Tired of stumbling over lawn tools and clutter in your shed? Sheds can easily become clutter-catchers for unused items all too easily. A well-organized shed, on the other hand, allows you to easily find what you need, store things between uses, and make the best use of your shed space. One of the ways to keep the shed well-organized is to have cabinets for storage. In this post, I created plans on how to build DIY shed cabinets with shelves.
In the previous post, I created a tutorial on how to build a two-story 10×12 shed. In this post, I’ll share few ideas on how to keep it organized.
Regardless of the size of your shed, there are so many different things you could do inside to keep your belongings organized. You could build shelves, make boxes, hang a pegboard, install a slat wall, and so on…
When it was time for me to clean the shed, the first thing I wanted to do is to build the cabinets and hang a pegboard on the bottom. I designed these cabinets and shelves to fit the 10-foot wall span of my shed, but these cabinets could also be used in a garage or other places.
Time to Complete
Tools for this project
Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size. See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.
Step 1 – Cut the Largest Plywood Pieces for the Cabinets
The instructions below on how to build the cabinet is designed for a 10×12 shed, but you could easily adjust the plans for a different size shed or a garage. I wanted the cabinets to be attached to the back wall of the shed and a pegboard under the cabinets.
The back wall of the shed is 10 feet wide and 76 1/2 inches tall, but the longest available plywood sheet at the hardware store is 8 feet long. So the plan is to build an 8-foot long cabinet and fill the remaining section of the wall with few shelves.
When working with full-size 4’x8’ sheets of plywood, I usually cut the large pieces first, and then it’s easier to work with smaller pieces.
Using ¾” cabinet grade plywood, cut the backboard of the cabinet to 28 ¼” x 96” and both the bottom and top pieces to 19 ½” x 96”. You could cut these pieces with a table saw or use a skill saw with a guide to make a straight cut.
Set your Kreg Jig settings to ¾” wood thickness and drill pocket holes on as shown in the diagram.
Step 2 – Cut the Side, Shelf, and Middle Pieces for the Cabinet
Next, using a table saw cut two side pieces to 20 1/4″ x 28 1/4″. Then cut two middle divider boards to 26 3/4″ x 19 1/2″, and one shelf board to 24” x 19 1/2″.
You could also add more shelf boards or/and divider boards if you have small items that you’re planning to store in the cabinet.
Drill pocket holes on all the boards as shown in the picture.
Step 3 – Attach the Side Pieces to the Backboard
With the main pieces cut, now it’s time to assemble the cabinet frame. Set the backboard on the floor and attach one side piece to the backboards with wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket hole screws. Then attach the second side piece on the opposite side. Make sure that the side pieces are at the exact same height as the backboard.
Step 4 – Attach Top and Bottom Pieces of the Shed Cabinets
Flip the cabinet on its back and attach the top and bottom pieces with wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket hole screws. This completes the main frame of the cabinet.
Step 5 – Install the Dividers Inside the Shed Cabinets
Measure and find the center of the cabinet. This will be the location of the middle divider. Draw a guideline inside the cabinet on the top, bottom, and backboard to make sure the divider is installed straight.
Now install the second divider on the left side of the cabinet. Instead of pulling the measurement for the second divider, use a 24” x 19 1/2″ shelf board that you’ve cut in step 2 as a guild. Place the shelf board inside the cabinet against the left side piece. Then hold the divider against the shelf boards and secure it to the cabinet with pocket hole screws. Once the divider is attached, raise and attach the shelf board at your desired elevation.
Step 6 – Build the Face Frame for the Cabinets
There are some cabinets that you could make without the face frame (see DIY garage cabinet I made earlier without the face frame). But for this project, I decided to make the cabinets with a face frame. Installing the face frame to the cabinet will require face frame door hinges. See step 9. But cabinets without the face frame will require frameless door hinges.
Cut the top piece to 2” x 91 1/2”, bottom piece to 1 ½” x 91 1/2”, side pieces to 3”x29”, and the middle piece to 3”x25 1/2”. Then drill two pocket holes on each end of the top, bottom, and middle pieces. Layout the pieces on your workbench and connect them together with wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket hole screws.
Step 7 – Connect the Face Frame to the Shed Cabinets Frame
Once the face frame is complete, place it over the cabinet and attach it with pocket hole screws. The top of the face frame should be flush with the top of the cabinet, but the bottom should be 3/4″ lower than the cabinet.
Step 8 – Lift and Secure Cabinet to the Wall
Before attaching the cabinet doors, lift the cabinet and secure it to the wall studs. You will need some help to raise the cabinet because of its weight.
