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, which is exactly what inspired us to recreate this look for a rustic-inspired baby nursery.

DIY Pipe Shelves – Make Your Own

How to make industrial DIY pipe shelves on the cheap

We knew we could DIY these industrial pipe shelves without spending a ton of time or money and that’s exactly what we did! We learned a few tips along the way too and are spilling the beans so your project goes as smoothly as possible!

Cost of These DIY Pipe Shelves

Although we LOVE the look of these shelves, we do want to warn you that this DIY project was 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 heads up so you’re not as shocked as I was.

Supplies you'll need to create the shelves

Supplies for 2 DIY Pipe Shelves

(affiliate links used):

Make sure you measure and check everything carefullyUp close- the pipes for these shelves


How To Create the DIY Pipe Shelves

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 sandpaper (so the spray paint would adhere to it) and spray painted all the parts using a flat black color.

The pipe supplies

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 the 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.

Spray paint the pipe and let it dry before you proceed
The untreated board, ready for stain
Minwax wod finish stain
Step by step= as a GIF

Now, 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 a 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! 

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 was 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?!

And the shelves are ready and hung!


Baby-Proofing the DIY Pipe Shelves

Secure the shelves to the pipe with these straps
Spray paint to match, and affix to the shelf and pipe
The straps blend in with the look and feel of the shelves
We're so happy with how these turned out!
Up close- rustic pipe shelves

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. However, 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. See how we screwed them in with a dark nut and a dark washer halfway 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.I 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. But 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.When 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. =)

All ready for baby- filled with knick knacks and keepsakes

So 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!


The finished product

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.