DIY Industrial Pipe Shelves

Has anyone seen these Restoration Hardware knock-off shelves on Pinterest or in the blogosphere? I remember seeing the industrial pipe shelves a few years ago, and instantly thought how cool they were! Although I think it’s pretty genius to take old pipe and wood to build gorgeously rustic shelves, we have never really had a project that would mesh with this rustic/industrial look, so we never had a reason to give them a try here on the DIY Playbook.

rustic_industrial_pipe_shelves_nursery-11Through the years, I know my sister Katie has always been a fan of this look and has even chatted about putting them in a few different places in her home, but has never followed through. So I wasn’t surprised that when we first sat down to chat about the design plan (aka the “vibe” she wanted for this space), she mentioned incorporating the “look” of these shelves. <—- sister sense… it never fails.

Since Katie’s style is pretty rustic/industrial in general and because Katie wanted the nursery to feel “happy camper-ish” (she and her hubby are very active and love the outdoors), Casey and I agreed that these Restoration Hardware inspired shelves would be the perfect touch that would add both style and function to the space.

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After creating them, I am happy to report that these shelves were pretty darn easy to prep and hang, and I absolutely LOVE the look for this space. However, I do want to warn you that although these shelves were DIY-ed, they are NOT dirt cheap (which was a surprise to me). The materials themselves were about $50 so I would not recommend this look if you’re DIY-ing this specific shelf to save money. Just a head’s up so you’re not as shocked as I was.

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Supplies for 2 SHELVES

(affiliate links used):

rustic_industrial_pipe_shelves_nursery-22rustic_industrial_pipe_shelves_nursery-23Tutorial

For the actual pipes, the only prep work we had to do was have the pipe cut to size (Lowe’s took care of that for free in the store). The one large pipe was cut down to four equal sized pieces. Then we washed the oil off of the pipes (the employees at Lowe’s put oil on there to help cut it) and once they were dry, we roughed the pipe parts up with a little sand paper (so the spray paint would adhere to it) and spray painted all the parts using a flat black color.

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Rookie Tip: Note in the picture there are 8 straps to hold the shelves in place, but we actually only ended up needing four. Also, you may need to spray paint two different times to get some of the areas that you missed the first time (i.e. the bottom of the safety clips). And last thing — the paint did adhere to the pipes but be super careful not to scratch any of these parts on each other because the paint will scratch/chip off. <– again, just some helpful tips.

rustic_industrial_pipe_shelves_nursery-28rustic_industrial_pipe_shelves_nursery-26Now, let’s chat about the wood shelves. Literally any type/size of wood will work but we wanted the shelves to look thick, so we went with a thicker piece of wood than we have used for other shelves in the past. Once we decided on the wood, we bought one long piece and brought them home to cut them to size (the hardware store will do this for free if you don’t want to handle this step at home). Then we used stain we had lying around (the color “espresso”) and put a coat of stain on each shelf. After the stain and the spray paint on the pipes was dry, we were ready to start hanging! rustic_industrial_pipe_shelves_nursery-25output_o5nVTs

In Action

Here’s a GIF of exactly how we did this. The painter’s tape helped us identify a level line and gave us an idea of where to hang each shelf. We used four anchors for each floor flange and then inserted dark screws so that the screws would camouflage with the dark paint.

After each of the flanges were secured to the wall, we screwed in the pipe, then screwed on the caps, and placed the shelf on top of the pipes. Pretty darn easy, right?!

rustic_industrial_pipe_shelves_nursery-9Baby-Proofing

But there’s still one more step that we would highly recommend– partly because this is a nursery and safety is on top our priority list, and partly because we think this is best practice for any space. It’s better to be safe than sorry, right? Without the straps, the shelf could easily move around on the pipes.rustic_industrial_pipe_shelves_nursery-20However, once we added the straps (they’re only about a DOLLAR each), the shelf was extremely secure on the pipes…. as in those babies aren’t going a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e. rustic_industrial_pipe_shelves_nursery-15See how we screwed them in with a dark nut and a dark washer half way down the pipe? Not only are these shelves SUPER secure now, I personally think that extra detail makes the shelves look even better. Safety + Style = one happy mom-to-be.rustic_industrial_pipe_shelves_nursery-13I found these adorable “camping boots” at Kohl’s and just couldn’t wait for the reveal to give them to my sister. So of course the shelves will eventually be styled completely, but for now, I’m loving the simplicity as we tackle other parts of this space. rustic_industrial_pipe_shelves_nursery-11But before we dive into what still remains on our to-do list, let me first address the process my sister and I went through to MAKE sure that the baby will NOT be able to reach them even though they’ll be near the crib.rustic_industrial_pipe_shelves_nursery-12When the baby is a newborn, the mattress in the crib is on the higher end, which is a tad close to the shelves but since the baby will NOT be standing in the crib when the mattress is at this level, we will not have to worry about the baby ever being able to reach the shelves.

