Project Guide

Transforming a Pre-Fabricated Tuff Shed into a Solar-Powered Workshop

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I love designing and building. I wanted to create a place that doesn’t just accommodate these activities, but rather celebrates them. This 10 x 12 ft. solar-powered workshop began as a pre-fabricated shed by Tuff Shed. I added an off-the-grid solar powered electrical system that can power both the power tools I use for building my DIY projects and the lawn and garden tools used for maintaining the property.

A beautiful kitchen encourages cooking and entertaining. I think that elevating a place for making can encourage creativity. If we celebrate the tools for cooking, why can’t we celebrate the other productive activities that happen in a home? I used inexpensive materials like 2 x 4s, 2 x 6s and plywood to make all of the shelves and work surfaces and then painted them white. I used Behr exterior paint in ultra-pure white for the walls and shelves. Rust-Oleum enamel was used for the countertop. I love how the white makes the bright green Ryobi tools stand out.

1. Open Solar-Powered Workshop

I wanted to create a small space that felt open and full of light and air. I designed a shed by Tuff Shed that has two sets of double doors. When both sets of the doors are open, the shed transforms from a little cute solid block to a wide-open space that blends into the landscape. The grey of the Tuff Shed looks great when paired with the blue of the solar panels.

2. Functional Organization

There is something so satisfying about seeing functional items like lawn and garden tools organized and displayed in way that is both artful and convenient. I am actually looking forward to mowing the yard and garden chores! This Gladiator storage system is not only super strong and versatile, it looks really cool! It reminds me of a combination of shiplap siding and something futuristic out of a science fiction movie. It is smooth to the touch with no sharp edges, but is easy to cut and screw with conventional tools.

3. Light Fixtures

I used some minimal looking white pendant lights for down lighting and created a lighting cove out of rain gutters and some LED string lights to light up the ceiling and make the workshop glow. I screwed 2 x 4s and 2 x 6s in between the studs to create lots of shelves for tool storage.

4. Solar-Powered Workshop Security

I was expecting a latch and padlock situation but these sheds have a nice sturdy lock with keys. My tools are nice and safe inside! I ordered the Tuff Shed online. They have a great website that lets you customize the shed you want. I selected a 10 x 12 ft. shed from Tuff Shed. The shed arrived in panels on a flatbed truck, and their crew of two were able to assemble the entire thing in just three to four hours. They did a great job and made sure to touch up all the paint and clean up after construction. The foreman went over a detailed checklist with me to make sure I was 100% satisfied and got all the features I ordered.

I picked a monochromatic grey shed with two sets of double doors, skylights, and one sliding window so that I could have plenty of light and air.

5. Solar-Powered Workshop Specs

Base Building

  • TR-800 10 ft. wide x 12 ft. long


  • Upgraded Owens Corning Dimensional Shingles

Roof Color

  • Estate Gray Dimensional

Siding Color

  • Knight’s Armor

Trim Color

  • Knight’s Armor

Door Color

  • Knight’s Armor


  • 1 White Drip Edge
  • 1 6/12 Roof Pitch Upgrade (Sundance Ranches)
  • 1 Horizontal Sliding Window (3 x 2)
  • 2 Double Door Upgrade (6 ft. Wide x 6 ft.-7 in. Tall)
  • 1 Additional Single Shed Door (4 ft. Wide x 6 ft.-7 in. Tall)
  • 120 sq. ft. Radiant Barrier Roof Decking
  • 2 Sky Light*** (2 x 2)

6. Organizing Tools

I found this Everbilt tool rack that matched the color of the shed perfectly. I love how the wood handle tools look over the grey siding. These hand tools are stored outside so that dirt is not tracked into the shed.

7. Solar Electric System Overview

Most of the components for this system came from this kit from The Home Depot. This solar kit came with an inverter, charge controller, cables and four 100-watt photovoltaic panels.

8. Photovoltaic Panels

The electricity is generated by four 100-watt photovoltaic panels.

9. Charge Controller

The Charge Controller makes sure that the batteries are being charged in an optimal manner and are in between the photovoltaic panels and the batteries.

10. Fuse Box

We added a fuse box to provide an additional layer of safety.

11. Batteries

The energy is stored in four 6-volt sealed batteries similar to ones used for golf carts.

12. Grounding Rod

The grounding rod is another safety measure that provides a path to discharge electrical surges.

13. Inverter

The batteries provide direct current or DC whereas most corded tools and household appliances require alternating current or AC. The inverter converts DC to AC and has two standard household plugs.

14. Power Strip

We are going to need more than the two plugs on the inverter so I plugged a power strip into the inverter to provide more plugs.

15. Ryobi Battery Chargers

My power tools use 18-volt batteries that can be charged six at a time in my super charger. The lawn mower and other lawn and garden tools use 40-volt batteries that charge one at a time.

The floor of the shed sits about 10 to 12 in. off the ground, so I used this cool hardware set to make a ramp for getting wheelbarrows and lawn mowers in and out. This shed has a lot of space for storage, but I like to keep things minimal and inviting by storing tools on shelves along the walls.

Watch the full tutorial on Ben’s at HomeMadeModern on YouTube. Customize your own solar-powered workshop from a pre-fabricated Tuff Shed at The Home Depot.

Follow our Outdoor Living board on Pinterest for other ideas on how to customize a shed.