How to Build Storage Shelves With Furring Strips

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Furring strips are narrow and thin strips of lumber used for spacing in construction tasks such as paneling and drywalling. Although they are too thin to serve well as the shelf itself, they are ideal for building support for shelves in a storage area. Using these strips to build storage shelves is an excellent project for beginning do-it-yourselfers. The steps are simple, and storage areas aren't out in the public areas of your home -- meaning you don't have to share the mistakes you made while learning.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Furring strips
  • Wooden plank
  • Power saw
  • Stud finder
  • Level
  • Power drill with screwdriver bits
  • Wood screws, 3 inches long
  • Measure the width of the storage area where you want to install a shelf. Cut your furring strip and lumber plank to match that measurement.

  • Cut two pieces of furring strip to match the width of the plank that will form your shelf.

  • Use a stud finder to locate wall studs along the back wall of the storage area. Mark their location with a pencil.

  • Draw a line along the wall of your storage area at the height you want your shelf to be. Use a level to keep the line parallel with your ceiling and floor.

  • Set the furring strip you cut to match the width of your storage area against the back wall. Adjust so its top edge lies along the line you drew in Step 4. Fasten in place with one wood screw driven into each stud in the wall.

  • Place the shorter pieces of furring strip on the side walls, their ends abutting the visible face of the strip you mounted in Step 5. Fasten them in place with wood screws as you did the longer strip.

  • Set your plank in place, resting on the mounted furring strips.

  • Repeat for each additional shelf you want to build. This step is often easier if you wait until you've installed all the furring strips before setting in the shelving planks.

Tips & Warnings

  • This design works best for shelves less than 36 inches wide. Wider shelves tend to sag. You can alleviate this by adding an additional piece of furring strip to the front of the shelf plank. For best results, nail this piece in place rather than using screws -- it will avoid splitting the plank.

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