DIY Industrial Shelves

DIY pipe shelves

The Spruce / Lauren Thomann

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 3 - 4 hrs
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 days
  • Yield: Two 16" wooden shelves with two brackets per shelf
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $75 to $100

Do you want to add some industrial pipe shelving to your home? DIY industrial shelves are easy to make and can be customized to any wall space regardless of the size. As open shelves, they provide a modern look and make it easy to access whatever you store on them. 

This pipe-shelf project might require an extra set of hands and some patience depending on the size and the type of walls in your house. Follow the step-by-step instructions to learn how to make a pair of simple shelves that are perfect for a small space. 

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Table saw
  • Drill
  • Sanding block
  • Screwdriver
  • Pipe wrench

Materials

  • Reclaimed pine shelf
  • Wood sealant
  • 1/2-inch black pipe, 52 inches long
  • 1/2-inch black pipe, 50 inches long
  • 8 1/2-inch floor flanges
  • 4 1/2-inch black elbows

Instructions

  1. Sketch Your Design

    The first step is to sketch out the size and layout of the shelves you want to make. This tutorial shows you how to make two 16" wooden shelves with two brackets per shelf. Each bracket uses ready cut pieces of pipe. If you need custom sizes, the pipe can be cut down and threaded at most local home improvement stores. 

    If you are making a larger shelf, consider adding an extra bracket in the center of the shelf for additional support. 

    industrial pipe shelves supplies

    The Spruce / Lauren Thomann

  2. Cut Wood Shelves to Size

    Use a table saw to cut your shelves down to size. If you are purchasing new lumber, ask the supplier if they will cut the shelf for you. These shelves measure 16" long and 10.5" deep. 

    how to cut shelving

    The Spruce / Lauren Thomann

  3. Sand and Finish Wood as Desired

    Sand down any rough edges with a sanding block or sandpaper. Once the wood surface is smooth, decide how you want to stain and finish the wood. This wood has a deep, aged color, which goes well with the industrial brackets. Finish the wood by following the instructions on your desired sealant. 

    how to prep wood for shelves

    The Spruce / Lauren Thomann

  4. Assemble the Pipe Brackets

    Screw pipes and elbows together using a pipe wrench in the following order:

    • Connect the 1/2-inch flange to the shorter pipe and tighten. 
    • Connect the elbow to the other end of the shorter pipe and tighten.
    • Insert the longer black pipe into the other end of the elbow and tighten. 
    • Connect the remaining flange to the end of the long pipe and tighten. 
    how to make pipe brackets for shelves

    The Spruce / Lauren Thomann

  5. Screw the Brackets Into the Shelves

    Place the brackets near the long end of the shelf so that the flange is flush with the shelf edge. Some people may decide to hang the bracket on the wall first and add the shelf after. However, it's easier to screw into the shelf when it's flat instead of when it's floating on the wall. 

    how to screw in pipe shelves

    The Spruce / Lauren Thomann

  6. Hang the Shelves on the Wall

    Using a level, draw a line where you want the top of the shelf to be installed. Then, loose fit the shelf on that line and use a pencil to mark the bracket holes. If the bracket is not square to the wall, loosen or tighten the flange so that it's flush to the wall.

    Remove the shelf and drill a hole where the pencil marks are and insert wall anchors. Make sure your wall anchors are appropriate for the type of wall. Plaster anchors are different than drywall anchors. Have someone hold the shelf back in place while you screw through the flange holes and into the wall anchors. 

    Tip

    If you are able to use studs to hang your shelves, you won't have to use anchors. Commercially available stud finders can help with the task, but it's useful to know that studs are usually 16 inches apart, center to center.

    industrial pipe shelf

    The Spruce / Lauren Thomann

  7. Test and Enjoy Your Finished Shelves

    Make sure your shelves feel sturdy and are gripped well to the wall before you put any objects on them.

    diy industrial pipe shelves

    The Spruce / Lauren Thomann