DIY: Industrial Pipe Shelves (Part I)

I adore industrial looking interior design. As I mentioned in one of my Live DIY videos, I’m redoing my room with a theme of “vintage industrial teen boy astronomy”. As you can tell, it’s pretty vague. Whatever it is, it suits my style. I think that those lovely shelving units made from industrial pipes would be perfect. The thing is, that metal piping is super expensive. So I’ve come up with a just as gorgeous way to do it yourself for much cheaper.

I’m doing this in two parts, so it’s not so overwhelming for the both of us. I’m starting with the pipes first. Instead of using metal pipes, I’m going to use PVC pipe and, using a metal texture/color spray paint, will paint them for the more industrial appearance. When I calculated the price for the shelves using metal pipes, it was going to cost me $50 for just two shelves. Using this PVC pipe method, I can build five shelves for that price.

What I’m putting together today is a unit that I designed in my brain for a while, then finally am figuring out how to make it happen. I sketched up the unit, and figured out what I would need. The unit had three shelves, all 12×18. photo 2 (3)The thing is I confused myself while at the hardware store, and ended up with two less pipes than I needed. But that’s okay! It’s nothing a trip to another trip to the hardware store can’t fix. So for this article, you’ll just see the main part of the unit, and not the two end pipes that will be on the top two shelves. The rest of the unit is all one piece.

So to build everything including my two missing pipes, you’ll need:

photo 1 (3)7 pieces of 1ft x 3/4″ PVC (I bought one long piece and cut that)
4 90 degree 3/4″elbows
4 3/4″ tees
Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze metallic spray paint

First, I assembled all the pieces I had according to my picture. I only used two of the tee fittings for this, because the other two will go on my two missing pipes. Since they don’t make PVC wall flanges for things like this, I improvised and am using the tees for screwing the unit into the wall. But that will come in part II. For now, I assembled everything I had, using a hammer to make sure all the pipes were tightly into the elbow fittings. photo 3 (3)Once that was all put together, I grabbed a pizza box & my spray paint. Old pizza boxes are a perfect surface for spray painting. This was my first time using Rustoleum spray paint and I was blown away. It worked better than any other brand I’ve used. It sprayed in a lovely steady spray that made it feel like I was using a paint gun. And the color was perfect. When I was done, the PVC really looked like metal. I was afraid it would look dumb & obviously painted, but I think they look like the real deal!

photo 4 (3)I let that hang out to dry while I went to the hardware store to begin phase two of the industrial pipe shelf mission. However, that will be left for another article next month. I super, super excited to get working on the wood and finish these bad boys up, Fangirls. My room shall be a true spectacle of vintage industrial teen boy astrology chic. `

Happy DIY-ing!


All images are copyright of their respective owners. 



2 thoughts on “DIY: Industrial Pipe Shelves (Part I)

  1. How did it turn out…….what does it look like…..did you glue the joints……did….did you have to use a rubber male to set the joint ….. how did you hand it …..what type of faster did you use …..I must know 🙂

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