HomeMade Modern DIY Pipe Shelves




About: HomeMade Modern is an online design source that publishes easy-to-follow, DIY recipes for creating modern home furnishings. We provide creative ideas for making affordable alternatives to pricey designer ho...

There are a lot of ways to use iron plumber's pipe to make shelves. Here's the way that has worked well for me. Pipe shelving systems are not cheap but are a great investment because they can be disassembled and adapted to almost any setting. If you're renting your current home or move often, they're an excellent alternative to moving giant bookcases. If you own your home, it can be a nice, full-height bookcase for a study, shelving for dry goods in a kitchen or even organization in a closet.

Step 1: Supplies + Tools

3/4" Pine Boards
I used 6 foot long 10 inch wide boards. Boards that are listed as 10" wide are actually 9 1/4" wide. You can make the shelves with wider or narrower boards, but the trick is to match the width of the boards to the length of the horizontal pipes. I used 10" pipes with 10" boards and it worked out perfectly.

1/2" Diameter Black Iron Pipes + Fittings
I recommend using a vertical set of pipe supports about every 30"-48" of shelf length. I made 6 foot long shelves and used 3 supports located 30 inches apart.

Pipe Clamps
Pipe clamps are metal loops that can be used to connect the pipes to the boards. Use 2 clamps per horizontal pipe support and fasten them with 5/8" long screws.

RYOBI 18 Volt Cordless Drill

RYOBI Orbital Sander

RYOBI 18 Volt Circular Saw


Three 3/4" Diameter Plugs
Plugs make it easy to adjust and level the shelves, but are not essential.

Danish Oil

Step 2: Download the Pipe Shelves Plan

Click here to download the pipe shelves plan.

Step 3: Cut the Boards

Cut the boards to overhang the end pipes about 4-12 inches.

Step 4: Sand + Finish the Boards

Sand the boards with 220 grit sandpaper and finish with a coat of Danish oil or a clear acrylic finish.

Step 5: Assemble the Pipes

Screw the pipes together by hand. They don’t need to be tightly screwed together, just securely connected.

Step 6: Screw the Flanges to the Wall

Use a level to make sure the pipes are vertical before screwing the flanges to the wall. If your walls are made of gypsum board, use drywall anchors.

Step 7: Paint the Pipe Clamps

I wanted the shiny pipe clamps to match the black iron pipes, so I sprayed the clamps with matte black spray paint.

Step 8: Secure the Boards

Use the pipe hangers to secure the boards to the pipes.

Step 9: Done!

Good luck making your own pipe shelves and please email or tweet photos to @benuyeda or ben@homemade-modern.com. For more DIY ideas and projects, visit us at HomeMade Modern.

2 People Made This Project!


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16 Discussions


Question 7 months ago on Introduction

Hi, where can I buy the pipes, please?
Many thanks.


2 years ago

I am going to give this project a try within the next couple of weeks. I wanted to know what size and type of screws did you use to secure the pipe hangers to the boards? And what size and type of screws did you use to screw the flanges to the wall? I have plaster walls and I may need to use the same screw that you used.


3 years ago

I am surprised that so few DIYers seem to use salvaged parts. Maybe it's just my neck of the woods but there is so much thrown out, one could build a whole house and furnish it. (maybe because they are bulldozing so many houses where I live) But old pipe which is being replaced can be had for nothing to save hauling and cut to size, and by de-nailing boards you can get actual dimension old pine and cedar.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

I hear ya, but you have to be at the right place at the right time to get the material you need, or have time for an opened project whilst you collect all the stuff you need, or be flexible with how you want it to look. Mostly, the biggest factor is time when dealing with salvage.


4 years ago

If you're looking to save some money on the steel pipe, I recommend using www.zoro.com .


4 years ago on Step 7


We have a DYI house with unfinished closets. You have just given me all sorts of ideas. My teen aged daughter would really like a closet that works. Have you made a closet? How much were the pipes?

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

If they're fairly standard closets, you're going to come out a lot cheaper putting up wood cleats on the back and side walls, and putting the shelves on that. Even if you want to divide the closet into 1/2 for hanging clothes, 1/2 for cubby holes, you can still do it cheaper with wood. If it's going to be hidden by a door or a curtain, why bother paying extra for the looks?


If you shopped at Home Depot this would cost you around $315.00 giver or take.


4 years ago on Step 9

Love it! I swoon for the "industrial look" I have also sent a hint to my brother for potential remodeling ideas for storage. I suggested a hanging pot pan rack can be made for our old kitchen. Thing is, if an alternative look is desired by one, copper pipe with sweat joints with soldered NPT fittings can be used. This would still make it collapsable / resizable. One needs to be sure to use a durable high grade copper pipe for a really jaw-dropping look in that case :-). Steampunk anyone?


4 years ago

Shelves look great but I really like that spray paint in a box trick. Great idea!


4 years ago

About how much did this cost you?