Wire Shelving & Melamine Garage Storage Plans

An incredibly easy solution for a cluttered garage

This storage system is made mostly from wire shelving and plastic-coated particleboard (called “melamine”). Those two simple materials, along with some clever engineering, provide three big benefits.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine






$100 - $500

3 Benefits of This Garage Storage System

Quick, simple construction. If you can make a few easy cuts (which don’t have to be perfect), drive some screws and brush on a little paint, you can build this system in a weekend. If you’re an experienced DIYer, you might even be done in a day.

Fits any space. The system is made up of separate units, so you can build just one, cover an entire wall with several units or leave spaces between units.

Versatile storage. Aside from wire shelves, the system includes optional hanging spaces for clothes and outdoor gear, plus oversize upper shelves for bulky stuff. As your needs change, you can easily remove or reconfigure the shelves

Step 1: Cut the sides

To get started, cut all the parts (download the plans below to see Cutting List). The coating on melamine tends to chip when you cut it. For cleaner cuts, use a 60-tooth carbide circular saw blade and apply painter’s tape over the cut (Photo 1). Melamine is slippery stuff, so clamp it in place before cutting. Set the depth of your saw blade at 1 in. Chipping won’t be a problem when you cut the solid wood parts (B and D). When you cut the supports for the lowest shelves (B1), note that they’re shorter than the others. To avoid slow, fussy painting later, paint the wood parts before assembly.

Step 2: Position the shelf supports

Our shelf spacing is 12 in., but any spacing you choose is fine. Lay pairs of sides (A) next to each other when you mark shelf support locations. That way, you can be sure that the supports will match up after assembly. Drill screw holes (Photo 2) and then fasten the shelf supports (Photo 3).

Step 3: Assembly

Pick out a flat spot on the floor and attach the top (C) to the sides (Photo 4). Then tilt the assembly up a few inches and slide wood scraps beneath it so you can add the rails (D) with 2-in. screws (Photo 5).

Step 4: Sanding and painting

With the unit completely assembled, sand the exposed cut edges of the melamine using 150-grit sandpaper, then paint them (Photo 6). Finally, hammer on some furniture glides (Photo 7) and the unit is ready for installation.

Step 5: Install the units

If you have finished walls, locate the wall studs with a stud finder and mark them with masking tape. Get some help to lift the assembly up to the wall and hold it in place (Photo 8). Our floor had a row of concrete blocks that protruded from the wall about 1-1/2 in., so we rested the glides on them. The blocks were level but the floor had a slight pitch toward the door, so this saved us the hassle of having to allow for the slope of the floor.

With the assembly against the wall, you can shim underneath to level it (if necessary) and then plumb the sides with a level. Screw it to the wall studs with 2-1/2-in. screws (Photo 9).

Step 6: Secure the shelves

If you’re willing to spend $25 or so on a bolt cutter, cutting the wire shelves will be quick and easy (Photo 10). Bolt cutters are sized by length; 24 in. is a good choice. When the shelves are cut, set them in place and “clip” them to the wall (Photo 11). Also secure the shelf fronts with coaxial cable staples (Photo 12), which are available in the electrical aisle at home centers. Remove the nails that come with the staples and use 4d nails instead. To store balls or other items that tend to roll off shelves, install a shelf or two upside-down. The lip on the front of the shelf keeps stuff in place.

Overall dimensions: 11-3/4" deep x 37-1/2" wide x 85-1/2" tall (top shelf is 15-3/4" deep)

Choosing Screws:

We used No. 8 “cabinet” screws throughout this project for three reasons:

  • The large “washer” heads design looks much neater than a bugle head countersunk into the melamine surface.
  • The washer heads won’t pull through the particleboard.
  • The coarse threads hold well in particleboard.

Cabinet screws are made by GRK, Spax and other manufacturers.

Figure A: Shelf unit
Figure B: Bottom detail

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.

  • Clamps
  • Cordless drill
  • Circular saw or jigsaw
  • Stud finder
  • Bolt cutter
  • Level

Required Materials for this Project

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

  • 3/4" x 11-3/4" x 8’ melamine shelf board (2)
  • 3/4" x 15-3/4" x 37-1/2" melamine shelf board (1)
  • 3/4" x 2-1/2" x 8' pine boards (3)
  • 12" x 12' wire shelving (2)
  • Wire shelving wall clips (12)
  • Wire shelving end caps (12)
  • Coaxial cable staples (12)
  • Cabinet screws (1-1/4", 2", 2-1/2"), 4d (1-1/2") nails (1 pkg. ea.)
  • Furniture glides (2)
  • White paint (1 qt.)
  • 150-grit sandpaper

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