Since the cabinet is heavy, slightly drive-in a few screws inside the cabinet at the location where the studs are. Having the screws already in place will make it easier to secure the cabinet to the wall. Also, take a few 2 ½” screws and drive them in halfway into the studs at 28 1/4” from the top of the wall. So when raising the heavy cabinet, you could rest it on these screws while attaching the cabinet to the studs.
Having the 28 1/4″ high cabinet on the 76 1/2″ wall gives you 48″ of space below for a full-size pegboard.
Step 9 – Cut Cabinet Doors and Drill Holes for Hinges
For this cabinet, I decided to use larger doors than what is typically installed in the kitchen. I had some larger items that I wanted to store in the shed cabinet so having large doors worked out perfectly. I also added storage cubbies on the inside of the doors for easy access, see step 11. Having larger doors with additional door cubbies, I decided to use three hinges per door to support the extra weight.
Using a table saw, cut four doors to 27” x 22 3/4”. Next, drill three holes for the hinges on the inside of the door. Measure and mark 4” from the top and 4” from the bottom. Then measure and mark the middle of the door for the middle hinge.
The hinges you purchase usually come with a paper template. Place the template at the 4″ mark and using a scratch awl, push down through the template x marks to make a little dent in the door. Remove the template and drill a 1 3/8″ hole at the center of the mark using a Shank Forstner drill bit. Place the hinge inside the large hole and using a construction square make sure that the hinge is perfectly squared before pre-drilling the holes for the screws. Then pre-drill the screw holes using a self-centering hinge drill bit. Attach the hinge to the door with the screws that came with hinges. Repeat this step to install all hinges on all doors.
Step 10 – Attach the Hinges and Install the Doors
Transfer the hinge measurements from the door to the face frame of the cabinet. Make sure that these marks match exactly as the door. Press and release the mounting plate of the hinge and attach it to the face frame at those marks (it’s easier to screw in a small hinge by itself than to hold the door and attach it in place). Now insert the door hinge back into the other half and tighten the screws. Do this for all of the doors.
Step 11 – Cut and Install the Door Cubbies
To make the door cubbies installation easier, I should have removed the doors and reattached them when everything was installed. But for some reason, I decided to install the door cubbies while the doors are in place, as you can see from the picture. Either way, I was able to make it work.
Take ¾” plywood and cut four bottom pieces to 16 1/2″ x 4 and eight side pieces to 6″ x 4″. Drill pocket holes as shown in the picture. Take two 6×4 side pieces and attach them to the bottom piece using wood glue and 1 1/4″ brad nails with a nail gun. Repeat the process to make 4 door cubbies.
Then take 1/4″ plywood and cut four strips to 1″ x 18″. Attach this plywood strip to the door cubbies as shown in the picture with a nail gun.
Once the door cubbies are complete, attach the lower cubby 3″ from the bottom of the door and the upper cubby 15″ from the bottom.
At this time, you could also attach the door handles at your desired elevation.
Step 12 – Cut Boards for the Shelf Frame
The remaining wall space to the right of the cabinet will be filled with a shelf. To make the shelf look like it’s part of the cabinet, we’ll use the same 3/4″ plywood with a face frame that matches the cabinet.
First, build the inside frame of the shelf by cutting the backboard to 15 1/2″ x 28 1/4″, right side piece to 19 1/2″ x 28 1/4″, and top/bottom pieces to 14 3/4″ x 19 1/2″. Drill pocket holes as shown in the picture.
Step 13 – Assemble and Install the Shelf Frame
Now assemble the shelf frame together with wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. Insert this frame into the space between the cabinet and the right wall and attach it with 2 1/2″ screws to the studs.
Step 14 – Build the Face Frame Around the Shelf
For the face frame of the shelf cut the top piece to 2″ x 14″, the bottom piece to 1 1/2″ x 14″, and the right side piece to 1 1/2″ x 29″. Attach these pieces to the shelf frame with wood glue and 1 1/4″ brad nails using a nail gun.
Step 15 – Cut and Install Curved Shelf Boards
The remaining leftover plywood boards I used to make shelf boards. To make it more interesting, I made the shelf board smaller with a curved shaped cut in the front.
The curved shapes could be exactly the same on all the boards or any random shape you want. Drill pocket holes under these shelf boards and attach them inside the shelf area and the cabinet.
Step 16 – Install Pegboard Under the Cabinet
Now take a full sheet of pegboard and attach it to the studs under the cabinet. Then measure and cut the remaining distance of the wall to fill in with pegboard. You’re done with DIY Shed Cabinets.