DIY industrial shelves


My sewing room table was cluttered with supplies and I needed more floor space. After seeing a friend’s DIY closet, I was inspired to build an industrial shelving unit of my own. This is definitely a two-person project, so grab a friend!


  • 3 wood boards (3’x2"x12")
  • (6) 3" pipes
  • (2) 6" pipes
  • (2) 8" pipes
  • (2) 12" pipes
  • (2) 18" pipes
  • (18) flanges
  • (2) T-joints
  • (4) 90-degree elbows
  • (2) coupling inserts
  • Screws


Measurements.Determine the length and height of your shelving unit by measuring your wall space and taking into account any doors, artwork, etc. that already exists. You may want to anchor at least one side on studs if possible.

Piping.I used 3/4" pipes. I wanted the pipes to go through the center of my shelves. To do this, I used 3" pipe and elbow to extend out from the wall flange. This centered my flanges at 6" on a 12" board. I chose to vary the heights of my shelves, but you could make them all the same if you want.

Caution: Black piping is greasy when you first buy it! Wear gloves to the hardware store.

Once home, simply soak in soapy dishwater for about 10 minutes and scrub to remove grease. Dry it or it’ll rust (true story!), unless that’s a look you want.


Start assembling your pieces to ensure you have exactly what you need to assemble the entire shelving unit. I threaded, unthreaded; threaded, unthreaded a lot during this process.

Boards.I purchased (1) 15’x2"x12" board (wood type doesn’t really matter unless you have a preference) and cut it into 3’ pieces.

Sand. I started with #60, moved to #120 and ended with #150. I would have sanded more – but didn’t have a #220.

Stain. Apply one coat of stain (several options exist). I choose a Varathane kona color and blended with a light oak. Choose colors that you love!

Protect. Once dried, give it a light sand (I used steel wool) and apply a polyurethane to protect from scratches or moisture. In my case, I choose a matte because I didn’t want a high-gloss finish. Let dry overnight.

Making your shelves

Step 1. Prepare your boards if you want them stained. Alternately, you can leave them raw if that is the look you prefer.

Step 2. Fit together one flange, 3" piece of pipe, elbow, 6" piece of pipe and another flange. Repeat so you have a matching side to create your base. Hold up to the wall where you think you want to install it. Set your first shelf on top and use a level to confirm it’s level. Adjust as needed and mark flange holes on wall. Set aside.

Step 3. Pre-drill holes in the wall, add wall anchors and screw flange to wall. Add the rest of your base piping on top.


Step 4. Set shelf on top of base piping and drill shelf onto flange. Measure the distance from the edge of the shelf to the flange.

Step 5. Use your measurement to add a flange to each side of the top of the shelf. Rotate top flange slightly so you don’t hit the bottom screws when attaching. Attach top flange.

Step 6. Thread the 18" piece of pipe to your bottom shelf. Create a wall support using your T-joints, 3" piece of pipe and a flange.

Step 7. Use coupling inserts to attach T-joint to flange and shelf. Add flange to the top of the shelf.

Step 8. Thread the 12" pipe to shelf and add flange. Screw shelf to flange and repeat step 5 to add top flange.

Step 9. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to finish, using 8" pipes instead of 6". Anchor flange to the wall and you’re finished!

Have a DIY project of your own you'd like featured in At Home? Send photos + description to Allison at for consideration!


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