How to Install a Hanging Shelf in Garage or Workshop

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Hanging shelves provide extra storage space without supprt legs in the way
Hanging shelves provide extra storage space without supprt legs in the way

To maximize space in a garage or workshop it is often necessary to install extra shelving. Whereas traditional shelving leaves a footprint and takes up valuable floor space with its support legs, hanging shelves get their support from the ceiling and cannot be stumbled over or cumbersome. The following steps will explain how to install a 4x8' hanging shelf in a garage.

Things You'll Need

  • Lumber: 2x4's Plywood
  • 3'' Hex head wood screws
  • 2.5'' wood screws
  • 1.5'' wood screws
  • Level
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Skil Saw
  • Stud finder
  • 'L' shaped Steel supports with screw holes

The first step in building your hanging shelf is to mount the supports. If unable to locate the ceiling joists, use a stud finder to locate them. Cut 4 sections of 2x4 at least 30'' long to span the width of the ceiling joists. Determine where at least one corner of the shelf will end (against a wall) and make a mark on the ceiling for it. Measure 4' into the room from the mark and make another. Measure 8' along the length of the room from each of these two marks and place marks as well. Center your 2x4 sections over your mark so that they cover at least 2 ceiling joists and attach with the 4'' hex head wood screws. You should end this step with 4 ceiling blocks firmly attached making a basic 4x8 outline.

Install the blocks with hex screws.
Install the blocks with hex screws.

Now you can attach your steel brackets. Starting in the same corner, attach the brace to the 2x4 section with a 4'' hex screw so that one edge of the brace faces the block and the other side faces the area where the shelf will be. Measure exactly 8' from the brace to next block and install a brace in the same way. Mark corresponding spots on each of the outside blocks and install braces on them as well.

Install braces so that one side faces towards the shelf
Install braces so that one side faces towards the shelf

To build your shelf cut two 8' 2x4 sections and five 45'' sections. Measure and mark each of the 8' sections. Place marks every 24''. You should have 3 marks evenly spaced. Place the two 8' sections parallel to each other and 45'' apart. Place each of the shorter sections in between the 8' boards so that the center of the ends matches the marks on the long sections. Place the other two 45'' sections at each end so that they are flush with the ends of the long sections. Attach all connections with the 2.5'' wood screws. Place a 4x8 sheet of plywood over the frame, make sure that each corner is square and attach with 1.5'' wood screws. (you can install the plywood later to make the shelf easier to lift into place)

Build the frame on the floor with 2x4 sections
Build the frame on the floor with 2x4 sections

Use scaffolding, ladders, or other support structure to place the shelf at the desired height with one long end flush to the wall. Starting with one brace, bend it (at the base) a few inches out of perpendicular and away from the wall and attach to the shelf with 4'' hex screws. By bending the brace slightly, gravity will push the shelf tight to the wall and the shelf will not wobble. Using a level to make sure the shelf is perfectly even and connect the other three braces in the same way.

Use braces to support the shelf as you install it.
Use braces to support the shelf as you install it.

Test the shelf for load bearing by placing at least your own body weight worth of cinder blocks or other item. Remove any excess length of steel brace by grinding off or sawing with a hacksaw. Now you can enjoy your extra storage space without losing any floor space.

Level the shelf before attaching braces.
Level the shelf before attaching braces.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have high ceilings in your work area consider hanging the shelf higher and installing a wood ladder.
  • If the inside wall of the work area is wood framed, consider installing a couple more 4'' hex screws through the shelf and into the wall.
  • If installing the shelf in the garage make sure that you can drive in under it before finishing the project.

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