How to make outdoor and indoor corner shelves

How to make outdoor and indoor corner shelves

Fill those unused corners

Many gardeners have garden sheds that are short of storage space. Often corners are used to stand their long garden tools upright wasting valuable wall storage space for smaller gardening-related items like containers of fertilizer and nutrients. Here’s some guides and tips on making a group of corner shelves for your garden shed walls, a corner in your fenced yard, or anywhere else in your main house.


Step 1

Use roofer’s triangle shape

Scrounge for recycled clean plywood. Determine how much plywood is needed. Make a quick sketch and size shelves before searching for recycled plywood from a scrap pile. Make sure pieces you find are large enough for triangular shape. If you are making 12″ shelves then simply use the 12″ triangular square as a guide, mark an outline on a piece of paper and take it with you. It will become a rough template for the size plywood you need for each shelf. A «roofers triangle» metal square can be purchased at most any hardware or home store.

Step 2

Measure shelves

Measure plywood shelves. Be sure plywood is clean and mark on surface the triangular shape size. Again, if using the 12″ dimension, use the roofers triangle If making a larger shelf design use the square to make straight lines and measure off the exact dimension on each side of the right angle triangle, then connect the diagonal line for the shape.

Hint: Place blue painters masking tape on top of cut line before cutting to minimize splintering of plywood edges at cut lines.

Step 3

Use power saw

Cut corner shelves with grounded power saw. Place plywood to be cut on flat surface and be sure it is level and secure before cutting. Since you will be making straight cuts, use a power saw instead of a jig saw for a more uniform and straight cut. If you have a table saw use that. Wear protective eye wear when cutting to avoid wood chips and splinters from getting in eye during cutting. Cut all shelves at same time. Sand edges after cutting. Fill with wood filler before sanding smooth.

Measure and cut wood cleats also, follow plans shown in next step and in previous steps for eliminating wood splinters. Note that 45 degree angle cuts are necessary for each cleat to fit together and on walls.

Step 4

Follow plans

Follow plans, mount shelves at desired heights. Use one cleat per shelf with corners cut at miter to fit together and on wall.

Wood cleats must be cut at 45- degree angle so they fit to each other and wall at corner and do not extend outside front line of shelves.

Locate studs and use long brass screws to drill and attach cleats to walls. Use wood glue to glue shelves to wood cleats.

Step 5

Mark level lines

Mark level line. Use power drill. Use long screws. Secure wood cleat.

Note: Before installing shelves, use small level to scribe pencil line on walls for locations of top of cleats. Shelves will fit on top of cleats so allow enough dimension for shelf thickness. After scribing pencil line, then drill holes for screws through cleat and into wall studs or use wall anchors to secure wood cleats to wall.

Step 6

Finish shelves

Leave shelves unfinished or add edge trim and finish as desired. Depending on your decor, leave wood shelves exposed or finish to match garden shed walls or other locations shelves are installed. Paint or stain shelves and cleats or pre-finish prior to installation. For additonal strength and more finished appearance, add trim to front of shelves.

Corner shelves are a good addition to a small bathroom water closet enclosure as illustrated in the accompanying picture.

Step 7

Make garage shelves

These shelves make excellent space-saver storage shelves for a garage or large room that is under utilized. Just follow the same steps and allow for the larger size shelves needed. Cut plywood and 2×4 wood cleats accordingly, mark level lines on walls for each shelf, and secure to garage wall studs for extra support.

Add additional 2×4 front edge trim piece to aid in storing heavy items on shelves. Paint or stain as desired for final finish.

Things Needed
• scrounged recycled plywood pieces
• recycled wood 1 x 2s
• long brass screws
• good wood glue, wood filler, sandpaper
• level, measuring tape, pencil
• 12″ metal triangular square (roofers square)
• power saw and power drill with drill and screwdriver bits
• paint and brushes (if you want to finish shelves)

Tips & Warnings
• Make paper template for size shelves desired before scrounging for plywood.
• Use box level to mark level line at wall for each shelf support cleat.
• Use rustic wood if garden shed is rustic.
• Place plywood on level surface prior to cutting.
• Wear protective headgear and goggles when cutting.
• Don’t cut outside with power saw when wet, use grounded electrical outlet.


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