How To Build Garage Shelving

I find it quite amazing how quickly the garage can get cluttered.

In recent years I have tried really hard to minimize my possessions, I have made what seems to be countless trips to Goodwill or otherwise given the things I don’t use to those that might.

And yet, my garage collects, collects and collects! It gets to the point, quite rapidly, where I can’t find anything due to the disorganization and clutter. A big part of my problem is that I just don’t have the shelving system necessary to keep things organized, so I set out to build new garage shelving.  I will explain how to build these galvanized pipe shelves below!

Like most of us, when I undertake a home project, any home project, I try to add value to my home. I attempt to devise ways in which I can add that value, hopefully in a unique way, that is both functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.

With a bit of imagination and just a few basics tools we will quickly change the capacity of this garage.

Preparing Your Garage Space

Garage Storage Prior To Shelving Project
Garage Storage Prior To Shelving Project.

The photo above is a pretty good representation of how the entirety of the garage looks! To begin, I need to clear the subject area of all items. Then, taking a tape measure I determine the length, height and width of the area in which I will be installing the shelving. In this case, I have a power outlet to account for, a water shut-off valve and door and a wall mounted garage opener to consider. I also need to account for the width of the shelving so it does not interfere with the car coming in and out of the garage.

Tools needed to build shelves
Tools needed for the project

Tools Needed To Build Shelves

  • Level (preferably a large and a small level)
  • Square
  • Pencil
  • 2-Pipe wrenches
  • Channel Lock Pliers
  • Tape Measure
  • Circular Saw
  • Screw Gun
  • Dremel Tool ( optional, to move electric box)
  • Saw Horses (optional)

You can find most of the tools I used here on Amazon.

I have determined for this section of wall, that I will have 2 shelves. The lower shelve is 36″ from the floor, 6′ long and 16″ deep. The second shelve is 24″ above the first shelve, 4′ long and 16″ deep. I have decided on these dimensions due to the outlets, doors etc.

1/2" Galvanized pipe, pipe fittings (1/2" elbows, t-joints, base plate) 2" grabber screws
Materials include: Several lengths of 1/2″ Galvanized pipe, pipe fittings (1/2″ elbows, t-joints, base plate) 2″ grabber screws, u-clamp and wood shelving (2″ x 10″) in my case.

The 1/2″ galvanized is strong enough to handle just about any load. With the galvanized threaded pipe you will need to calculate your shelving sections in 12″, 18″ 24″ 36″ & 48″ sections to achieve the length you desire, or couple pieces together using the connection fittings for the desired dimensions.

Measuring, Mounting, & Building Our New Garage Shelves

Finding the studs and Laying out the shelving
Finding the studs and Laying out the shelving

In the above photo, you will notice that I moved the electrical outlet box up a few inches ( from 48″ to 52″). I did this to accommodate the pipe length so that I could have the outlet above the shelf and not below it. I accomplished this using my Makita XT335S 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 3-Pc. Combo Kit (3.0Ah)

Screwing in the mounting plate using 1" grabbers
Screwing in the mounting plate using 1″ grabbers

 

The studs on this wall are on 16″ centers. Once I have located the studs, I lay out the lengths that I desire for my shelving. In this case, on the lower 6′ shelf, I have placed 2 base plates 32″ apart and a 3rd support attached to a stud and then extending downward to the floor. I secured the base plate onto the wall using 4- 2″ grabber screws, making sure that they grab the studs and not just particle board.

make sure it is level
Checking my work to make sure it is level

When I first laid out for my brackets, I used the level to ensure that my shelving would be even. Once I have secured my mounting brackets on the wall and installed the first galvanized pipe, I once again check it to make sure it is level.

Tightening the fittings onto the pipe with a pipe wrench
Tightening the fittings onto the pipe with a pipe wrench

Following the mounting of the lower shelf base plate, I measure the desired length to the second shelf ( in this case 24″) and then I secured the second shelf base plate, once again using the 4- 2″ grabber screws and ensuring that the screws enter the studs and not just the particle board.

galvanized pipe shelves
Assembling the galvanized piping

Once all the base plates are secured to the studs, I can now assemble all the fittings and galvanized piping. Using my pipe wrenches I tighten my joints, it is not necessary to over tighten, just good and snug.

Leveling new shelving
Okay, Call me a level freak!

Once the pipes are firmly secured, I prepare to install the wood shelves. As mentioned earlier, my bottom shelf will measure in at 6′ and my upper shelf will be installed at 4′. I have offset the shelves somewhat to accommodate the wall and the items it contains..outlets, boxes and so forth.

Measuring for my lower shelf cut
Measuring for my lower shelf cut

Using my Makita Circular Saw and some sawhorses, I measure and cut my wood. I can now set the shelves in place, centering them evenly between my mounted pipes.

 

2" U-clamp for shelves
2″ U-clamp

Once I have the wood shelving positioned, I then secure the wood to the galvanized piping. Using 1″ grabber screws and a 2″ pipe clamp, I screw from underneath to secure. This will prevent the shelving from moving and provides for a great complimentary look to the galvanized parts.

DIY Garage Shelves
Finished Product

So much neater and with room to spare! Notice that the outlet has been completed by inserting the cut out section of particle board into the hole that was once filled with the outlet itself, I secured the inserted piece with Construction Adhesive. I also added some hooks to store cords and other items on either end of the shelving. Much better then the before, its sturdy and is certainly a unique look.

Have fun building your own shelves!