Create And Babble – Pallet Wood Entryway Bench with Shoe Storage

The DIY Bungalow – Reclaimed Wood Shelves

Designed Decor – Repurposed Radio Cabinet Coffee Bar Drink Station

Domestically Speaking – Easiest DIY Drawer Organization

Refresh Restyle – Mudroom Storage Idea

My Love 2 Create – Drawer Storage Shelf

Thrift Diving – How to make a DIY Pegboard Organizer for Your Garage or Craft Room

9 DIY Organizing Projects That You Can Make - Great projects for organizing your home.


  1. Wow! Your post & project is perfect timing. Our garage is a catch ll basin of insanity and has been for 3 years. We keep saying we are going to change that and build shelves. This is the year we’ve committed to doing it! Saving this for the near future, love how strong your shelves look as well as how simple they are to build!
    Wendi@H2OBungalow recently posted…Hanging DIY Hidden Jewelry OrganizerMy Profile

    • These shelves are perfect for storage. The set I built is for heavy duty items and after I finished the project, I realized that there were directions on the Simpson Strong-Tie site for a less heavy duty version that would have been a lot cheaper to build. If you don’t have heavy items to store, I’d check out the less heavy duty directions because what I built ended up being pretty costly, mostly because of the price of the strong ties.


  2. Paula,

    Great tutorial for diy shelving. I need about 5 of these units for my blog staging items. Currently the totes are just stacked on top of each other.



    • Blog staging items take up a lot of room, Gail! I am glad to have my things on shelves and out where I can see them.


  3. These are great! Everyone needs these for extra storage. I know my life was so much easier after we built ours in our basement storage area. You did an awesome tutorial!

  4. I need to build about 5 of these for our garage.
    Maryann @ Domestically Speaking recently posted…Easiest DIY Drawer OrganizationMy Profile

  5. Man, these bad boys look heavy duty! I haven’t ever used this metal shelving brackets, but I like the idea of using them because they’re super strong. No pocket holes needed! Now you can fill them up! 🙂 Pinning!

  6. This is great Paula, I could use some of these in my garage! Strong Tie connectors are super sturdy and easy to use!
    Mindi recently posted…3 Drawer Storage ShelfMy Profile

    • These shelves would be perfect for a garage, Mindi. Wish we had a garage. Our neighborhood came along before garages were common. Thank goodness for a big basement and an outdoor shed. 🙂


  7. My basement could use about six of these! It seems like using the Simpson Strong-Ties is the way to go for these type of shelves. Pinning for future use!

  8. Those shelves look so useful! And strong! Awesome project!

  9. What a great idea. I love the industrial look also. You should share a photo of them full too! Great job this month.

    • Thanks, Kim. If you visit us at the lake next summer, you just may see a set of these shelves there. They are so handy!


  10. It looks great, Paula. The perfect way to store all your wonderful treasures. I was just thinking that I need a “prop room” and these shelves are ideal for that!
    Angie @ Postcards from the Ridge recently posted…Small Laundry Room Refresh – $100 Room ChallengeMy Profile

    • The shelves are great for storing all of my treasures, Angie. Since you are like me and love vintage and antiques, I’m sure that you have just as many things that need storage. A “prop room” would be awesome to have.


  11. Oh wow! Those are some awesome shelving units! I bet they make you so much happier, now that you can more easily store and view your decor! Your basement is like a treasure chest!
    Megan recently posted…My December 2016 Stitch Fix ReviewMy Profile

    • It made me so, so happy to get my things more organized. Our basement definitely is a treasure chest of “stuff”.


  12. Those aren’t going anywhere – nice strong and sturdy shelving. Could use some of these!
    Marie from The Interior Frugalista recently posted…Mid-Century Modern Bookshelf Transformed Into A Funky BarMy Profile

  13. Sherrie Fails says:

    LOL…please don’t take this question as if I didn’t pay attention to the actual subject ….lol.. love it ….but I couldn’t go on with Albert E. in the background …( one my fav. )…I’ve tried cpl different ways to read the words next to his pic. …I can’t enlarge enough …Please ??….what does it say ? ..

    • My husband will be thrilled that you like his poster. I’m pretty sure it is a relic from his college days and he will soon be 54. 🙂

      The quote on the poster says, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”


  14. Michael T says:

    How about plans for the cabinet to the left of the shelves

    • Sweet Pea says:

      My husband built the cabinet beside my shelves long ago. At this time, I don’t have any plans available for how he made it. Perhaps that could be a future blog post. Thanks so much for your interest in it.


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