This project was fairly straightforward work with only a couple minor adjustments for my particular garage beams.
These shelves should hold about 4 totes side-by-side above your garage door and be completely hidden when the garage door is open. I've had this project completed for about 6 months and am happy to report that the shelves have been fantastic and given me a TON more space in the garage.
This instructable is just a guide to put up wood shelving- I want to be very careful not to over-estimate the weight capacity of these shelves. If you buy metal shelving made for this purpose, they will tell you exactly how much they can hold. Those models also cost around $150-$400 each rack. I made Three of these shelves in my garage for about $50 worth of lumber and screws. They are sturdy, but please don't put really heavy items up there for your and your family's safety. We use them for our camping gear (lightweight tents, sleeping bags, backpacking packs etc.), seasonal decorations, seasonal clothing and my large but light homebrewing vessels. How much you feel comfortable putting on these shelves should correlate to how well you know these shelves are attached to studs in the wall and ceiling. I found really good stud coverage with only a couple shim pieces.
SAFETY NOTE: Please be sure to cut power or somehow lock your garage door into place so that it cannot be opened while you are working up on a ladder.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
For one shelf 8x2 rectangle you will need:
1. Four 2"x4"x8'
2. Four or more lag screws and correctly sized washers (to be driven into wall side and into ceiling)
3. Two 2'x4' sheets of pre-cut plywood
4. 3" drywall screws (for extra points of contact to upright legs and wall runner board)
5. 1" deck screws (to attach plywood to top of shelves)
6. Blue painter's tape or a pencil to mark stud spots for drilling
Saw that will cut 2x4 lumber at a straight angle
Step 2: Find Your Studs
Measure how high you want to level your shelf, take into account the size of the totes or storage boxes you like to use and how much head clearance you have above where the garage door rolls up. This took several times rolling the garage door up and down to be very, very sure it would open and close without hitting the shelves. Once you have a precise measurement, add another inch gap for the garage door just in case.
Find the studs along the wall of your garage above the garage door and mark them with blue painter's tape.
Pre-drilling pilot holes (much smaller diameter than the lag screws, but still prevents cracking and destruction of the studs) is a great plan to do on the wall and on the shelf before you put it up.
Step 3: Build Your Shelf Frames
Cut one 2x4 down to two 2' sections and attach two full length 8' sections making a long, thin rectangular shape as seen in the photo.
This is now the time to pre-drill for the lag screw going in to the wall. Measure and re-measure before you drill the holes!
Do not attach the plywood tops to the shelves yet, this is your last step.
This is where a friend and a really good ladder come in handy. When you go to attach the shelf frame to the wall, It's reasonable to hold up the wall side of the frame to the wall and drill in a lag screw, but not to hold up the other side at the same time. Please have someone else hold the other end up.
Step 4: Attach to the Ceiling
So my roof has lateral running beams that stick out about 2.5' out from the garage door wall. This was lucky for me because I could add in a small block of wood and screw the leg/arm of the shelves up into that beam and know it is sturdy enough for my purposes. The other option is to lag screw into your ceiling studs and use two L shaped steel angle-plates to screw your wood into the plate after you've attached the plate to the ceiling. It's a good idea to have that friend we mentioned earlier around to hold the front face of the shelf level with the back face while you do this step.
Step 5: Add the Flat Plywood Surface
That's it folks- this is when you want to place the 2' by 4' pieces of plywood down on your shelves and screw them into your shelf frame. You don't need to overdo it with screws in this step- one in each corner of both pieces of plywood is plenty. The weight of your bins or stored items will hold them down, you just need enough screws to keep them from sliding laterally.
Enjoy your new shelves and new open space in your garage!
MattM370 made it!