Oh My! It’s Made of Ply(Wood): Modern Plywood Shelving Organization for Props

By Brittni • Updated on 09/20/2016

Weekend DIY Idea: How to Create Modern Plywood Shelving Organization

The other week, I shared one of my favorite studio projects to date, for the custom DIY built-ins upstairs and today I’m sharing the other half of that custom build, which is where I keep all 272 (I’m guessing – I didn’t actually count) of my props organized and in one spot.

This part of the build was a little different than the rest because I wanted this side to be more utilitarian – a place where I could see everything at a glance, that doesn’t have the added pressure of feeling like it needs to be styled. Because styling your props while they’re sitting on a shelf unused is some next level crazy. Not saying I actually avoided it…I have to admit I did (semi) style everything in the photos a little bit. But it’s a sickness folks. I couldn’t help myself.

Here’s what this side of the space looked like before, as a reminder…

Before the built-in (Paper & Stitch studio)

And here’s what you’ll need to make your own built-in like this one…


  • 2 pieces of plywood sheets 4×8 sheets (this will vary based on the size of your built-in)
  • 2 1/2 interior finish nails or interior brad nails
  • 2 1/2 inch finish nailer / nail gun
  • table saw
  • sanding block or sander
  • natural wood filler
  • tape measure
  • small framing square
  • drill
  • countersink drill bit
  • 1 5/8 coarse thread drywall screws
  • soft clamps
  • saw horses (optional)
  • level (2 ft or home torpedo level)
  • eye and ear protection


Determine rough opening. Measure the height, width, and depth of the opening that you are creating the built-in inside, with a tape measure.

Factor in the widths of the vertical bracing (the plywood pieces that will be running up and down vertically) in the main box when doing your layout. If you skip this step, your cubbies won’t be in equal sections.

So, to deteremine the width of the plywood boxes that will be in equal parts, subtract the width of the plywood supports first and then divide by the number of boxes you want to add.

How to Create Modern Plywood Shelving Organization

Once you have your measurements, the process is very similar to how the seating and shelving was created on the other side…Building the box frame first and then adding shelving and supports, before pushing it into place and securing the back piece that finishes the look. See the seating and shelving built-ins tutorial for the step by step instructions. 

DIY Modern Plywood Shelving Organization

The main difference for mine though, which you probably won’t have to worry about for yours at home, is that there were two deep built-ins that came together at the corner, which means the first column of boxes in my built in, had to be much more shallow in depth to accommodate the depth of the other side. Which is why that first column of shelves is shallow on mine. Just something to think about, just in case your built-ins plan looks similar to mine.

DIY Modern Plywood Shelving Organization

After everything was installed (I worked with Britt Service Group on the build – which I highly recommend if you’re in Atlanta), I quickly started throwing stuff into the cubbies and was surprised by how many pieces I could actually fit in each cubby. That and the fact that there’s hidden storage behind the unit (which you might remember seeing in the other post), left me with SO much extra space around the studio…I was even able to unpack some boxes that have been untouched since we moved in because I had no where to put them (until now).

So happy to have everything organized and out of the way now. It has made such a difference around here. Especially considering the fact that the studio is a loft, which means there are only 2 (very small) closets in the entire space.

DIY Modern Plywood Shelving Organization

DIY Modern Plywood Shelving Organization

DIY Modern Plywood Shelving Organization

Weekend DIY Idea: How to Create Modern Plywood Shelving Organization

Weekend DIY Idea: How to Create Modern Plywood Shelving Organization

Photography Amelia Tatnall Lawrence
Styling Brittni Mehlhoff

What do you think of built-in #2? Are you a fan of the raw plywood like me or do you think I should paint it?

P.S. Did you know that National Get Organized Week is coming up (week of October 3rd)?!

11 comments | Click here to reply

[…] wood (mine is a scrap piece of plywood from this project and is 21.5 x […]

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Hey Brittni,

This plywood shelving turned out amazing. You did a really great job. Thanks for including hearing protection during this project, it’s quite often overlooked. By the way, raw plywood always looks better than with paint 😉


Josh Roberts

[…] 5. Plywood Shelving by Paper & Stitch […]

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This looks awesome. These days, shelving is available in many different types, designs and sizes. It is a great storage option to keep things organized and save a lot of space in your home.

Linda Jones

With only a few planks of wood, you’ve created a handy shelf. I think if add more nails, I can arrange collection of my power tools in a neat manner.

Andre C. Howell

Looks great for organization! I am for the painted variety for a more finished look. But it works “as is” too!

Anne Rita Taylor

Wow, these look great! I’m starting to collect more props and I would love to have some storage like this! Right now all of mine are in/on a small dresser


Aw, thanks Sara. I have admit it’s nice to have everything in one place now (instead of all over the place and completely unorganized).


Absolutely beautiful! If only I could get my prop storage to look this amazing!

sara|alice & lois

Thanks Michelle. It’s been really helpful to have all this extra storage for my random props and craft supplies.


This is perfect organization, brilliant!

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