Build Tower Shelves

  • Build Tower Shelves

Build simple shelving to hold standard plastic bins that will keep your workshop essentials organised and tidy. 

Finding space for tools and equipment can be challenging in a garage that also functions as a workshop and storage room. 

Stackable plastic storage bins are a great way to keep your essentials tidy, but the lower ones are troublesome to access, and stacking any more than three of them can be risky.

This solution lets you arrange the bins into whatever order suits you, such as heavy items in the lower bins, without having to put items you use often in the top bin of a stack.

Each of these shelf towers can safely accommodate five storage bins, and is made from just over one and a half sheets of 17mm plywood, plus a half sheet of 7mm ply.

Three towers can be built in a day with only basic power tools, but tacking the panels together using a brad nailer before securing them with screws will speed up construction. 

Freeing up space

The towers allow you to utilise vertical space to store all your belongings, rather than taking up valuable room on the garage floor. 

They are designed to hold bins measuring up to 590 x 450 x 440mm, providing plenty of capacity.

These dimensions can be easily adapted and the number of shelves increased to suit containers of a different size.

TIP Add sturdy hooks to the sides of these towers to create additional hanging space for garden tools. 

Choosing the storage bins 

There are all kinds of storage boxes available, from lightweight snap-lock containers which are useful for paperwork and smaller items, to more robust, heavy-duty crates that can cope with heftier loads such as power tools.

Build the tower 

Step 1. Cut sides and back

Position the 17mm plywood on sawhorses and mark cut lines 590mm from each long edge. Cut the sides and back with a circular saw, clamping a straightedge parallel to each cut line. and offsetting the distance from the blade to the edge of the baseplate.

Step 2. Cut the shelves

Use a builder’s square to mark the top, base and shelves then clamp a straight edge and cut the pieces using a circular saw. Mark each panel after cutting the last, or measure the blade width and correct for this to mark up all the panels in one go

Step 3. Plane the edges

Clean up all the cut edges with a hand plane and check for square with a builder’s square across the face and
a combination square on the edges. As cut plywood reveals imperfections in the layers, apply multipurpose filler to any gaps with a spatula.

Step 4. Paint the plywood

When the filler is dry, sand the edges with 120 grit abrasive paper. Apply at least two coats of acrylic paint to all surfaces of the panels and the inside face of the backing with a roller. Lightly sand between coats with 150 grit abrasive paper for a smooth finish

Step 5. Assemble the tower

Using an offcut to space the shelves with 460mm gaps between them, tack the base, shelves and top to the sides using a brad nailer. Drill pilot holes and secure with 30mm x 8g screws. TIP Don’t use the spacer for the last gap as it will be 2mm less than the others.

Step 6. Attach backing

Use the factory corners of the backing to square up the tower. Start at the top and work along the side panel, securing the backing to the edges of the base, top, shelves and sides using a brad nailer. Attach the bearers using 30 x 1.6mm bullethead nails.

Click on the diagram

Click on the diagram to see measurements for the tower shelves.

Click on the cutting list

Click on the cutting list to see what materials, and in what sizes, are needed for this project.

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