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Garage Storage Projects: Plywood Rack

This storage rack protects your full and partial sheets of plywood and keeps them within easy reach. It also works great for storm window, paneling and other large flat items.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

How to build this plywood rack

Plywood takes up relatively little space and is easy to store—simply lean it against a wall. The trick is getting at it when you need it. Nine times out of 10, you need the half sheet that’s buried behind 12 others. If you’ve experienced that frustration, you’ll love this rack. Casters and a set of hinges are the secret for easy access. They allow you to swing the storage rack out from the wall and slide out the storm window, paneling or other item you want. Dividers strengthen the rack while enabling you to separate large sheets from smaller ones.

Each slot has room for about six sheets of 3/4-in. plywood. Although you can modify our design and make the slots larger, keep in mind that anything that sits around for a year or two is a donation candidate.

Construction of the rack goes surprisingly fast. Plan an afternoon for the project plus an hour or two to
run to the home center for materials. (See Materials List, above left.) The least expensive wood will do, although for a few dollars more, an AC grade of plywood (sanded on one side) is usually flatter and nicer to work with.

When loaded, this rack is heavy. So make sure to buy casters rated for at least 200 lbs. each. One of the casters should have a brake for extra stability. If you purchase all your materials new, it’ll cost a little over 100 bucks. But chances are you’ll have some of these materials lying around. (Use up that extra 3/4-in. plywood!) Cut the plywood and 2x6s to size first, following Fig. B on p. 70 for dimensions (Photo 1). You can make your cuts freehand (without a guideboard) because they don’t have to be perfect. Use a sharp, carbide-tipped blade with at least 24 teeth to minimize splintering.

After cutting all the pieces, screw the rack together. Start with the center plywood divider first, attaching the bottom 2x6 and then the side. Use the factory edge of the plywood to keep it all square. Next, measure and mark out your center 2x6 dividers and set them in place (Photo 2). This spacing isn’t critical; use more or fewer dividers depending on your needs. After you fasten the front piece of plywood (Photo 3), you can turn the rack over and drive additional screws, spacing them every 12 in. For the back bin you’ll have to toe-screw (screw at an angle) the bottom and side 2x6s through the center plywood divider and into the opposite 2x6 (Photo 4). These toe screws hold them in place until you attach cleats, which solidly join the two sections (Photo 5).

All that’s left is attaching the hardware and fastening the rack to the wall. Since the rack and its contents are heavy, use lag screws to hold the casters and hinges in place. Predrill your holes with a 3/16-in. bit. Set the casters at a slight angle (5 degrees) to accommodate the swing of the rack (Fig. A). Attach the hinges and you’re all set to swing the rack out from the wall and fill it up.

Figure A: Plywood rack details

Figure A: Plywood rack details

Figure A: Plywood Rack Details

This illustration shows all of the parts of the plywood rack. See the Materials List in Additional Information below.

Figure B: Cutting Diagram, Front, Back and Cleats as well
as the Middle Divider

Figure B: Plywood Cutting Diagram

These illustrations help you use your plywood efficiently.

Additional Information

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Tape measure
    • Circular saw
    • Drill/driver, cordless

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

See Plywood Rack Materials List in Additional Information at the end of the Step-by-Step section.

Comments from DIY Community Members

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October 19, 5:11 PM [GMT -5]

I just completed building this project. The construction of it was very easy. I modified it just slightly by rounding off the front corner on the flat 2x6 that holds the half sheets and did the same with the dividers in an effort to increase the safety of not catching a corner. The usable space within the divider area after you subtract out the width of the 2x6's is 30" so I split the four ports up 10 1/2", 8 1/2", 6 1/2" & 4 1/2" to allow some versatility. Also, be sure to put the locking wheel close to the edge of the project.

I have some shelving I made from 3/4' particle board with notched 2x4's for support that run the length of the side wall of my garage with each storage area 4' wide & 2' high. Screw lengths of 1x2 into the studs along the wall for support & cut particle board 16" wide. I replaced one of the 2x4 supports with a 2x8 and attached the Handtman Plywood Rack to it. The Rack only comes out 18" and I'm still able to utilize all of my storage space, putting less used items behind the Rack that can still be accessed easily. This Plywood Rack is an outstanding addition to my workshop. TY Handyman!

October 16, 3:02 PM [GMT -5]

Storing sheet goods on edge is not a good idea. It will bow & be very difficult to work with. At least in the humid climate I live in. Storing flat is the only way to go, I have built racks suspended from my garage rafters to store my piece goods with much better success.

October 08, 8:04 AM [GMT -5]

This is the best plywood rack I ever came across. It was easy to build and it's so versitle.

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