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PIPE DECOR® DIY Pipe Shelf

How to Make a Pipe Shelf

If you want to dip your toe into the world of DIY decor, a pipe shelf is an easy way to get started. With sturdy building materials and a sleek, industrial look, you can make a statement with just a few hours of work! Here’s what you need to know about how to build a pipe shelf for your home.

pipe shelf

Choose Your Design

There are many different ways to build a pipe shelf. The easiest way is to use pipes, caps, and flanges to build straight brackets that the shelf will rest on, but there are plenty of other designs as well! You can mix and match different pipe finishes or choose a more secure design using elbows and extra flanges to support the shelf.

pipe shelf

Gather Your Materials

Once you have your design figured out, it’s time to gather your materials.

Essentially, you will need:

  • 2 flanges in the same diameter as your pipes
  • 2 pipes, each 8 in. long (we like ½ in. diameter pipes for a slimmer profile)
  • 2 caps in the same diameter as your pipes
  • Wood for the shelf, 7.5 in. deep (or smaller)
  • Hardware for mounting
  • A drill

Our shelf kits come with enough materials to make two matching shelves using ½” pipes and fittings. If your design requires more fittings or a different pipe diameter, feel free to tailor the materials as needed!

pipe shelf

Cleaning and Sealing

Black steel pipes are coated in a light industrial oil to prevent rusting during transit. To keep your pipes rust-free, it’s important to clean and seal them before using them to build your shelf. Here’s how to do it in three easy steps.
  1. First, wash the pipes in warm water with dish soap until the oil is removed. Once you’ve made sure that the pipes are clean, wipe the excess water off and let dry completely before sealing.
  2. Next, seal the pipes with polyurethane spray or a finishing wax. For polyurethane sprays, simply thoroughly spray the pipe’s surface and let it dry. Polyurethane sprays usually come in either a matte or satin finish.
  3. Finishing wax adds a hand-rubbed luster to your pipes. Coat the pipes with wax and let them dry for 20 minutes. You can then polish the pipes with a washcloth. The faster you polish, the shinier the finish.

By cleaning and sealing before installing, you’re making sure that the brackets will last longer and will be protected from rust. Now your shelf is ready for assembly.

pipe shelf

How to Build a Pipe Shelf

Now it’s time to build! These instructions will teach you how to assemble an easy shelf with brackets using the materials listed earlier in this post or this kit. If you opt for a more customized design, you’ll need to alter these steps slightly.

For the installation, we recommend a drill with ¼” bit for the wall anchor and a regular screwdriver.

Before installing the brackets to the walls, we need to assemble them. Simply screw one end of the pipe to a round flange and screw a cap on the other end of the pipe. Do the same for the other bracket.

We recommend drilling your shelf brackets into a wall stud to provide optimal holding power. However, you can still install the brackets into a drywall with the help of anchors to keep the brackets held in place.

Installation Into Studs

  1. Locate where the studs are behind the drywall using a stud finder.
  2. Once you’ve found where the studs are, mark where you want to place the brackets. Use a level to ensure that the shelf isn’t askew once installed. You can use the length of your shelf to determine the distance between the brackets. For our 24 in. shelf kit, we recommend a distance of 16-18 inches.
  3. Once you find the right height and have the placement for your brackets marked, secure the flange with screws and a drill.
  4. Once brackets are secured, simply place the shelf on top of it.

Installation Into Drywall

  1. Mark where you want to place the brackets. Use a level on both brackets to ensure that the shelf isn’t askew once installed. You can use the length of your shelf to determine the distance between the brackets. For our 24 in. shelf kit, we recommend a distance of 16-18 inches.
  2. Drill ¼” pilot holes where you marked the wall for the anchors.
  3. Install anchors into the pre-drilled holes. Make sure that the anchors are pushed fully into the wall. You can use a hammer to lightly drive the anchors in until they are fully into the wall.
  4. Secure the flanges by screwing them into the anchors.
  5. Once brackets are secured, simply place the shelf on top of it.
And that’s it! This easy-to-install shelf can accent any space with its combination of genuine industrial pipe and real American wood. The industrial look can go well with any aesthetic and can be installed in any room.

PIPE DECOR® offers a wide selection of shelf kits as well as assorted pipes, fittings, and wood so you can completely customize your DIY pipe shelf. Shop our selection today, and as always feel free to contact us at help@pipe-decor.com with any questions!
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