How to Make a Homemade Folding Shelf

What You'll Need
Wood or Plywood
Self Drilling Anchors
2 Folding Shelf Brackets
Paint or Stain
Measuring Tape
Spirit Level

A folding shelf is an excellent way to add counter space to a room while also retaining the flexibility to store it out of the way when it's not required. Ideal places for folding shelves are in a laundry room or garage where surfaces are only needed occasionally. They are also very effective for wheelchair-bound people, as they can be installed at an appropriate level and stored to give space to manoeuvre. Once you've installed one folding shelf, you're likely to come up with many other locations to install another.

Step 1 – Prepare Wood

The type of wood that you use for your shelf will depend on the room it will be situated in and the finish that you require. If you are going to paint the homemade shelving or just want to use it in the garage or workshop, plywood or MDF is a cheap, reliable material. However, if you intend to stain the shelf, you will want to choose a wood that blends in with the rest of the décor.

Measure the area and purchase a suitable piece of wood to cut to size. Most wood shops will cut the wood for you if you prefer, and this option will ensure that the edges are straight if you are not confident about your own sawing ability. It is easier to stain or paint the wood before you assemble the shelf and also gives it time to dry while you position the brackets on the wall.

Step 2 – Install Brackets

Measure the height you want to install the shelf at and mark positions to install the self drilling anchors. These anchors will hold the shelf in place even if you don't have a stud finder. Ideally, the wood for the shelf should not extend more than 4 inches further than the end of the brackets to prevent excessive strain being placed on them. Drill the anchors into the wall then hold the brackets in place while you secure them with screws. To verify that the brackets are level, use a spirit level. A small error in positioning can make the shelf uneven, so take the time at this stage to measure precisely.

Step 3 – Attach Shelf

Sand the wood lightly then apply a second coat of stain or paint and leave it to dry. If you have not used a gloss or enamel paint, then you may also want to add a coat of varnish to protect the surface. Once the wood is prepared, attach it loosely to the brackets and double check that it is level so that it can be raised and lowered smoothly. Once you have confirmed that there are no problems, you can go ahead and tighten the screws fully. The shelf should be very low maintenance even if used regularly, although you may need to refinish it or oil the hinges occasionally.