Building your own garage cabinet is not a major offensive into enemy territory, it’s a fun and exciting DIY job that requires a few tools, a bit of imagination and a source of music. Oh, and don’t forget the coffee too. If you got the DIY store, or check online, there are many options readily available for immediate construction.
However, a lot of these readymade models are usually designed using cheap materials and are quite flimsy. A garage storage unit has to be strong since you will be using it for heavy storage and it is in a location that can be bumped and scraped often. Also, units can be sued for storing anything from fabrics to machine parts.
As such, making your own is perfect for both applications, but if you are going to use the cabinet for heavy duty parts, I suggest you make it from metal, and that’s a different article.
So let’s begin, just jump right into how to make your own garage storage cabinet system without any experience. Yup, welcome back top carpentry class for grade 3.
The tools you will need:
- A drill and drill bits
- A sander with 100 grit paper
- A table saw, or jigsaw with a guide
- A rubber hammer (you don’t want to damage the wood if you need to hit it)
- Nails and a Brad Nailer (makes life easier)
- Screws (a lot of these pesky critters roll away while working)
- Metal floor brace (usually aluminum screwable legs)
- Door hinges if you make a door (add handles too)
- Wood Glue (lots is better than less)
- A pencil and angle ruler for marking
- A horizontal plane for accuracy
- Stain and varnish or paint and paint brushes
The Materials you will need:
- ½” thick plywood (do not use melamine, it’s not good enough for a garage unit)
- 1” x 2” hardwood for braces
- A plate of thin 1/8” plywood for the back plate
Step 1: Blueprint
Start off by either downloading or printing a blueprint or by drawing one yourself. The blueprint will give you the dimensions and pre-drilled hole locations for making your garage cabinet unit.
Step 2: Preparing the Components
Before you start building you, need to make all the parts, which means cutting, sanding, and drilling the frame, shelves, braces, back panel, and doors. For hanging wall units, you might not use a back panel.
You prepare all the parts by cutting them into size, then sanding them down all over. After that, you drill the holes in the locations per your blueprint and then stack the parts according to the category for quick assembly.
If you are adding doors, you need to prepare them too, including adding the hinge holes into the doors and the frame.
Step 3: Glue and Screw the Frame
Now take the frame parts, these are two sides, a top, and bottom. Glue the edges and screw the components together. Use the brad nailer to add extra strength. Note that I don’t use clamps, you can use clamps, but the nailer and the screws are more than enough.
Step 4: Add the Back and Braces
If you are making a floor standing unit, now is the time to add the back, and also the floor braces or legs. The floor braces raise the cabinet off the floor so that any wet floor conditions won’t affect the wood. You place the cabinet face down on the floor and apply the glue to the back edges, place the back plate of thin 1/8” plywood on the glue and using the brad nailer, nail into place securely. If you are standing this on the floor, you now screw in the legs. If the unit is a wall unit, secure on the back the braces for attaching to the wall.
Step 5: Add the Inner/Shelf Braces
After the unit has dried, stand it up and place the inner braces using glue and screws.
Step 6: Painting/Finishing
Once the unit has dried out, paint it or stain and varnish it all over, and if you have doors, you paint them too. Once the paint or varnish is dry, you attach the hinges to the door and then the doors to the frames.
Step 7: Locating
Once the cabinet is finished, you have to locational choices, either as is on the floor, or you need to hang it on the wall. To hang this securely you will need to add another wall brace, that’s a length of wood secured to the wall with screws. You use this as an anchor to place the cabinets brace on top, and it sits on the wall brace. You then screw the cabinet via the cabinets wall brace to the wall directly. You now have a unit that is secured in two locations, upper and lower braces and is also hanging onto the extra wall brace for a more secure grip.
As I started out, I do not go into dimensions; there are so many options to choose from and material thicknesses that dimensions are literally bespoke per blueprint. This article acts as a standard of performance (SOP) for generic building, which means I give you the directions how to build, you fill in the dimensional details. However, as a rule of thumb, never build anything without blueprints, so I recommend you search online for a good set of blueprints that suits your locational dimensions and build based on those sizes.