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

Ben Uyeda of HomeMade Modern, an experienced DIYer and architect, considered building a solar-powered workshop from scratch. However, building a shed from scratch is labor intensive. Find out how Ben customized his pre-fabricated Tuff Shed into a solar-powered workshop.

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

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.

Open Solar-Powered Workshop

Transforming a Prefabricated Tuff Shed Into a 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.

Functional Organization

Transforming a Prefabricated Tuff Shed Into a Solar-Powered Workshop

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.

Light Fixtures

Transforming a Prefabricated Tuff Shed Into a Solar-Powered Workshop

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 up light 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.

Solar-Powered Workshop Security

Transforming a Prefabricated Tuff Shed Into a Solar-Powered Workshop

I was expecting a latch and padlock situation but these shed 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.

Solar-Powered Workshop Specs

Base Building TR-800 10ft. wide x 12ft. long
Roof 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
Options 1 White Drip Edge, 1 6/12 Roof Pitch Upgrade (Sundance Ranches), 1 Horizontal Sliding Window (3 x 2), 2 Double Door Upgrade (6ft Wide x 6ft-7in Tall), 1 Additional Single Shed Door (4ft Wide x 6ft-7in Tall), 120 SQ FT Radiant Barrier Roof Decking, 2 Sky Light*** (2 x 2)

Organizing Tools

Transforming a Prefabricated Tuff Shed Into a Solar-Powered Workshop

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 in the shed.

Solar Electric System Overview

Transforming a Prefabricated Tuff Shed Into a Solar-Powered Workshop

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.

Photovoltaic Panels

The electricity is generated by four 100 Watt photovoltaic panels

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.

Fuse Box

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


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

Grounding Rod

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


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

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.

Ryobi Battery Chargers

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

Transforming a Prefabricated Tuff Shed Into a Solar-Powered Workshop

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 lawnmowers 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.

Find more Outdoor Living inspiration on The Home Depot Blog. Follow our Outdoor Living board on Pinterest for other ideas on how to customize a shed.

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