Home improvement: DIY industrial pipe shelf system made easy

With many instructional videos on YouTube, Pinterest and other home and garden websites, finding the best instructional for your planned space is only a click away. Ashley Ludwig photo
With many instructional videos on YouTube, Pinterest and other home and garden websites, finding the best instructional for your planned space is only a click away. Ashley Ludwig photo

When I start a Do It Yourself project, I usually mull for quite some time. That said, the DIY pipe shelving idea is not new. Adding industrial décor has been around for ages, and when done properly it can add a dimension to your home that inspires past recollection and hope for the future. That said, pipe shelving is the perfect storage solution for Coach Ludwig’s trophy wall.

Create industrial vintage charm with DIY Pipe Shelves. This type of shelving might not be not cheap, but they are functional, easy to make, and completely modifiable to meet your shelving and storage needs. Courtesy photo
Create industrial vintage charm with DIY Pipe Shelves. This type of shelving might not be not cheap, but they are functional, easy to make, and completely modifiable to meet your shelving and storage needs. Courtesy photo

Problem: The trophies are starting to pile their way into the master bedroom, and while I love the heart, soul and dedication behind each one, having trophies in my grown up adult bedroom, isn’t exactly the look I was going for in the new house.

Therefore, a niche in our master bedroom loft was the ideal location for the wall of glory. Coach will be able to see his treasured trophies, and they will be out of the Zen space I am attempting to create in my room. Win, win.

Researching the perfect DIY industrial pipe shelves, the cost involved versus putting in a more traditional shelving system is not a deterrent. First of all, DIY pipe shelf projects are typically beginner level. All that is involved is properly measuring your space, picking the right length pipes and deciding whether to spray paint the pieces or go more au natural with silver, black or even copper pipe systems.

Pinterest is full of DIY pipe shelving ideas, from ridiculously simple to complex and fantastic. For a weekend project, the DIY pipe shelving that will work for my home was best told by a Home Depot blogger, Brandi of the blog, Don’t Disturb This Groove.

My reasons—the step-by-step tutorial is extensive, with images on exactly what to buy, what size and type of pipe fitting for each section, how to find and place and properly install each piece and it looked like the fastest way to get this job accomplished for Coach before he returned home from work. I decided on four shelves of equal length, with a full board “table shelf” underneath to hide the cat’s storage area.

Find your DIY pipe shelf fitting and plumbing supplies at Lowes, Home Depot, or at a plumbing supply facility. Ashley Ludwig photo
Find your DIY pipe shelf fitting and plumbing supplies at Lowes, Home Depot, or at a plumbing supply facility. Ashley Ludwig photo

What I need for the space four DIY pipe shelves with three supports:

  • 12 – 3/4 -inch Flanges
  • 12 – 3/4 -inch x 10 or 12-inch steel nipples, depending on your project needs
  • 12 – 3/4 -inch caps for shelf supports
  • 1 box dry wall anchors
  • Four pine boards cut to size
  • Minwax stain for the boards
  • *Rust-Oleum Spray paint—any color you like, as long as adheres to metal, for the pipes
  • Measure tape
  • Level

The first step for the project is to measure your space and determine the depth of the pipe pieces that will work for you, as well as the length of the pine boards you need to stretch across each section. For the purpose of my shelves, we’ll be doing 58-inch long sections. If you are lucky, you can find vintage wood from somewhere like Vintage Timberworks, in Rainbow, California or a vintage picker, such as Kristen Moffat, who collects odds and ends for DIY projects. Once you determine the look and length for your project it’s time to go shopping.

Home Depot was the place that had all of the plumbing pieces necessary for my fast and easy DIY pipe shelves. As an afterthought, I added dry wall anchors to add the “flanges” to the wall so that they wouldn’t shift or fall due to the weight of the DIY pipe shelf that would hold all of the trophies yet to come.

What size pipe fittings should you use? What style of industrial pipe shelving do you wish to create? Look at Pinterest by searching “DIY pipe shelving” or follow Ashley Ludwig’s DIY for the home project board. Ashley Ludwig photo
What size pipe fittings should you use? What style of industrial pipe shelving do you wish to create? Look at Pinterest by searching “DIY pipe shelving” or follow Ashley Ludwig’s DIY for the home project board. Ashley Ludwig photo

Once purchased, each shelf needed to be stained to match the wood already in the room. In this case, it’s a golden oak right now. Later, it can be painted if we shift to all white, or whitewashed wood which is my grand plan for this space.

*Don’t worry if the pipe that you found is not the color that you wish it to be. Simply use a cardboard box to inset each piece into, and then spray with your Rust-Oleum metal spray paint of choice. Allow paint long enough to dry. This step is only if you want to change the look of the pipes.

While you are waiting for your pieces to dry, measure out and level your shelf spacing. Measure your space both horizontally and vertically, allowing a halfway point for the middle support pipe and flange pieces. Now is the time to mark out and pre-drill your dry wall anchors. You will use four dry wall anchors for each flange. Overkill? I think not. Trophies are heavy.

Finally, screw together your pipe fitting pieces carefully, adding the end caps to each piece and then secure each section to the wall. The cap at the end of each pipe should be enough to keep the boards in place. However, you can also secure pipe strapping or squish Museum Wax across the top of each pipe to further secure each one, and always should use Museum Wax to adhere heavy objects, trophy bottoms, etc., to the shelves for added protection from earthquakes. We do live in southern California, after all. At last, lay your boards across each one, creating the DIY industrial pipe shelf system of your dreams.

The space, which will benefit from shelving for Coach’s many trophies and those to come. Ashley Ludwig photo
The space, which will benefit from shelving for Coach’s many trophies and those to come. Ashley Ludwig photo

2 Responses to "Home improvement: DIY industrial pipe shelf system made easy"

  1. Michael Smith   September 26, 2016 at 1:55 am

    That looks neat! Thanks for showing us how to make it! Really excited to build one

    Reply
  2. Kevin Mosley   September 10, 2017 at 5:01 am

    I didn’t try the celing fan, because it scared me about the noise. Although a lot of high quality fans are there, but I still wonder about the noise. Skylight is a great tip along with efficient energy window. In general, you provided very useful advice in short words. Thanks again.

    Reply

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