Introduction: Tube Shelves

Picture of Tube Shelves

Noah and Mitch salvaged some concrete form tubing for making speakers, but haven't gotten around to doing with it, yet.

Since we moved into the new office and I needed some new shelves, however, I decided to use them for that purpose until they get around to stealing them back. I saw a shelving system on a design blog that looked kind of like this, which was my inspiration. They work great; the foot of Rachel's desk keeps them from spilling all over the floor into a big heap of books.


Thejesterqueen (author)2015-12-09

It's amazing how just changing a shape of something makes it look more sophisticated. They look great! I may have to copy this one.

indeepknit (author)2015-01-27

So you didn't connect these at all, just stacked them between barriers to stop them from rolling? Is that contact paper?

Eye Poker (author)2011-11-04

I've never seen the wood tubes, cardboard yes, wood finished tubes no. Any idea where to find them?

dreamberry (author)Eye Poker2012-07-01

Cardboard tubes covered with wood grain contact paper?

mzklever (author)2012-02-07

I LOVE these! I just saw them on a designer sales sight for about $300/six tubes. I was dying to figure out how to make them, and you saved me! BTW, the way they kept them from rolling on the other site was to build an outer frame for the front and back (2 sheets of plywood with holes cut for the tubing, then one set on the front edge of the tubes, one set on the back...they did it in a groovy shape so it wasn't a boring stack). Thanks for posting this; I am going to make some for my bedroom! I think enough of them together would make a pretty decent room divider.

nebib (author)2011-09-28

ArtsyFartsyGirl (author)2011-06-25

I think I'll make some of these to put in my hallway.But I intend to use cardboard. An maybe I'll paint them, and maybe I'll hang them on the wall!

jacob2die4 (author)2010-09-29

nice.. but.. as many other things inhere a copy of an existing design..

UberNoober (author)jacob2die42011-04-26

It may be a copy of an existing design, but said existing design is significantly more expensive and lacks the awesome "I made those myself" appeal.

Props to nagutron for thinking of this creative use for something as mundane as concrete form tubing. Looks great!

Lizzbot (author)2010-08-26

I'm excited about undertaking this project. I have a jigsaw I've never used, so I will attempt to use it to cut the tube! I want new bookshelves very badly & these beat the one I planned to purchase @ IKEA. Yay! I found the molds on the Home Depot website. The link is as follows:

nagutron (author)Lizzbot2010-08-26

Awesome! Take pictures and share them when you're done.

M4industries (author)2010-04-03

 Little Brother is the best book I have ever read.

anoop (author)2008-07-14

Hi, I live in Chicago and i'm wondering where i can get these forms? how did you secure them to each other? just a series of small screws ? awesome idea by the way! thanks.

eliastorre (author)anoop2009-01-10

Hey! This is an AMAZING thing! I'm about to start my own. By the way, you can find tubes like this in any construction supplies store, here in Mexico (and I guess will be the same in the States) are made from very sturdy cardboard, and then used as a mold for concrete columns. They size about 10 ft. tall, and the 14" cost around 3 dollars each, sorry but I don't know how they are named in english. I'm almost sure you can find them at a Home Depot store. Let me know!

el_teacher (author)eliastorre2009-01-11

elias... como se llaman en espanol???? I live in mexico city!!!!! tell me where I can get them... thanks

eliastorre (author)el_teacher2009-01-11

Jaja, que onda! Las puedes buscar como "Tubo para cimbra" es de cartón fuerte. Yo hablé a un Construrama y ahi los venden. El tubo de 3 metros de alto con un diámetro de 40cm me dijeron que costaba 325 pesos, voy a ir por uno el lunes =P

Avísame si los encuentras, vá? Saludos!

el_teacher (author)eliastorre2009-01-11

y los cortaran??? o como?? los tendre que cortar solito, verdad???? me avisas como te va... por el momento estoy en tailandia, pero en agosto regreso a mexico, y tengo muchas ganas de construir eso....

eliastorre (author)el_teacher2009-01-11

No, yo creo que habrá que cortarlos con una segueta, o alguna sierrita de mano. Yo creo que en tailandia también los venden =P

Esos tubos se usan para echarles concreto adentro, como para el molde de una columna. Bueno, saludos y seguimos en contacto!

el_teacher (author)eliastorre2009-01-11

ok... oye... avisame como lo haces para conectarlos... y luego, me mandas una foto... la verdad se me hace muy chido ese projecto.... me parece que uno en las fotos viene alfombrado...que tienes pensado para terminarlos??? saludos

eliastorre (author)el_teacher2009-01-11

Sí, de hecho yo creo que voy a hacer un instructable porque los quiero colgar en la pared, pero claro que sí, vá a ser el proyecto de este mes, tengo pensado fijarlos a la pared para que sea como un librero (porque hay mucho polvo en mi casa) y pintarlos de color blanco o negro. En cuanto lo tenga listo te aviso directamente para que veas como quedó, vá? Saludos y seguimos en contacto!

