5 Gallon Water Jug Storage

I have seven 5 gallon water jugs that I use to top off my saltwater fish tank. For the last couple years they have been taking up a log of floor space in my garage. As you’ve seen on a few of my past projects like the DIY Reclaimed Pallet Shelf or the Wood Storage Cart, I am trying to reclaim some of the precious work space in my garage. I looked online again of course but didn’t really find anything I liked. I have seen some plastic storage options at Home Depot but they were more than I wanted to spend. I ended up making up my own design on this and it is as basic as I could make it.
After drawing up the plans, I made a quick run to home depot. I only needed to pickup eight or nine regular 8′ 2×4’s. (This ended up being a pretty cheap project.) I ended up cutting 21×15″ pieces for each shelf and using the table saw I cut 7 of them in half. The side stiles were cut to 77″ since that is the total height of the whole thing and the max that would fit in my garage.


Using clamps, I quickly pre-drilled, countersunk and assembled each shelf. After the shelves were complete, I rounded everything off including the inside where the jug would be sitting with my belt sander.


I lined everything up so each shelf was close to 12x12x15 inches on the inside. After a few were lined up, I added some clamps to keep everything stable while I countersunk and screwed everything in place.



After it was all done I secured it to the wall and  reclaimed a whole bunch of floor space. Now I have a small fight with a few jugs with leaky seals..

21 Comments on 5 Gallon Water Jug Storage

  1. This looks like exactly what we need!!! Thank you. I think I am going to try and build one soon. Now that you have lived with, and used this for a little while, is there anything you would have done differently, any improvements on the design?

    • Hey Dore,
      I used mine for 5 or more years and never had any issues with it. The only improvements on design would be if it were going to inside the house I might purdy it up a a bit.
      Thanks for reading!

  2. I like your design and an excellent reason to finally purchase a needed table saw. I’m thinking of making 2 3 gallon size ones so I can use them as supports for my coffee bar. One on each end. May stain or paint, but my kitchen is heading toward rustic anyway, and is large enough. Also, I won’t have to reach so high. I would be a bit experimental.

  3. Hi

    Nice job with this. I was sure you had posted a full write up of this on Instructables but I can’t seem to find it anymore. Is that still available somewhere? My wife would like something similar for the bunch of 5gal jugs we just bought. No worries if it’s gone, I will figure it out just figured I’d ask.

    • I’ve written some tutorials on Instructables but don’t think I ever did this one. It was one of my original posts and came out a long time before I did anything for indestructible. Sorry..

  4. Have you tried put them at a slight angle to help stop the leaking seals? Cause I like this plan. When I go to make mine I’d like it to angled as if the bottom was at some sort of a angle.

  5. I used your dimensions of 15″ and built this exact same rack, just a bit shorter. Works great, fits perfectly, and very simple to put together. Thanks.

  6. Thanks for the info. Your instructions and photos were great, in that they were easy to follow. I just completed the first of three racks for my water bottles. Prior to starting the project I read several comments about the potential for leaking seals on the bottles. As a result I incorporated a 10 degree angle into my shelving. Upon completion the cant of the bottles at this angle will not address any potential seal leakage issues. With that being said the next two that I build will not have the cant incorporated into the design, they are being stored in the garage after all.

    • That’s for the info Steven! I’ve heard of others putting a bag under the cap to help the seal. I ended up using a piece cut out of a styrofoam cup which helped for a while..

  7. Thanks for posting. FYI, I use a piece of plastic wrap under the cap of the bottle and it stops them from leaking when they’re stored sideways.

  8. I am trying to figure out how you managed 15x15x15 on the inside in a length of 77
    I can get 15 deep then 12 wide and then I have 77 – the 1 1/2 x 7 (10 1/2) which lean
    66 1/2 for six holes thus a height per hole of 12

    Am I mad?

    • Nope, totally not crazy. Looks like the insides would probably be even less than 12×12. This is what I get for writing this particular article months after I built the project. If I hadn’t given this away a couple years ago I would be out measuring it to verify..

  9. Thanks. Just completed mine. Your plan was superb they are all 12x12x 15internally and the bottom is about 2 inches off the ground so total height was 84 1/2 inch.
    I used pocket holes on the 15 inch pieces and assembled using a 16 gauge nail gun then screws on the sides.
    Super sturdy and strong
    Thanks again for the inspiration

  10. Thanks for sharing. I am using your design to build several carts to store items. I added casters. To the shelves I am not using to store 5 gallon jugs. I put a thin piece of plywood over each. I used pocket holes to attach the horizonal 2×4 pieces. I am making them just tall enough so they can get through doorways, then I can put an additional crate to store items on top. I will be using one of the carts to hold my small electric power tools: disc sander, spindle samder, scroll saw, drill and impact driver. Thanks again!

    P.S. I want to make another cart for cleaning supplies. I would like to store a broom and some dusters on the outside vertically. Any suggestions for attaching the items where it is super quick and easy to take down and put back up?

    • Great adaptation! I drilled small holes in the handles on some of my tools and tied off some string in some small loops and put them on hooks. That might work for your broom and dusters.

  11. I am interested in those water jugs holders size for 5 lb. I had them at work and the water vendor took our plastic ones when we switched over. Do you still have those for 7 and the prices?

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