Smart Shelving From Car Accessories - Autocycle Upcycle

4 Materials
2 Hours

I always love a good DIY challenge, so I was really thrilled when I was asked to join the an Autocycle Challenge. I had to buy something car-related from Gumtree, a secondhand online store, and upcycle the item into a covetable home décor piece. Let me show you how I turned an unwanted car ramp into über cool shelving in 6 quick steps!

Besides the car ramps, you will need matte black spray paint, 4 pieces of pine veneer ply and some clear wood varnish (I had left over from another project).


The supplier was kind enough to cut the plywood to size, and all I had to do was to sand them with 100 grit sandpaper. But when cutting wood always measure twice: the ramps are tapered so each shelf has a different length and width! 


A quick coat of clear varnish seals the wood and protects it from stains and other damage. Just look at that gorgeous grain!


Spray the car ramp steel with black spray paint. I really love the matte colour and surprisingly I only needed a single coating! Check on the spray paint can’s instructions - f ind out why! 

And something else to keep in mind when spraying outside: don’t stand down-wind from the object you’re spraying 


In order to secure the shelves to the frame, I drilled 2 small holes through the base of each frame. Now you can put the whole thing together!

See how I screw-fixed the shelves and assembled the rest here.

It was really very easy to do and I love the result: clean, simple, and with a trendy industrial element!

Have a look at the original post here to see what the winner did!

Happy Upcycling!

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

18 questions
  • Tova Pearl
    on Jul 26, 2018

    that is cool looking! i am wondering if you applied the veneer against the grain on purpose? very original

    • Lorna Mason-Henderson
      on Jul 26, 2018

      It's plywood, I do not think she applied veneer to

      it. Each layer of plywood runs perpendicular to the previous layer to ensure its strength and integrity.

    • Hb
      on Jul 26, 2018

      Love the look of this and yes to plywood being layer with the grain opposite to each other on each layer, except this plywood may be too thin for the shelves. If you look closely the three upper shelves are already warping in the middle with virtually no weight on them as a result of the plywood only barely touching the metal supports on the ends. The shelves need either an extra support in the middle or a support about 8 inches out from the metal on each side

    • Sally-Charles Evans
      on Jul 26, 2018

      I noticed the warp of the shelves too, and the wood looks to be 1 inch. Supports! Otherwise it's going to really fold up with a book or two on it. Perhaps the wood was already warped.

  • Joann bresloff
    on Jul 26, 2018

    Love you idea! Love the print on the wall. Would you tell me where it’s from. Thank you.

  • Carol Cole
    on Jul 26, 2018

    WOW really cool. Couldn't you of put another shelf on top?

  • Dahliaqueen
    on Jul 26, 2018

    Shelves not looking strong enough to hold what you have on them. Maybe need a center brace? Love them tho....very clever!

    • Jeffump
      on Jul 26, 2018

      Should have cut the plywood with the grain, not across. Better yet, use a 1x or 2x instead.

    • Michelle Dodson
      on Jul 26, 2018

      It looks like the plywood may have been slightly bowed to begin with. The items on the shelves are not that heavy. I agree that a center brace would be helpful.

  • Bmi32050820
    on Jul 26, 2018

    Great idea stronger shelves would work but not necessary if u don’t plan to put heavier objects. What is the print on the wall looks good and interesting. Good job

  • Donna marchigiani
    on Jul 26, 2018

    Couldn't you have turned the ramps upside down?

  • Cece
    on Jul 26, 2018

    It looks like a neat project. But Im looking st some sharp looking ends at the top. Are going to file those off?

      on Jul 26, 2018

      Thanks for the comment! They look sharp on the pictures, but actually they're not sharp at all and totally safe!

    • Joe Jones
      on Jul 28, 2018

      There’s sharp ends all around the house if it’s over 30-35” it isn’t a fall hazard. I can’t believe the things people stress over.

      This is is a cool project but those are expensive ramps and can’t be found really easily anymore

  • Jaye
    on Jul 26, 2018

    How did yo do in the Autocycle Challenge?

  • Joe Jones
    on Jul 28, 2018

    Are you in South Africa Or just post on sites in South Africa?

  • Sherry Fleming
    on Aug 2, 2018

    So what happens when dad needs to work on the car?? Great idea but that is something that lays around for months/years and then is needed and is VALUABLE!

      on Aug 2, 2018

      I agree! Only here, Dad doesn't work on the car so I think we're safe!

