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I know I am not the first person to create pipe shelves. But I may be the first wife who’s husband was super excited to help out! The hubby is a plumber and when I told him I wanted to make shelves using pipes he was very eager to help. And he was more than happy to get all the supplies needed; all I had to do was make sure we had some good boards to use! I called this a win-win project!

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  • Boards for the shelves (I used pine in 2 different sizes that came from our ReStore)
    • Your boards can be as long or as wide as you like (my top shelf was a shorter width than my bottom one)
  • 4-Black Iron flanges (This is the part that attaches to the wall, ours were 3/4″)
  • 4-Black Iron threaded extension (We actually used 2 different pipe lengths due to my top shelf being shorter, so we only needed 2 of each: 10″ & 8″ and again 3/4″)
    • Make sure the length of the threaded extension will be wide enough for your shelf, per the plumber hubby the length of the extension can go up to 12″ but you can get them custom made longer than this
  • 4-Black Iron Caps (again we used 3/4″)
  • 4-8 Two hole pipe strap (3/4″)
    • I say 4-8 because we attached only 1 pipe strap to the top shelf because of the shorter width
  • Minwax Wood Penetrating Stain (I used Classic Gray and Dark Walnut)
  • T-shirt Rags
  • Black spray paint


Wood Shelf Staining

The first step was to stain my wood. It seems that I can never find the exact stain color I am looking for when I visualize a project. So I have started to layer my stains and experiment with colors. For these shelves, I started with Minwax Classic Gray Penetrating Stain which gave the wood a very dull look. I then used the dark walnut as the next coat and loved the color. Funny thing is that the dark walnut stain was leftover from our living room floors and I used it on a whim not sure what to expect. Over the gray, the walnut was definitely not as dark as our floors but gave the shelves a warmer color tone.

I included t-shirt rags on the material list because that is my favorite way to apply stain, I find that a brush doesn’t allow me to control the stain as well as a rag does. This is a personal preference.

Pipe Prep

The black iron pipes are not completely black in color when you get them. And they have a greasy film on them. You can just wash them down with a degreaser or paint them. I chose paint. Also, the pipe straps do not come in black and I wanted it all to match.

Pipe and fittings for DIY pipe shelves

Shelf Assembly

Now the fun part to actually put everything together! Make sure to find the studs in your wall (use a stud finder if need be). The nice thing about the base that attaches to the wall is that you can trace the screw holes directly on the wall to get a better idea of where you need to screw.

Attaching black iron pipe bases to the wall for pipe shelves

Make sure to use a tape measure and a level when screwing the bases to the wall. You can then screw in the pipes and put the end caps on.

The final step is to place the boards on top of the pipe, you could stop at this point depending on what you will be displaying. These shelves were installed in the walk-in pantry to hold my cookbook collection and so I knew I wanted them to be very secure. We used smaller screws to attach the pipe straps, one near the back and one near the front on the longer pipe and just one in the middle on the smaller pipe shelf.

DIY Pipe shelving in a walk-in pantry

As you can see the pipes for the bottom shelf are bigger than need be for the size of board. The hubby realized this after the fact but I chose not to get new ones. Because this is the pantry I may end up using those ends as a hanger or hook for something in the future.

And as you can see my top shelf is still completely empty, I told the hubby this means I have to add more to my cookbook collection! (Insert eye roll emoji!)

Happy building friends!







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