Introduction: Industrial Pipe Bookshelf and Shoe Rack

Picture of Industrial Pipe Bookshelf and Shoe Rack

This industrial pipe shelf is the perfect project for any handy -- or non handy -- person looking to update their room. The shelf is quick and easy to install and its hard industrial yet shabby chic look makes it a great addition to any room. All of the pipes have threaded ends which makes it really easy to update the shape of your shelf every few months.

I've seen similar shelves on etsy of the same size starting at $150. I made this shelf myself for under $70.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials


  • (2) Flanges to mount pipe on the wall
  • (8) Wood Screws - size 12x2"
  • (8) 12" threaded pipes (1" diameter)
  • (9) 90 degree pipe elbows (1" diameter)
  • (2) 5" threaded pipes (1" diameter)


  • Hand drill
  • Drill bits
  • Pencil
  • Measuring Tape

Step 2: Mount Flange on Wall

Picture of Mount Flange on Wall
Find a Stud:

You want to mount the flanges on studs so you will need a stud finder to help you.  I mounted my shelf in the corner of my room where I knew there would be a stud.  Check out these resources for finding studs:
Mount Flange:
  • Once you have figured out where you want your shelf to be, decide where you want to mount the first flange and mark the holes with a pencil where you will drill.
  • Drill pilot holes using a drill bit that is a bit smaller than the size of your screws.  
  • Hold the flange up to the wall and screw the flange in with the hand drill.

Step 3: Attach Pipes

Picture of Attach Pipes

Attaching the pipes is pretty straight forward.  Screw the 5" threaded pipe into the flange.  Attach an elbow pipe to the end and start adding the 12" pipes.  

TRICK: to get the pipes tight enough, after attaching the elbow pipes to the ends of the pipe, use the 2nd 5" pipe to tighten the connections.  The 5" pipe gives you more torque, and is helpful when you need to tighten pipes near the corners.

Step 4: Mount Second Flange

Picture of Mount Second Flange

Attach the second 5" pipe to the second flange and attach an elbow pipe to the other end of the 5" pipe before attaching to the rest of the bookshelf.

Determine where the flange will sit on the wall (should be in a stud, if not make sure to use dry wall screws) and mark the holes where the screws will go.  Drill pilot holes using a drill bit that is a bit smaller than the size of your screws.  Hold the flange up to the wall and screw the flange in with the hand drill.

Step 5: Bookshelf

Picture of Bookshelf

Lay your books upright or on their sides.  It may take some time to balance the books, but I found that as long as the book on the bottom of the stack was stable it was easier to stack the rest of the books.

Step 6: Shoe Rack

Picture of Shoe Rack

I think any girl can appreciate how fabulous this shoe rack looks.  I've always likes to display my shoes in my room (because I just love to stare at them).  I used to have them on a wooden bookshelf, but the bookshelf was too clunky and took up WAY too much space in my room.  Now that I've found this awesome solution I'm going to keep this pipe shelf to display my favorite shoes.


Eye Poker (author)2012-01-24

I love the look, but I'm not personally keen on the balancing routine. A small bit of 1/4 lexan or 1/2 painted MDF added for shelving would make them a lot more platform-ish.

Carleyy (author)Eye Poker2014-09-17

Good point! I'd love to see someone attempt this!

RetroTechno (author)Eye Poker2014-06-19

I was also thinking this could be improved greatly by a few sheets of Lexan bolted to some clamps around the pipes.

ThisIsSteve (author)2014-06-19

After a rope bookshelf I see this,

BTW great ible.

Carleyy (author)ThisIsSteve2014-09-17

Thanks!! I appreciate the compliment!

doodlecraft (author)2014-06-20

I totally love it! I love the industrial chic! :) And I like to stare at my shoes too!

Carleyy (author)doodlecraft2014-09-17

Thanks! I moved rooms and am now back to the shoes on the bookshelf design. I'll have to recreate this!

Darthorso (author)2014-06-20

Clever design, my congratulations :)

Carleyy (author)Darthorso2014-09-17


michaelgc (author)2014-09-16

The books will just stay there? I would be afraid that they would slide down.. atleast the ones on the bottom shelf.

Carleyy (author)michaelgc2014-09-17

The books have to be placed very carefully. It is important to know how far away the pipe is from the wall. I found it works best for shoes.

domenic3 (author)2014-09-02

nice industral design!!

ducthinh (author)2014-06-26


barobbin (author)2014-06-20

Where did you get the pipe from??

hasanhuseyincan (author)2014-06-19


bergerab (author)2014-06-19

Wow great work! It's very unique

huskerland3 (author)2013-11-22

Looks great. Very creative

MaskMarvl (author)2012-11-30

Nice project. ;) You also gave me an idea on how to build a ladder using "Ts" instead of elbows.

KwartzKitten (author)2012-01-26

Wait I'm confused, how does this hold stuff?

Poorly. It looks good, but depends on balancing stuff on the pipe. Bumping the bottom book will likely bring the whole shebang down and getting, for instance the fourth book down from a pile of seven will be difficult and require three hands.

Building it with two courses in parallel would be better but would also dramatically increase the price, by doubling the materials costs.(basically build two of these and replace the vertical sections between elbows with a T linking the two together.)

Alternatively, simply attach wooden or metal shelves to the pipes with screws.

Oh okay, so it's a balancing act. Thanks for the info.