When the baby is old enough to start standing up in the crib, my sister will lower the mattress and the baby will have to be able to reach OVER 4 1/2 feet high to touch the pipes of the shelves. And by the time the baby is over 4 and 1/2 feet, I have a feeling those shelves will be long gone. =)

gender_neutral_nursery_happy_camper_reveal-3So rest assured that we are taking safety very seriously in this makeover to ensure that this space is not only stylish, but most importantly, very safe. Our next step in this makeover is to safely hang lots of gorgeous art (more details here) & then you can check out the full reveal of this room here!

restoration_hardware_diy_pipe_nursery_shelvesBridget Signature

Pssst…. We finished the rest of the nursery since this post and are completely in LOVE with how this DIY project set this stage for the rest of the space. Come check out how the Nursery turned out (and how we styled these shelves) here! happy_camper_nursery_reveal_gender_neutral

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  • Those look super cute and love the rustic industrial theme. Can totally go well with boy or girl! I am sending this to my sis in law. They have an industrial style shelf in their condo that I just sold for them and the buyer really wants the shelf to stay. So this will be a great project for their new home and they shouldn’t miss their shelf too much 🙂 When I was watching your live FB feed (sorry after it was live) I was thinking about accessories for the shelves etc. Your sister will get so many pretty baby gifts when the baby is born and then the baptism – frames, piggy bank, little trinket boxes and you want to be able to display them but sometimes it is just too much so these spaces are great for those kinds of gifts. Also my brother and sis n law had a boy and they put a cool jar on the shelf filled with rustic used baseballs and it looked sooo cute! There is a super cute baby store Twinkle Twinkle Little One in Roscoe Village. Check out their website- it might give you some inspiration for a few deco ideas for the baby’s room!!

    • Thank you SO much, Colleen!!! I LOVE all of these tips and am definitely going to look into Twinkle, Twinkle, Little One!

  • shawnna griffin

    oh this is so cool!

    • Thank you SO much, Shawnna!! We really love how they came out =)

  • We installed shelves just like this in our guest bedroom and loved how it turned out!!

    Tip for everyone – Menards sells all the galvanized pieces for about half the price of Lowe’s. Like only around $4 for the flanges! We installed 8 flanges so it saved us a good $40!

    Typically I’m a Lowe’s girl, but when we saw that it was kind of a no brainer. Not sure if they have Menards in the Chicago area though. 🙂

    • OMG — THANK YOUUUUU so much for sharing this info – AMAZING tip!! We do have several Menard’s in the Chicagoland area. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! =)

  • Christina Olvera

    Just curious what type of wood you chose. I am making longer shelves for our business and at 6 or 8 feet the 2×10 is soooo heavy. Thank you!

    • Yes, we used super thick wood too and cut it down to size!! I’m sure any wood would look amazing, it’s just finding wood that will be light enough to do the trick. Good luck, I’d love to see how it turns out. How exciting!

  • Jeff-n- Camille

    Did you use typical wall anchors for the flanges or something else?

    • We used typical wall anchors and that was MORE than enough support.

  • Thanks so much for sharing, Teah! I’m so glad that you were able to get the better deal AND report back =) $40 for the whole project is a steal!

  • Mackenzie

    Hi!!! I wanted to let you know that I found an AWESOME website for purchasing hardware. Floor Flanges for $2.71, Caps for $0.68, and Pipe Straps for $0.91.I wanted to share because it brought the cost of this project down SO MUCH. I purchased additional hardware since I love the look of the curtain rods also. The website is my hardware supply (.) com and I am not in anyway affiliated with this site. Just excited to share the savings with other DIYers!

    • Thank you so much for the scoop Mackenzie! What amazing prices!

    • Mackenzie

      I know, right? I ordered enough fixtures to make these shelves AND make curtain rods for my kitchen, living room, dining room, and master bedroom and with ALL of the fixtures it was only $86 including shipping! So excited right now that I can’t even!!!

  • Erica

    A word of warning before you start working on your own beautiful shelves:

    Check with your local resources before ordering/purchasing parts. I ordered everything online to save $$, and ended up purchasing an irregular pipe diameter (1″ inner diameter). My Home Depot store was unable to thread a pipe that was cut 8″ long (too short for their machine), and my father’s manual system for threading pipe didn’t have an attachment for the size pipe I ordered. Now I have to search for someone who can thread my pipe or have the parts welded together!

    I would have been better off purchasing pipe in the finished length that was already threaded on both ends… for a higher price.

    But, once it’s all said & done, they will be gorgeous!

    • Erica

      Learn from another one of my mistakes:

      A little bit of stain goes a long way! You just need the small container of stain for a project this size, not the big one. 🙂

    • Love these honest tips, thank you for your feedback Erica!! I’m sure this will definitely help others tackling this project. And most importantly, we’re glad yours turned out GORGEOUS and were worth the hurdles!!

  • Katie Lamb

    These are beautiful and so well done. Great job! I am wanting to do one long shelf above my desk – it would be five feet long (yikes!). I really prefer the look with just two of the pipes at either end like yours; however, do you think I would need to put a pip in the middle since it would be so long even if I was sure to put the two ends pipes in studs? THANK YOU! 🙂

    • That is going to look gorgeous!! I’m not really sure, my gut says that you may need a pipe in the middle but maybe if you’re not putting a lot of weight on the shelf, you can get away with just doing two? Sorry we can’t be of more help, but please keep us updated! We would love to hear how it turns out and what you ended deciding!

    • Katie Lamb

      Thank you so much for your quick response! Here’s hoping I can make this work! haha! 🙂