Sports Gear Storage Shelves in a Small Space
My home is protected by ninjas! Well, actually Tae Kwon Do athletes, but they are ninjas in training. So, don’t even think about breaking into our house or they will open up a can of whoop ass on you! 😉
Unfortunately, where my boys are plentiful in kicking and punching skills they lack in the picking up your stuff department. Which means that the bottom of the stairway to our bonus room is usually the dumping ground for their gear bags, clothing and gear.
I knew I could “up” the amount of storage we had in this small unused space by going vertical. I designed and created Sports Gear Storage Shelves in the small space at the base of our bonus room stairs. Adding mesh siding gives the storage system a locker vibe and allowed for better air flow around stinky sports gear.
Want to know how to build your own Sport Gear Storage Shelves? Hang out for a while and I’ll walk you through the step-by-step tutorial.
- 6 – 1 x 3 x 8′ poplar boards
- 1 – 4′ x 4′ x 3/4″ finish grade plywood
- 2 1/2″ wood screws
- 1 1/2″ cabinet screws
- 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws
- Wood shims
- Wire mesh
- Stain (or paint)
- Wood glue
- Finish nails
- Wood putty
- Putty knife
- Kreg Jig
- Hand saw or coping saw
- Power sander and sandpaper
- 1 1/4″ finish nails
- Tape measure
- Painter’s Tape
- GRR-RIPPER 3D Pushblocks
- 5 – 15″ x 24″ plywood (shelves)*
- 5 – 1 x 3 x 15″ (shelf cleats)
- 5 – 1 x 3 x 23″ (shelf cleats)
- 2 – 1 x 3 x 88″ (sides of support frame)
- 2 – 1 x 3 x 4.5″ (top & bottom of support frame)
- 1 – 5.5″ x 84″ piece of wire mesh
- Rip edge banding 1/4″ thickness from one 1 x 3″ board
* You should be able to get a sixth shelf cut from your plywood if you wish to use it for a base.
Before beginning to build, sketch out your design with painter’s tape. Take note of the height of any baskets or gear bags you will store on the shelves. This should give you the ability to visualize the storage shelves and make any alterations to your design before you build. Once you are happy with the layout, write down your shelf heights.
You may wish to clad the walls in wood planks like I did before you build the shelving. If you decide to add the planks, here’s the tutorial for planking your walls.
Measure and mark the heights of your shelves.
Using a level, draw a pencil line where the shelves will rest.
Secure the 1×3″ cleats below the pencil line using 2 1/2″ wood screws into studs.
Continue securing shelf cleats to the wall with screws into available studs.
Paint or stain the cleats to match the wall color.
Building Curved Shelves with Edge Banding:
Grab your pre-cut plywood shelves.
(One design change I made after laying out the shelves with painter’s tape was to round off the edges of the shelves to allow easier passage around the shelving when using the our stairs.)
Use a rounded object to trace a curve on the end of one shelf.
Cut the corner off the first shelf then use this shelf as a template to trace the same curve onto the other shelves.
Sand the shelf tops and edges with your sander.
To finish off the plywood shelves, you can cut your own edge banding easily and safely using the GRR-RIPPER 3D Pushblocks. First set your GRR-RIPPER against the fence on your table saw. Set the adjustable center leg so it will rest on the wood you are cutting.
Move the handle over closer to the fence to give better control over the stock and the cut piece.
Set your wood onto the table top and lower the balance support to sit on the table top.
Time to push your poplar stock through the table saw to rip off the 1/4″ edge band. After your first band is cut, run the stock through the table saw again and again until you have no stock left.
Before putting the edge band on, soften the band where it has to make a curve. You can drape wet washcloths over the wood set on top of a basin filled with water for about half an hour.
Run a line of wood glue along the short side of the shelf edge. Line the edge band up with the corner. Secure the band with finish nails.
Slowly bend the edge banding until it sits flush against the curve on the shelf. If the wood cracks, stop and soak it in water more. Once the band rests firmly on the curve, secure it with finish nails working along the corner and then the long side of the shelf. Trim off the excess with a hand saw. (You only need to cover two sides of your shelves with edge banding since the other two sides will be against the wall.)
Putty any nail holes and gaps along the edge banding.
After the putty has dried, sand it smooth.
