DIY Industrial Pipe and Wood Shelving


I'm super excited about sharing this post!  I've been pretty busy around the new house trying to get everything put away, but I tell ya it's not easy this time!  We moved from a 3700 sq ft home into a 4100 sq ft house.  You're probably thinking, "WOW you must have a lot more space to put things!".  I wish, but that's not the case at all.  We moved from a different layout to an open concept home.  I had no idea when we purchased this home, after looking at it for 20 minutes, that I'd lose so much wall and storage space.  Having explained all of this, I've had a difficult time finding places for stuff!  I sold a lot before we moved and then again after we moved, so I thought I'd be fine.  This house has taken the longest to get settled into because of all my 'stuff', which by the way I have felt like putting in a very large dumpster.  However, after I came to my senses and realized how much time I've taken collecting all my vintage 'stuff', I decided it was time to figure a solution for storage/display space.  I know the hubby would have been dancing the happy dance if I'd have told him I was parting with  all my 'stuff', but sadly for him,  he's going to have to wait for that happy dance!  

For awhile I've been admiring these industrial shelves on casters that are made of reclaimed wood and metal.  I've been in love with this shelf from Restoration Hardware, but at $2500 (not including shipping or tax), I couldn't see spending that kind of money on shelving.   I wanted this shelving to display vintage items I've purchased from estate sales, flea markets and yard sales so it didn't make sense to me.   These aren't expensive art pieces or vases, so I decided it was better to figure out a DIY alternative.  I turned to Pinterest and was overwhelmed by the different versions so many creative and handy people had posted. 


The shelf I finally decided to build had a helpful tutorial with lots of pictures, which is perfect for a visual person like me.  My inspiration and tutorial came from Julie Ranee who is a Houzz Contributor and photographer.  I am attaching the link to her shelf here because I need to give her credit for the idea and step by step instructions.  My shelf is a bit different than her shelf, but without her amazing step by step instructions and pictures, I'm not sure I would have had such an easy time building this shelf!  Let alone going to the hardware store to pick out pipes!

Here's my inspiration picture from Julie Ranee's Houzz post


I found my tutorial and list of what I needed to buy for my shelving and was all ready to get shopping for supplies.  My first stop just happened to be IKEA.  I was looking for some other items and just happened to come across some unfinished wood shelves called Ekby Tryggve.  They're made of solid pine.  The shelf measurements worked perfectly for my space, they're 46 7/8" long by 11" wide.  Each shelf holds 44 pounds (bonus!).  The best part was I only needed five shelves.  They were $6.99 each and no cuts necessary!  For about $35 I was well on my way to building my new shelving!

I took this picture after I brought the shelves home and got to work building.


My next stop for supplies was my local Home Depot for the pipes.  However,  when I saw the pipe I had to choose from, I decided to spray paint all my pipe and fittings in Rustoleum's Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic (which cost about $7).  This is my favorite and go-to spray paint because it goes on so easily!  I didn't really want or need to add this step, but I wasn't going to be happy in the end if I didn't.  


This is all my cut steel pipe before I added the spray paint.  I had to wash each one in soapy water before painting.  The pipes were covered in oil from being cut.


I bought 10 ft by 1/2 inch galvanized steel pipe and had the super helpful Home Depot staff member cut them into sixteen, 16 inch pieces.  Home Depot cuts them for free and even threaded both ends of the pipe.  This process took a VERY long time and the staff person was so patient and kind!   Each 10 foot pipe cost $10 and I needed two ten foot pipes, plus one more 16" piece.  Altogether the pipes cost about $25.

Next on my shopping list, eight 1/2 inch galvanized floor flanges.  This picture was taken after I attacked them with spray paint!  The flanges are used to attach the pipe to the wood shelves.  Each flange cost $5 at Home Depot, which totaled about $40.


I also purchased twelve, 1/2 inch galvanized couplings. Each coupling was $2.40 which came out to about $30.  (I took this picture after I painted them) 


I needed four metal industrial casters for the bottom of the shelf.  I don't plan on wheeling this thing around on my hardwood floors, so this is more for aesthetics.  The shelving could be built without the casters if you wanted.  Each caster cost $5, which was $20.


The last items I needed to purchase were thirty two #12 3/4 inch wood screws (four packages at $1.18 each) to attach the flanges to the wood shelves.  Also sixteen #14 3/4 inch sheet metal screws (two packages at $1.18) for attaching the casters to the bottom of the shelving.


