DIY Industrial Pipe Shelves

We are so in love with how this shelf turned out! Despite Carl thinking it was a "wild hair" idea as he called it, he has been wanting to build some kind of a pipe shelf for a while now! The rooms aren't very big in our home so when we moved the boys in the same room their old bookshelf felt so heavy and crowded. It was smaller than this one and maxed out on book space which was an issue because you can never have too many children's books in my opinion! So we came up with this one after looking at a bunch of different ideas on Pinterest. There is never a shortage of great DIY tutorials over there! 

A few of the things we love so much about this design we came up with is how secure it is to the wall (we made sure to secure both sides into studs in the wall), that it is floating and off the floor (this alone opened up the room SO much being able to see the floor just felt so airy) as well as how much self space we gained with it feeling less heavy and closed in! I'm already brainstorming different rooms in the house that we could build another one in! It was pretty simple if you just take your time and have a strong husband to tighten and secure it all! Carl wanted to make sure I include that detail :) haha


1/2" x 12" industrial pipes - we used 22 for the main shelving structure

1/2" x 6" industrial pipes - we used 12 for the bookends

1/2" flanges - we used 12 to attach the shelves to the wall and 8 to attach the bookends to the shelves

1/2" elbow connector - we used 4 for the shelves and 4 for the bookends

1/2" tee connector - we used 8 for the shelves

36" x 11 1/4" x 1 1/2" pieces of wood - we used a 16' piece of wood and had someone at Home Depot cut it into 3' pieces for us.

Wood stain

2" screws

1" screws


1/2" pipe straps - I used 2 per shelf to fasten them to wood shelves to the metal pipes they rest on

Spray paint



Measuring tape

Stud finder

Latex brush


1) Pick out what color you want your pipe, there are so many varieties and finishes so our advice is stick to one kind so all the pieces match!

2) Once you get home take all stickers off, remove any residue and degrease all pieces. This step isn't hard it just takes time making sure you have all the black grease off. We sprayed the pieces and wiped them down with an old towel really well.

3) Start hooking all the pieces together, we did one long "ladder" side and tightened it all well then the other side, same thing.

4) Measure the studs in the wall, this will determine your shelf length. Having them secured into the studs makes it so solid which was a must in a busy room with two boys!

5) Hold up one side of the shelving to determine how high you would like it. Once you find the height you want, drill the top screw into the stud. It can now hang on its own, making it easy to secure the other screws. Make sure it is straight vertically then screw the rest of the screws into the wall. Repeat with the other side, making sure it is lined up with the side you already mounted.

6) Measure for the shelf length, remember to allow some length to hang past the pipes. We went with about 2 1/2 inches and I think it looks great!

7) We went with the 2" thick wood (it's listed as 2" thick but actually measures 1 1/2" thick), had Home Depot cut it to the length we needed then just sanded any rough edges when we got home.

8) I've stained a lot of different kinds of woods, used different stains and things and I've finally found a winner! This one is a stain with the polyurethane sealant all in one, SUCH a big time saver and it actually dries smooth! I wanted a mid century modern color to match their mid century dresser in there and this one worked perfectly!! Ours was pretty stinky so be sure to do it outside or in a very well ventilated area. We also left them out in the sun for a couple days to cure and air out.

9) Spray any hardware to match the pipes. Our pipe straps that we drilled on the underside so the shelves wouldn't slide off were more of a shiny stainless so we picked a Rustoleum spray paint to match the pipes better. Super easy and paid off big time in the over all finished look!

10) Mark and measure where to attach selves, have one person hold the shelf and the other drill the pipe straps on.

11) We knew we wanted to put mainly books on here so our next brainstorming was how to do bookends that wouldn't just slide off when they were picking books out. Carl was the creative brains behind this style bookshelf because we couldn't find any we loved and I'm so obsessed with how they turned out! We can easily add more to other shelves as well if needed which is great! Once again so solid and secure yet looks so polished and blends.

12) Admire your new work of art, you'll fall in love with it no doubt!




Because this shelf is in the boys room we wanted it to look great but obviously be very practical. That is one thing I love about living minimally, you really think through things like shelving and use the space for what you actually need vs just decor. We use an essential oil diffuser in their room every night. I am so in love with this one because it is a humidifier as well as a diffuser, meaning it puts out more moisture than a traditional oil diffuser, it is beautiful and you can turn off the light so it isn't distracting at bedtime. Can't recommend it enough, our air always feels so dry so a humidifier is key! Having a spot for their oils and diffuser was a must that Riley couldn't get to but we could easily access daily. 

Plants! Can you ever have too many plants? In my opinion... no! I love how plants warm up a space, the air benefits and there are so many plant varieties and pots that you can use them so many different ways! 

A lot of you wanted to know some of our favorite children's books, I'll link them down below starting with board books. My parents were both elementary teachers, 2nd and 5th grade so they've always had tons of children's books and taught us the importance of reading at a young age. Both our boys love to sit and read and will bring piles of books at a time, I love it!

Board Books

Bedtime Bugs - Such a fun interactive pop up book before bed

Little Blue Truck - they have a whole collection of these and they're all so cute!

Pout Pout Fish - Both boys have loved and still love this one so much, the rhyming is great!

Piggies - A classic

Robots Robots Everywhere - They both went through phases at about the same age where we had to read this book multiple times a day for weeks, its a winner for sure!

Giraffes Can't Dance - Such a cute book on finding out who you are and embracing your differences! The colors and story are great for even super young kids!

Steam Train Dream Train - If you have boys this one goes through the train cars tucking everyone in, great for bedtime!

Rhymoceros - Simple book of opposites with textures!

Non-Board Books

Tickle Monster - Rhyming, interactive, fun for all ages!

Doughnut Chef - Loveee this one, it's such a cute story!

Any Dr Suess book, the rhyming, make believe characters, colors and funny stories are all a hit! We have a whole shelf for Dr Suess Books!

The Monster at the end of This Book - Grover from Sesame Street is afraid of the monster at the end of the book only to find out, it's him! They boys laugh so hard at this one!

Monster Mess - Good book for kids who are afraid of monsters under the bed or in the closet. It goes through what monsters do while you sleep (he cleans the house) the plays with the boy when he wakes up. Both boys still love this one, also rhymes.

Mother Bruce - There is a whole series of these, we have three of them and all are great! It's about a bear who goes to cook and eat some eggs but they hatch and are convinced he's their mom and the struggles they face as he raises them!

Digger Dozer Dumper - Cute story, perfect for kids who love tractors!

If I Built a Car - This author has a bunch of books, pretty sure we have them all now. They are all really well done, great pictures and stories but this one is Hudson's favorite! 

Nibbles the Book Monster - Hudson thinks this book is SO funny every time! A little monster eats his way through different stories and they all get mixed up!

If you decide to make a pipe shelf like this one and have questions, just comment below and we would be happy to help you! If you try it, we'd love to see how it turns out :)