Stain or paint the shelves. Add pocket holes to the underside of the shelves to prepare for attaching to the side frame support. Drill the holes at 1.5″ and 8.5″ from the back edge of the shelf. This should center the holes on the side frame support pieces. (Need help using a Kreg Jig? Here’s a tutorial to help you learn how to use a Kreg Jig.)
Set the shelves in place and secure to the cleats using two 1.5″ cabinet screws on the back and two more on the side.
Building a Framed Mesh Side Support:
Time to build that mesh frame to support the open end of the shelves. Grab your pre-cut 1×3″ poplar frame pieces.
To hold the wire mesh inside the frame, rip a groove into your frame pieces. To cut the groove, you can safely use your table saw and a GRR-RIPPER 3D Pushblock.
Begin by centering the saw blade on the 1″ side of your poplar 1 x 3. Raise the saw blade 1/2″ above the table.
To extend the height and bridge the gap between the GRR-RIPPER balance support and the lumber, attach a piece of scrap wood to the balance support with two screws. This adds more stability to the wood while ripping the groove.
Push the stock through the table saw. For better control, use two GRR-RIPPER 3D Pushblocks to leap frog and push the longer stock through.
To give the pocket screws something to grip to, glue wood shims into the top and bottom of the side pieces. (In hindsight, I could have stopped the groove at the top and bottoms of the side pieces of the frame.)
Drill pocket holes into the top and bottom pieces on each side. Attach the top and bottom pieces to one side of the support frame.
Carefully feed the wire mesh into the three sides of the frame. This process might take some patience. Having an extra set of hands would definitely help.
Set the final frame side in place to complete the frame.
Secure the fourth side with a pocket hole screw at the top and bottom.
Drill pocket holes on the side of the mesh frame that will attach to the wall. Pay attention to your shelf heights so you don’t drill a hole even with a shelf.
Cut a notch out the bottom of the back side of your frame to fit around any baseboard moulding.
Test fit the frame against the wall.
Okay, ready to put it all together?
Putting it All Together – Assembling the Shelving:
Set the side support frame in place and level one of the middle pieces. Put a clamp on the frame to hold the shelf level.
Secure the shelf to the support with pocket screws. Repeat for the other shelves.
For more structural support, screw pocket holes through the frame and into the wall.
Stand back and admire your handy work!
I added a few cup hooks on the wall to display my little ninjas’ medals.
The gear storage shelves hold a lot. As time goes by I’m sure we’ll be filling them with practice boards, targets and more gear!
Until then, I’m enjoying having a place to store all their Tae Kwon Do paraphernalia.
Pretty good for claiming a lot of storage in a small space!
I wanted to finish up by telling you how thrilled I am to have had the chance to use the GRR-RIPPERs on this project. Previously I always steered clear of tricky cuts on my table saw. But, the GRR-RIPPER 3D Pushblocks gave me the confidence to control the stock and keep my fingers away from the blade. If you own a table saw you really need the GRR-RIPPER 3D Pushblocks! That being said, yes, this is a post sponsored by GRR-RIPPER. But, you know I am particular about the products I blog about.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by MicroJig GRR-Ripper. I was compensated for my time. As always, I’m extremely picky about the products I promote. If I don’t like a product, you won’t see it mentioned. All projects and opinions are my own. I was not told what to write or say about the GRR-RIPPER 3-D Pushblocks.
Using painters tape is a good idea for laying out a project for the DIY’er. I commend you for the rounded corners! So many people would just sand the edge off or put a corner guard on the end. Your rounded edge with the softened edge band is a real nice touch! And bringing the screws in from the back of the screen enclosure is that extra touch of a good eye for classy work! Great job Brittany!
I want to say thank you for posting this as my wife has just requested a couple of projects where I will use a few of your ideas to make my mediocre work into a stunning effort for her! So thank you for posting this and helping me improve my efforts!
THIS LOOKS GREAT1 I CAN USE A VARIATION OF IT, AND LOVE THE IDEA USING BLUE PAINTERS TAPE TO MEASURE, PLAN ETC IN A VISUAL1 GREAT JOB1
Oh, when you showed that pile of clutter, THAT IS MY HOUSE. 🙂 All the way. This is a great project to keep those things off the floor an utilizing that space on the wall. Great job! Pinning it 🙂
Serena @ Thrift Diving
Serena, I think it’s a universal symptom of homes with boys in it.