I was now ready to stain the wood shelves.  I wanted the finished shelves too look like reclaimed barn wood or as close as I could get to that look in the time I had!  The first thing I did was beat the shelves up a bit.  I used a hammer, wrench and axe to make marks in the wood.  It was a lot of fun!!  For the stain I used Minwax Interior Stain in Classic Gray and Dark Walnut.  I wasn't sure if I would like the Classic Gray on it's own so I bought the Dark Walnut too just in case.  The cost for both cans of stain was about $14.  When I started applying the Classic Gray stain it was just as I expected.....I didn't love color.  The wood was too light to use the gray stain alone.  I wanted a bit more depth to the wood so I applied a coat of the Dark Walnut stain. 


I originally thought I'd apply polycrylic on the shelves, but I decided to skip this step.  If I was using this for storing dishes, pantry items or anything else I was taking down from the shelf a lot, I would have applied a polycryllc finish to each shelf.  Instead I opted to use my Miss Mustard Seed's Antiquing Wax.  I'm not going to be moving things around a lot of the shelves and the wax gave the wood enough protection.  The added benefit was the darker wax added a little more depth to the wood 

I was building this shelf by myself, while the hubby was on a business trip, which meant I didn't get many in-progress pictures.  If you want to make this shelf, Julie's tutorial is the best!

I'm going to fast forward to the finished project.  In all,  the shelf took about three to four hours to build, including drying time for the paint and stain.  The most time consuming part was staining the shelves, due to the fact I used two different stain colors.   

Here is the finished shelving!  This picture was taken with my iPhone so the quality isn't the best.  I had to wait until the hubby got home from his trip to move this piece into the house.  It was heavy and awkward!  


And here's the finished shelving doing what I needed it to do....display my vintage treasures!



This is a close up of how the couplings were used on the shelf for support.  For more details and a tutorial visit Julie Ranee's post here


This is a close up of the flanges and how they're attached to the wood.  I was going to paint the screws as well, but once the shelf was assembled I realized I had forgotten to paint them! 


There are only two pieces on the shelves that aren't vintage.  One is this large wooden letter 'M' I bought at Hobby Lobby.  It was painted navy blue and I added some yellow and white paint to give it some 'bling' (as Hunter calls it).  I wanted the letter to look vintage and like it belonged with everything else.  I'm happy with how it turned out!




The second non-vintage item on the shelves is the silver elephant. I found the plastic elephant in the $1 section at Target last fall.  I spray painted it silver, then added some gold accents and dark wax to make it look older. 






 This shelf was exactly what I needed!  The cost for the shelf was about $185, which is a lot better than $2500!  It's not exactly like the shelf from Restoration Hardware, but I'm happy having the extra money in my pocket.  When I see the shelves, I smile and I feel proud knowing I made this by myself!  If only my college professor's could see me now!  

The shelf fits nicely in our eat-in kitchen and flows perfectly with the industrial, vintage vibe I have going on in the rest of the kitchen (more pictures and posts are coming on that!).  

Slowly, but surely I'm making progress in our new house.  I was a bit worried for awhile there, but now I can see my vision coming together and it makes the whole moving process a bit easier to swallow.  I still miss my Connecticut home, neighborhood and friends, but I'm starting to love this house and feel more at home here.  Our new neighborhood is wonderful.  Our school close to the house, we have a beautiful clubhouse and pool in the neighborhood and our neighbors have been warm and welcoming.  I can't ask for much more than that!

Thank you as always for taking time out of your busy day to read this.  I enjoy reading your comments and emails, so keep them coming!

Take care,







13 comments:

  1. super super cute...pinned ...gonna follow you along! Christine from Little Brags

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  2. Love this!! I'm making one for my daughter, can you tell me how tall your shelves are & what's the overall height?

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    1. Thank you Jill! I had the pipes cut to 16". The overall height is about 84" with the castors. The best part about this is you can really make it whatever height works for you by adjusting the pipe length. We have tall ceilings and I needed the height. Good luck and I wold love to see your project!

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  3. I really like the look of the shelf you created, it seems so versatile a design in that you can make it taller, or shorter, wider or narrower to fit what you need, I'm a sucker for anything wood and metal! An inspiration thank you, Kyle.

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    1. Thank you so much Kyle!! I love wood and metal together as well. :-)

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  4. Hi, Melody! Can you tell me where you purchased your casters? I know it was last year, but I'm looking for something similar... Thank you!!

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  5. The shelf you built is gorgeous and I see why you like it. The wood has character and depth that you just don't see in modern furniture. The pipe added a lot, but I do agree that paint makes the difference. You have rolled your vintage look into steampunk aspirations. It is a great look and a great piece

    Traci Mcdaniel @ Carolina Material Handling

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  6. This project is just awesome! I can finally use my pipe fittings in the Philippines to start my own shelf project too!

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