el_teacher (author)eliastorre2009-02-01

how did your project go, eliastorre??? how did they turn out...??? I saw a lamp shade (well, two, actually) that looked very similar to one of these "slices" of tube- and I thought it would be really easy to do that with the remnants of the full tube that you have to buy, anyway- basically, a hole in three points and then hung with a cable like a lampshade... and i also thought that if there is still extra pieces left, you could use it for a table base- easy enough to put some wooden bars across the top, and then fasten the top- anyway... let me know how your project turned out...

baggot (author)el_teacher2009-05-30

I don't speak Spanish what did you say?

M4industries (author)baggot2010-04-03

 Yes, I think I will make an Instructable because I want to hang them on the wall. They are going to be this month's project. (Something about a bookseller and how there are a lot of dust in his house)(Something about painting them black or white)


I could give you a general translation of the rest of the last comment in the thread, but it wouldn't be exact. 8th grade spanish only goes so far.

eliastorre (author)baggot2009-05-30

Sorry, we were just discussing how these tubes are named here at mexico and where can be cutted. Take care!!!

baggot (author)eliastorre2009-05-31

Cool. I didn't want to miss any tips on making this correctly. Thanks

eliastorre (author)el_teacher2009-05-30

Hey sorry man! Didn't see your post until now, I haven't made the project yet, but now I have more spare time and I guess I'll be starting it next month, and you? Still at thailand?

eliastorre (author)eliastorre2009-01-11

Sorry, I meant: $30 dollars each, not $3 =P

nagutron (author)anoop2008-07-15

I'm actually not sure where to find these; mine came from a dumpster. They're often construction waste, though, and you may be able to find them new, as well. One brand name for them is Sonotubes (

You might also have luck making nicer ones out of bent wood or something.

Mine are just piled up, btw, not screwed together. The third photo shows how the leg of my coworker's desk keeps the bottom-most one from rolling away; the whole thing is wedged between the leg and the wall, and the rest just sit on top, held together by friction.

HEY YOU (author)nagutron2009-01-27

If you have a metal stamping(Tool & Die)Facility near by, they might have them from the metal coils they use in their process. They could be quite large and heavy but they are very strong. You could face them with veneer or simply paint them. Good Luck

tulekah (author)2009-06-27

cardboard tends to make a fuzzy edge when cut. put a belt of masking tape around the tube inside and outside and cut thru the tape, it will make a cleaner cut. also the finer the saw teeth the cleaner.

Nyxi (author)tulekah2009-08-03

that's a good suggestion. :) they should also paint the insides of the things

Nautilus34 (author)Nyxi2010-01-30

painting the inside I don't think would increase the visual appearance, at least on the wooden tubes. I find the contrast of the two different shades of wood to be quite nice. However, depending on the atmosphere you are trying to achieve, paint could be the way you want to go.

jonnybeats (author)2009-10-25

 Well cut black pvc would look pretty cool, nice idea!

cyrax (author)2009-02-10

esta poka madre

dncngthrghsunday (author)2009-01-10

Sweet! Definitely going to make some of these when i get the cash to!!!! Nice Job!!!!

Einstein083 (author)2008-11-02

Brilliant! I am in dire need of some bookshelves and this is just fantastic. I am getting to work on these asap!

jeff-o (author)2008-10-23

It looks like you pasted veneer to the outside, correct? I suppose you could apply any finish you'd like though, as long as it can be bent! Also, to anyone looking for Sonotube, they sell it at Home Depot and other big box building stores.

anoop (author)2008-10-01

what size form tubes did you use? they look huge.

nagutron (author)anoop2008-10-01

There are both 18" and 24" ones, there. I would have liked to use even larger ones, too.

anoop (author)nagutron2008-10-01

i found a sonotube distributor in chicago. i'm hoping they have some waste that they're not using or let me buy some and cut it up for me. here is a more difficult question. how deep are they and how did you cut them? or did you find them precut?

nagutron (author)anoop2008-10-01

Mine were already cut when I found them, but they don't look very difficult to cut. A sawzall, jigsaw, or hand saw should do the trick, or they may cut it for you. As for the depth, it just depends on how deep you want your shelves to be. Mine are about 12" deep, and that makes them a) great for most books and b) pretty stable when stacked three high like in my photos.

nagutron (author)nagutron2008-10-01

I'd love to see a photo of yours when you finish, by the way! Post one in the comments here, or make your own slideshow! Better yet, write up a whole instructable :)

sir instructable (author)2008-08-11

very cool idea, you could probably make a set and hang them on the walls for bookshelves or something like that.

Mr. Rig It (author)2008-06-28

What a cool idea. They look nice.

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