Learn how to make DIY Corner Shelves for your garage or pole barn in this easy step-by-step tutorial. This storage solution will help you get organized.
Create More Storage When You Need It
If you’re like me, you probably have a propensity to collect “stuff”. While most of it has a purpose, there are a lot of items that need to be stored while not in use.
When Carrie and I put up a pole barn a couple of years ago, one of the main purposes was additional storage to help keep things neat and organized. I wanted to achieve this in a way that minimized the required floor space while maximizing storage. Another requirement was for the storage to be easily accessed, so rafter storage wasn’t going to work.
Go Vertical and Use Corner Space Wisely
My final solution was to go vertical and tuck the shelving tightly into the corner. As you can see from the pictures of our DIY corner shelves, I also went out of my way to avoid a support post at the crux of the L shape to maximize usable space. I hope you’ll agree that the end result was a lot of usable shelving space with minimal reduction of floor space.
How to Make DIY Corner Shelves for Garage or Pole Barn
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Basic Materials and Tools:
- 4 ft. X 8 ft. Plywood Sheets – 15/32 in.
- #9 x 3-in Countersinking-Head Polymer-Coated Star-Drive Deck Screws
- Alternate Choice: #9 x 3 1/8-in Star Drive Bugle Head R4 Multi-Purpose Wood Screw
- #8 x 1.625-in Countersinking-Head Polymer-Coated Star-Drive Deck Screws (for joist hangers)
- Alternate Choice: #8 x 1-1/4 in. Star Flat-Head Wood Deck Screws
- 2 in. x 4 in. x 96 in. Premium Kiln-Dried Whitewood Studs
- 2 in x 4 in Triple Zinc Slant Nail Joist Hangers
- Alternate Choice: 2 in. x 4 in. Galvanized Double Shear Face Mount Joist Hanger
- Drill/Impact Driver
- Framing Square
- Measuring Tape
- Circular Saw or Table Saw (Miter saw is also useful for cutting studs to length)
I haven’t listed any material quantities since every project will be different. This DIY corner shelves tutorial will give you some basic ideas, but you’ll need to figure out quantities for your exact configuration.
The shorter screws listed are just used for the joist hangers, everywhere else I used the longer screws.
Just to reiterate, every project will be a little bit different, so my intent here is only to give ideas and get you started on the right track for DIY corner shelves.
1. Frame the shelves.
The process for forming the frame is pretty straightforward.
2 in x 4 in studs are used for both the vertical and horizontal shelf members. One key in reducing the cost for DIY corner shelves is to make sure that you use the existing posts from the barn itself rather than adding vertical studs to the back of the structure.
The picture below shows how I was able to anchor to the existing posts. In fact, connecting to those posts will drive a lot of the dimensional requirements.
Determine how many shelves you want.
Now that you have a general direction for where to go with DIY corner shelves, it’s time to determine how many shelves you want. I chose to set the height of the shelving at 8 ft so that I could use full studs on the vertical members and avoid any cuts. I chose to go with four total shelves, the final one actually being the very top of the structure.
I evenly split up spacing on the DIY corner shelves but then adjusted slightly so I could fit some taller items on the bottom.
Make a Sketch To Determine A Materials List
Once you’ve chosen the number of shelves, you just need to do a sketch of the frame of one of the shelving layers. From that sketch, make a materials list with the required lengths of each of the shelf structural studs. Remember, you’ll need to multiply the final number of structural studs by the number of shelves.
Maximize Utilization of the Studs to Avoid Waste
Once you have that list, I recommend spending some time to figure out how to maximize utilization of the studs to avoid waste. If you’re brave you can make all the cuts at once for each shelf. This will reduce saw setup time.
In my case, I did the bottom shelf first to make sure I was happy with it and then did all the cuts for the final three shelves at the same time. Below are some pictures showing how I joined different parts of the structure for the DIY corner shelves.
Long deck screws were used to connect to the existing building post.
Joist hangers were used in places that I could not get screws in from the back side.
The shorter deck screws were used to attach the joist hangers to prevent the screw head from poking out the back side of the board.
This shows a simple connection using two screws to hold the boards together.
Wherever I had access I chose to screw through the backside of boards to make the connection.
The actual construction of the framework went quite quickly as there isn’t a lot to it.
I need to reiterate that proper planning will save you a lot of headaches, so take the time to sketch out the key elements of your DIY corner shelves.
Also, a level is your best friend in this process. Make sure that you are leveling each cross member as you put it up.
2. Cut the shelves.
Now that your framing is up, it’s time to put on the shelving. Once again, I can’t overestimate how important it is to do a quick sketch and make sure you’re getting the best utilization from your sheet of plywood.
I chose to use 15/32″ plywood for cost savings. Because I built a robust frame I was able to go with thinner plywood and save some money. Rest assured, once you have it in place and screw it down, it gives plenty of support.
Below you can see the finished DIY corner shelves. Notice that I did have to notch out the corners in order to get the plywood to slide all the back to the metal siding.
3. Install the shelves.
Once your shelves are cut, slide the plywood into place. Below you can clearly see the notch out to accommodate the post.
The final step in the process is to strategically screw the shelving down to the frame. It doesn’t take many screws to secure the whole structure together. Once secured the plywood will stiffen up the entire DIY corner shelves assembly and you’ll have some seriously heavy duty storage!
4. Store your stuff.
Congratulations, you’ve just created some great, out of the way DIY corner shelves for garage storage. Now fill it up and enjoy your organized garage!
More Home Storage Ideas
While you’re here, be sure to check out other home storage ideas on Kenarry like ceiling mounted shelves for the garage. If you enjoyed these DIY corner shelves, please share this post with your friends or pin it for later:
Kent is responsible for a lot of the behind-the-scenes work on Kenarry: Ideas for the Home including editing stories, acting as a sounding board and providing technical support. Kent also writes occasionally, usually about technology, home improvement or organization. By day, Kent is a design engineer and manager for an automotive supplier. In his spare time, he loves researching new tech toys, fishing at our cottage and watching the Seahawks win.
Originally published May 2016. Updated May 2018.