Building free-standing shelving for the basement or garage can really add to your storage needs. By building free-standing shelving, you have the options of relocating them to a new location anytime.

Building free-standing shelves do not have to be expensive.

Draw Out The Layout

Depending on the length and height of your shelves, draw out a sketch of your shelves. Show all measurements on your sketch.

Material Needed

building free standing shelving

(6) 2x4x12′ Beams

(6) 2x4x7″ Vertical supports

(3) 2x4x10′ Frame pieces

(2) full sheet 4’x8′ 3/8″ plywood, plus additional 2’x4′ piece (or you can use 1/2′ OSB) cut to 2’x8′ (actually they will be 23 7/8″ x 8′) Shelving surface material
3″ drywall screws or 3″ nails
Some 1 1/4″ drywall screws


  • Drill or impact driver
  • Tape measure
  • A pencil
  • Speed square
  • A hand saw or mitre saw / circular saw

Lay Out

Using a tape measure, square and pencil, mark out the:-

  • verticals on the beams.
  • the cross frame pieces are on the beams.
  • the frames are on the vertical supports

This is all done before assembly.

Cut Out The Frame Pieces

Cut out the length of the frame along with the end frame pieces. This can be cut on the mitre saw with a stop block clamped to the fence.

Once all the frames pieces are cut, assembly of the frames can take place.

Final Assembly

  • Stand up three frames with long side on the ground and parallel to each other with about 3’ spacing, doesn’t have to be precise but close enough.
  • Align vertical support piece to the marks on the frames (a little adjustment here and there is needed), and hold the speed square to ensure the alignment, shoot a nail (or a screw) through
  • Continue until two end supports are in place. Lift the frame a little and slide two vertical pieces under the assembly, repeat the second process.
  • Now you can stand up the whole unit on it’s 4 vertical legs. Check the square by measuring diagonally. If all square (which I was lucky), fire up your nailer or screw gun to lock it down.
  • Attach the two middle support after the unit is all square and secure.
  • Drag the whole thing into the place you want, shim at the floor under the vertical support for level.
  • Put all your plywood pieces into place and screw them down to the beams and cross pieces with 1 ¼” drywall screws every 16”.