Garage Makeover: DIY Workbench


The Garage Makeover Series is back on track!  Sort of.  Once again, I am going a little out of order.  Part 3 was supposed to be the installation of the drywall.  While we did manage to get the majority of that project completed this weekend, the workbench was finished last week and I already had the blog post cued up and ready to roll.  Hence the switch.

This particular workbench was inspired by Part 2 of the Series – Custom Shelving.  I thought the shelves turned out really sturdy and fairly attractive for what they were.  So I decided to scale down the project into a workbench format.  That way my workbench would match the shelving and it would be just as reliable and sturdy.

I started by determining my dimensions.  I decided to make the height 36 inches.  This might be a little higher than some workbenches, but I knew I wanted enough room for a big shelf underneath it.  My plan is to put a peg board right over the bench to hang the tools I use the most.  Since the dimensions of my peg board are 48″ X 48″, I determined that the length of my workbench should be the same.  I determined the depth by cutting that number in half.  I wanted to be able to reach easily over the bench to retrieve my tools from the peg board.  As for the shelf, I basically eyeballed a height that I thought was appropriate.  The bottom of the bench ended up measuring 12 inches from the ground.


Bench Measurements

With these particular measurements in mind, I created my shopping list and my cut list.


(2) 2 x 4 x 8s

(2) 2 x 4 x 12s

(1) Sheet of Plywood

(52) #8 x 2 1/2 Wood Screws

Power Drill

Impact Driver


Tape Measure

Cut List:

(4) 2 x 4 @ 48″ – Cut from the 2 x 4 x 8s

(4) 2 x 4 @ 36″ – Cut from the 2 x 4 x 12s

(6) 2 x 4 @ 21″ – Cut from the 2 x 4 x 12s

(2) 24″ x 48″ Pieces of Plywood – Cut from Sheet

I already owned several of the items on my list so my shopping list consisted of 2x4s.  Normally, I would just ask the guys at the hardware store to make the cuts for me, but there was some sort of kids club going on in the store when I was there.  So the big saw was shut down and I had to bring my 2x4s home and cut them with my miter saw.  Below is a shot of the cuts after I made them.  It is a good photo for those who are visual learners like me.


Visual Cut List

As for the plywood, I recycled some pieces I already had in the garage.  They actually came from my college beer pong table.  I made the table for one of my birthday parties.  It was made to look like the Virginia Tech Football field.  I was really proud of it back in the day.  But now that I have a baby on the way, I figured it was time to recycle the table into something a little more useful.  So I used my circular saw to cut 2 pieces to 24 inches by 48 inches.


BEFORE – One half of my beer pong table


AFTER – The top shelf of my new workbench

Once the plywood was cut, I was ready to start assembling all my pieces.  I started the same way I did with the custom shelving.  I constructed the base of the two shelves.  Each shelf base consisted of 2 48″ cuts and 3 21″ cuts.  I lined the 48″ cuts up parallel to each other and placed the 21″ cuts in between them as supports.


I used the power drill to pre-drill holes through the 48″ cuts where they met with the supports. Then I used the impact driver to secure them with the #8 x 2 1/2 inch wood screws.


Pre-drill the holes


Secure the wood screws

Once the base for the shelves were built I added the plywood to the tops of them.  I used the impact driver to secure the boards to the base with the wood screws.  I put a screw in each of the 4 corners and two in the middle where the center support was.



When both shelves were finished I flipped them up onto their sides and prepared to attach the legs.


This will forever remind me of my crazy college days

I started with the top of the bench.  I pre-drilled holes on the legs with the power drill.  I made sure the legs were lined up with the top and sides of the top shelf.  Then I used the same screws to secure the legs to the top of the first shelf with the impact driver.



Once the legs were secure to the top shelf, I prepared to attach them to the bottom shelf.  I used the same method as the top except that I had to measure where the second shelf would go. I measured from the bottom of each leg, 12 inches.  When the screws were in and both legs were completely secure, I flipped the whole structure up on its side to avoid having the shelves collapse on the other side.


I placed the whole structure back on the ground facing the other way.  Then I repeated the steps on the other side to attach the last two legs.  Once they were all on, I flipped the table up onto it’s legs.



Ta-Da!!!  A brand new workbench with a hefty structure, plenty of room to work and lots of storage space.  Easy to make, cheap to buy, and quick to assemble.  I did this whole project in just over an hour, by myself, and pregnant.  If I can do it, so can you!

Stay tuned for more steps in the Garage Makeover Series.  Coming soon!




  1. Axel Oberg says:

    Excellent design. Simple. Elegant. Effective. Fun to assemble. Thanks!
    I changed the sizes a bit to work with the lumber i had laying around, very flexible format… Came out great!
    A++highly recommended

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