    • Lin Collins
      on Aug 2, 2018

      Remember, the ramps weren't altered so with just a bit of trouble the ramps are still usable if needed.

    • Beth
      on Aug 2, 2018

      Oh for goodness sakes! Go get new car ramps at the store, or take the car to a mechanic! 😂😂😂

  • Snooks1948
    on Aug 2, 2018

    I like your idea, Could you have turned them around and just Layed the shelves between them without attaching the shelves.?

  • Siegrid Monika Yebba
    on Aug 2, 2018

    Could you replace the spindle legs with simple straight ones? They could be painted in a nice accent color.

  • Mario Solis
    on Aug 2, 2018

    Looks good but without any support in the middle? shelfs are gonna start sagging with anything you put on them

  • Barb Klotz
    on Aug 2, 2018

    what if you turn the sheles around would the that give the wood shelving more support

      on Aug 3, 2018

      Hi Barb, it could but then they won't be attached.

    • Jackie Pudvay
      on Aug 3, 2018

      Clever idea nice

    • Chrissy Wells
      on Aug 8, 2018

      I see what your saying...with what she has put on the shelves, they are starting to sag...I would shorten the distance of the ramps and use pine or better boards, you could also attach angle iron to the back or a metal rods in the middle, turning it around I don't see it....doesn't seem like it would look right.....i think I would bring the ramps in closer, so the boards extend out 4 to 6'd have your middle support, and shelves on the end to add knick knacks, small flower pots, small lamp, books, or whatever.

      It is a clever idea, would be great for a boys room or man cave...

    • Em
      on Jul 27, 2019

      You could also use other wood that will not bow. Plywood is strong for some projects but you can see with little weight it is bowing already.

    • 19698379
      on Jul 27, 2019

      You could put something else in the middle to help give a little more support or maybe space out the objects displayed on the shelf a little more. It looks like it is mostly the second one from the top that is bowing.

    • Cyn31657283
      on Jul 27, 2019

      Looks like they can be shortened so that the center is supported.

    • John Friesen
      on Jul 30, 2019

      I have used a 1/2" square length of wood underneath thin shelves to reinforce them. I ran the support "stick" 2/3 the length of the shelf and screwed it in from the top of the shelf. That way the self can look very delicate without sagging. The support doesn't show if set in the center of the shelf.

  • Theresa
    on Aug 20, 2018

    Could you tell what is hanging on the wall above project? Thanks

  • Lori B
    on Jul 27, 2019

    This is a really cool idea! Very creative! Nice job

  • Cathy
    on Aug 3, 2019

    This is a really nice project - love it!

  • Bonnie
    on Aug 3, 2019

    Won't the shelves bow down after awhile .

    • Aaron
      on Aug 3, 2019

      Completely depends on moisture, weight, and wood you use. Considering design. Maybe the curves would be desired. You could always add a middle back bone and screw into the wood to support the back. I would suggest to end the support, rather wood of metal, at top shelf

    • Ann
      on Aug 3, 2019

      Turn them over every few weeks

    • Sherry
      on Aug 3, 2019

      The are already bowing in the picture. Time to turn them!

    • Rhonda Fleming
      on Aug 3, 2019

      Grain could go lengthwise... but awesome use of creativity that I always admire in people!

    • Joni
      on Aug 3, 2019

      Use thicker plywood or 2x6 or 2x8's

    • Patty
      on Aug 4, 2019

      Cut wood shorter or use for light weight objects such as picture frames. Very creative. I lile!

    • Nancy Boyd Reed
      on Aug 5, 2019

      Depends on how heavy the objects placed on it are and how far apart the stands are. I usually turn the shelves over every few months

    • Melody
      on Aug 5, 2019

      That’s an optical illusion as the metal ends the boards are sitting on is at an angle giving the boards a bowed look.

Join the conversation

2 of 110 comments
  • Tonia
    on Aug 5, 2019

    It is really nice, it look like something you would see in a high end store, super cool

  • Shirley
    on Sep 26, 2019

    Very creative and looks nice. My only problem with it is that Car Ramps ; out of necessity for their actual use , are Heavy! I know because I have had to move them at times. Of course that would only be a problem on those occasions when you

    wanted or needed to move them. I like the idea.

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