SirDankness (author)KwartzKitten2012-08-28

/\This/\ plus a large hard-cover book on the bottom would stabilize things. Only cost an extra $10. Don't trust balancing....

KwartzKitten (author)SirDankness2012-08-29

Ah, like a false book?

freeclup (author)2012-08-22

its not awesome

cj8675 (author)2012-03-04

did you get your shop bot i have one

saitaiable child (author)2012-01-26

Looks like a cat ladder to me. The delicately balanced concept would be a very bad idea at our house .

I thought 'Cat Ladder' too! I've been toying with making a cat ladder similar in design, but more organic and less industrial looking.

prince-of-weasels (author)2012-01-27

LOVE IT as is LOL but was distracted by that dragonfly in the window........where can I tell Santa to get me one?

northcalgreens (author)2012-01-26

i see the stuff falling off the pipe all the time(dangerous - messy) how about making 2 of them and running shelves on the pipe? and instead of galvanized go with the black iron (cheaper) and paint it any color you want. i would go with tees and elbows.
very cool look and very functional . will last a couple lifetimes.

badrescher (author)2012-01-26

Do you think this would be sturdy using PVC? I don't want to add something this heavy to our walls, but my kids are really into steampunk and it might be a nice addition to their rooms. I'm thinking of using the same spray paint & other techniques we use to give things like nerf guns and gadgets the steampunk look rather than using copper pipe.

jongscx (author)badrescher2012-01-26

If you glue them, 1.5" or 2" PVC should be plenty strong for some books or Nerf guns...

Add some hooks to the bottom rack and you can hang mavericks by their slides off of them.

Broom (author)jongscx2012-01-26

Be careful using books on PVC, especially with all those zigzags adding up to a long, unsupported run of pipe.

badrescher (author)jongscx2012-01-26

Hooks - great idea!

Carleyy (author)badrescher2012-01-26

I haven't worked too much with PVC, but I don't see why it wouldnt work! I'd love to see how it works out!

arzola1 (author)2012-01-26

Steampunk!! nice

zombiasnow (author)2012-01-26

To all who are adding your own ideas to it; I too, would add some sort of shelve support, but use clear plexiglass. v--v meow
Great Idea Carleyy!!

hammer9876 (author)2012-01-26

Those are some awesome, high steppin's shoes! Oh, and cool build, too. Congratulations on being Featured.

mckeephoto (author)2012-01-26

That is totally awesome!

Hmm... but I think the commuter rail that goes by my studio would vibrate everything off of the pipes. I might need to figure out how to secure a small flat spot on the top of the appropriate pipes.

Or, maybe a false book? Screw it into the pipe on the inside and then stack the other books on top..

Oh, boys! Time to go to work again...

agis68 (author)2012-01-26

the aesthetic is high add the functionality and we have a perfect design of new era. Its like recycling. Maybe i missed but what's the distance between the solenoid structure and the wall so to provide good sypport

Eleventy (author)2012-01-26

I love these. I totally appreciate the aesthetic appeal of the single pipe with no platform – but I also get the practical concerns of the "balancing routine". Maybe if I made these myself I would try a cheat: fasten a length of quarter-round molding to the wall behind each horizontal pipe, at the same level of the top of the pipe and flat-side-up, to create a little ledge for the back of your book to rest on. Paint the molding the color of the wall, and it might not be too noticeable...

This may not even be necessary for the vertical books, since they can rest against the wall in the back, but it seems like it would help with the horizontal stacks, or for other objects.

Another idea would be to extend the top and bottom pipes coming out of the wall, and have a second set of the zig-zaggy pipes directly in front, so each shelf level has two parallel pipes. But I love the simplicity of this design and that might busy it up too much.

Jayefuu (author)2012-01-25

Hey they look great! When you said shoe rack I thought you meant something like this. Wonder if that'd work too....

Carleyy (author)Jayefuu2012-01-25

I definitely think you can use this concept to make a shoe rack like that. However, I think that works better for sneakers, not heals.

Jayefuu (author)Carleyy2012-01-25

Yes, they wouldn't look anywhere near as pretty in my shoe rack, which is just as well since I don't own any heels :p

codyg102 (author)2012-01-25

If you're not able to screw into a stud just drywall, I'd recommend a STRONG wall anchor to hold the screws for the flange such as the E-Z Anchor shown in this video:

The cheap plastic "plug" type anchors only work well in harder materials like concrete, brick, cinder-block, etc. There are metal versions of the type shown in the video that are rated at 300 pounds shear strength (i.e., downward force).

bertus52x11 (author)2012-01-24

What a great idea! Super!
Do I understand correctly that there are no shelves involved?

jessyratfink (author)2012-01-24

These look so neat! :D

SIRJAMES09 (author)2012-01-24

another version of this would be to use Schedule 40 plastic pipe.

For those who are not aware of what Schedule 40 pip is, it's that thick walled plumbing pipe.

I thought about this as I was reading, and I think that just maybe, for safety sake if for no other reason, one should prolly have 2 vertacle on each side of the "shelves".
This also would make it stronger.
Did I mention that Schedule 40 is(usually) lower cost than galvanized pipe? yet just as strong?

Just a thought... :)

Grissini (author)2012-01-24

Fantastic. I might try this with copper pipe. Thanks for great idea.

kazmataz (author)2012-01-24

Looks awesome, Carleyy!

mikeasaurus (author)2012-01-24

I love the industrial feel of it. Nice pipes!

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