They say necessity is the mother of invention. A recent necessity of mine was to make a shelving unit that could support (literally) and organize my growing book addiction. After spending a few weeks looking at various shelving ideas online, I found that I kept getting drawn back to the pipe and wood shelves that have become popular and decided to put my own spin on the genre. The finished product turned out better than I could have expected. Not only does this shelf provide a place to put my books, it is so expansive and robust that it has also become the organizational center for just about everything else in our living room including books, pictures, antiques and collectibles, video games, tv remotes and game controllers, art, as well as providing an attractive place to hang items like stockings and other seasonal decor.
Make a built-in, wall-mounted shelving unit with an industrial chic aesthetic. Designed on site to mount directly to wall studs, the finished shelving unit will perfectly fit the formerly barren space on your wall, and will be capable of effortlessly supporting hundreds of pounds in high style.
-Level (several lengths ideal - 12", 24", 48")
-Layout Tools (pencil, ruler, t-square/combo square, chalk line (optional))
-7/8" Spade or Forstner Bit
-Random Orbit Sander & Sand Paper (120, 150, 180, and 220 grit typically required)
-Disposable Gloves for staining and finishing wood
-Brushes and/or Rags for staining and finishing wood
-Painters Pyramids (to help speed up wood finishing process)
1/2" Pipe and Pipe Fittings (Can be found at any local hardware store)
*Note: The specific lengths, fittings, and quantity of pipe used will vary depending on the specifics of the built-in. The best way to avoid multiple trips to the hardware store is to buy more than you need of a good variety of pipe and fittings, and then return unused items once the project is completed. See Step 2 for details on creating the pipe framework. The fittings and quantities I used to complete my project are as follows:
Flanges: qty 10
Elbows (90s): qty 21
3-Way Tees: qty 16
Round Caps: qty 7
Square Caps: qty 2
Couplers: qty 3
1-1/2" long sections: qty 15
2" long sections: qty 2
3" long sections: qty 2
3-1/2" long sections: qty 3
4" long sections: qty 1
4-1/2" long sections: qty 3
5" long sections: qty 2
6" long sections: qty 11
9" long sections: qty 3
10" long sections: qty 3
12" long sections: qty 1
18" long sections: qty 1
24" long sections: qty 1
Hardwood or High Grade Plywood
*30 linear feet of 3/4" to 1" thick x 10-1/2" wide hardwood or high grade plywood (Pine, Maple, Poplar, Walnut, etc). Avoid construction grade lumber which has not been dried and therefore will likely warp after installation.
*Note: The specific quantity of wood required will vary depending on the specifics of the built-in. The easiest way to accurately estimate the amount of wood required is to wait until the initial layout has been completed in Step 2. Otherwise, apply a 15-20% scrap factor to the amount determined after completing the design in Step 1.
Primer & Spray Paint for pipes
Clear Coat such as oil, varnish, or lacquer
Wood Screws (I used #8 x 2" to get a good bite into the wall studs)
Drywall Anchors (optional; required if flanges are not anchored to studs)
Step 1: Conceptualizing the Design
To get my conceptual design off the ground I created a basic file in Visio that helped me to visualize the proportions and see how the shelves might layout within the bounds of the wall space that I had to work with. The attached picture is as finished as the "plans" ever got which was perfectly adequate for this project. Since the robustness of the shelf hinges upon the pipe flanges being attached to the wall studs, which never seem to consistently be 16" like they're suppose to be, it's important to maintain flexibility in the design.