DIY 2×4 Shelving Unit

A DIY 2×4 Shelving Unit helped to solve the organization problem in our basement. This 2×4 shelving is easy to build and very sturdy.

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

The picture shows one of the DIY 2×4 shelves that I built. I actually built two because I knew that one wasn’t enough for the number of treasures that I needed to store.

How to Make 2×4 Shelves

It took just two afternoons of work to complete two 2×4 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 these 2×4 Shelves.

Materials

Materials Needed to Make a DIY Shelving Unit

Procedure

1.  The Plans

These are the 2×4 shelving 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 Plans
Simpson Strong Tie Shelving Unit Plans

Read the 2×4 shelving plans before you start your project, gather your supplies, then get busy!

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 diy 2×4 shelves, so I needed two sheets of plywood.  Each sheet of plywood was cut to 24” x 48” using a circular saw.

Plyboard sheets on a trailer

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

Plyboard cut to size for shelving unit

 

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.

Marking corner to cut to make a 2x4 shelf

 

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.

2x4 lumber clamped together




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.

Simpson StrongTie connectors screwed to a 2x4 lumber piece

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

Assembling one wall side of a 2.4 shelving unit

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

Building a 2x4 shelf
Partially built shelving unit

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.

Using clamps to help with building a 2x4 shelf

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

Assembling shelving unit

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

Building a shelving unit with 2x4s and plyboard

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

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

Side view of two  2x4 Shelving Units

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!

Empty shelving units made from 2x4s

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.

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.

Shelving unit made using 2x4 lumber

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

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43 Comments

  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!

    1. 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.

      Paula

  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.

    pinning!

    gail

    1. 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.

      Paula

  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. 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!

    1. 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. 🙂

      Paula

      1. These look great,
        Over here in Australia basements are unfortunately not as common as over there.
        We always watch the home buying shows from America and they nearly always have huge basements – it makes us very jealous of the extra space !
        We do however have a garage which I am building a similar thing to yours.
        I am surprised at how long it is taking me – although I am not the fastest DIY person in the world.
        Those brackets would have been very handy – but don’t seem to be for sale over here…….

        1. In my area, almost everyone has a basement but coastal homes here don’t have them. I hope you enjoy your shelf. It’s too bad that the brackets to make one aren’t available in Australia, it really does make building one easy but it’s definitely 100% doable without them. We’ve now built three of these shelves and I have a spot in mind that needs another.

          Paula

    1. 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!

      Paula

    1. 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.

      Paula

  5. 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!

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

      Paula

  6. 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 ? ..

    1. 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.”

      Paula

    1. 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.

  7. Hi! I’m an editor for Remodelaholic.com and am writing to request permission to use a photo from your 2×4 Shelving Unit post (https://www.virginiasweetpea.com/diy-2×4-shelving-unit/)
    We hope to feature this in an upcoming round up of ours about DIY shelving. We would include a backlink and clear credit to you via the name of your blog.

    Additionally, we routinely publish round-up style posts on our site and if you’re willing to allow us to use one photo from other posts you’ve done, we would love to add you to our directory of sites to feature. As a bonus, your site would then be on our radar for possible Facebook shares as well.

    Please let me know if this is satisfactory. Thanks for your consideration!

    1. Thank you so much for considering my 2×4 Shelving Unit for an upcoming round-up. I would love to be included.

      I would also like to be added to your directory for future features.

      Paula

  8. I just built a heavy duty shelving unit for my wife. Well, it was originally supposed to be mine but I loaded it up with slow cookers, mixers and cast iron.. I added casters and the rest is history.

    1. That is wonderful, Charles! Adding casters is a great idea. We are planning to build another shelving unit and I’m going to add casters to this one.

      Paula

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