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Easy DIY Industrial Pipe Shelving

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Since "Industrial Chic" is all the rage in interior design these days, I thought I'd show you guys how easy it is to make and install the pipe shelving John and I used in our Steampunk Laundry Room:
 

I'll also tell you where I found the materials, since the wrong stuff can be super expensive at your local hardware store.

To give you an idea: John and I purchased all the pieces to make a single bracket from Lowe's, and the total was over $25. FOR A SINGLE BRACKET. And we needed five or six!

I was about to give up on my dream of pipe bracket shelving, but then I took to ebay, and after a lot of digging, I hit gold:


 Black Malleable gold, to be exact.

Yep, these pieces are called black malleable fittings and flanges, although you can rest assured they're not in the least bit "malleable." Some stores only carry galvanized iron pipe, which is a bright silver, and - get this - is more than double the price of black malleable.

So while it costs more than $10 for a single flange of galvanized iron, the same thing in black malleable is only about $4. Cha-CHING! (Not to mention I think the black version looks better!)


I couldn't find black malleable pipe at our local stores, but I did find an ebay seller who very nicely put together a custom listing of exactly what I needed for all five brackets, with free shipping, for fifty bucks. Ten bucks a bracket? Now THAT's more like it!

If you'd like to build the same brackets we did, then here's a handy cheat sheet.

For each shelf bracket, you will need:

(2) 3/4 inch flanges
(1) 3/4 inch elbow bracket
(1) 3/4 inch X 2 inch pipe nipple
(1) 3/4 inch X 5 inch pipe nipple
 
And this is the ebay seller I used, in case you'd like to buy from the same place. (Rest assured I don't get any kick backs or anything; just trying to save you some time, since it took me a while to find a seller who has all the parts I needed!)

Put them all together, and you get this:


Screw the flanges into a wall stud if possible, or use heavy-duty wall anchors. (We still have to paint over the screw heads, since you can see they're waaay too shiny.) Then use any old wood planking for the tops, or buy pre-cut shelves, and you're done!

Oh, and a quick safety tip: you'll probably need to clean your pipe pieces, since ours arrived with a fair amount of grease and a little rust on them, but be careful; the edges and seams are sharp. John sliced a finger while he was scrubbing, so he recommends wearing thick rubber gloves when you clean them.

I hope that was helpful, guys! And feel free to ask any questions in the comments, since I'm sure I may have missed something!

Posted by Jen at 11:00 AM Labels: , ,

24 comments:

  1. LOVE it! Thanks so much for the info on the pipe and the link to the seller.

    After you spent all that time tracking down exactly the right stuff, it was so thoughtful and generous of you to share your findings with us. What a huge time-saver!

    Thanks again!

    KW

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  2. "I was about to give up on my dream of pipe bracket shelving, but then I took to ebay, and after a lot of digging, I hit gold"

    So you might call it your pipe dream?

    ...

    I'm here all week, folks. Tip your waitresses.

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    Replies
    1. I came here for this joke, you didn't disappoint! :)

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  3. We installed a pot rack on our kitchen wall using the same type of pipes! Lowes and Home Depot have all the parts if you don't want to use eBay. Your shelves look great!

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  4. The nit-picker in me wanted to point out for anyone else interested in the project, that if you don't want the bright shiny silver metal screw heads showing, you can actually buy black metal screws. Of course I know this only because non-matching screw heads are a little pet-peeve of my Dear Husband, so I have been well-trained to recognize them. : )

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    Replies
    1. Very true, although the black metal screws are drywall screws - or at least all the black screws I know of are - which are more brittle, so you run the risk of them snapping in anything tougher than drywall. Stainless steel and/or nickel screws are a bit stronger, plus these had a larger head that we needed for the flanges.

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  5. Hehe heh..."pipe nipple"...sorry, I'm a twelve year old boy in my head sometimes!

    The shelves look cool though! :)

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  6. This is amazing! It's the little details like this that make all the difference.

    -River

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  7. Love 'em! They look awesome in your steampunk washroom. When is the last time John had a tetanus shot? If it's been 10 yrs, time for a booster. My mom was a registered nurse and she brought home a couple tetanus shots over the years when I got 'bit' by some kind of metal...stepped on a nail, got scratched on a metal frame above-ground pool. A dirty greasy pipe fits right in there... lock jaw is no fun and not curable.

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    Replies
    1. Eek, hadn't thought of that! I think John's still current on his (the occasional perils of cat ownership...) but I'll double check.

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    2. Be sure to get the full TDAP (Tetanus, Diptheria, and Pertussis) shot, not just tetanus. There are pertussis epedemics going in several parts of the country which are killing babies too young to be vaccinated. Do your part to support the herd immunity.

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  8. Sequitor question--what is the cylindrical grey thing on the top shelf between the two square boxes? Is it a juicer?

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    Replies
    1. Yep! Specifically, the juicer we purchased after watching "Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead" on Netflix and then used for 2 weeks and then put on a high shelf in the laundry room. Ha! Every few months I get inspired and make a few drinks with it, tho, so I guess it stays for now.

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  9. Went to Big Lots on Saturday and saw tons of industrial inspired knock backs and such. They are screaming for Epbot makeovers. If you have a Big Lots you should pop in. They even had lanterns that were mini silver phone boxes.

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  10. You're an evil woman, Jen, making me want to go and be all crafty and spiffy even fractionally like you. So far I've considered combining this idea with the aged copper paint job for a steampunk sewing room...but we'll see.

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  11. For me, a slightly better look would be to use short hex lag screws in all four holes instead of the little Philips ones. That's what you'd see on real piping. The screws will be bigger so be sure to pre-drill. For the wall, you can just use two and epoxy cut-off screw heads in place for the other two in order to limit the number of holes. You can paint the bolt heads black if desired.

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  12. Teeeeheeeheee, she said 'nipples'. And 'flanges'.
    I'm sorry, I'm British - this stuff is like catnip to my kind.

    It looks fantastic, by the way!

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  13. I've already purchased the supplies needed to build a curtain rod for our son's nursery, thanks to your post! The curtains will be made out of a drop cloth and some denim -- I'm stoked to get everything in the mail so I can begin!

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  14. the five pendant light made of wire cages can be found here for just under $500.00:
    http://1000bulbs.com/product/65980/LZY-225031.html?utm_source=SmartFeedShopzilla&utm_medium=Shopping&utm_term=LZY225031&utm_content=LightBulbsIncandescentAntiqueLightBulbsAntiqueFixturesAntiquePendantsBronzeAntiquePendants&utm_campaign=SmartFeedShopzilla&thissku=LZY777dash777225031&site=www.shopzilla.com

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  15. This is PERFECT!! I want to make these for my boy's Steampunk bedroom and was preparing to eat the cost of the black ones. Such happiness today! =)

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  16. Black Iron Pipe is commonly used for natural gas fittings, it's cheaper because it's just soft iron. Lowes usually has a good selection here in the US and it's WAY cheaper than galvanized steel. the edges are SHARP but a good metal file will take them right off since it's so soft. If these are going to be somewhere they can be handled, you can bet someone's going to want to reach out and touch them! :)

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  17. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

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  18. I want to use 16 inch depth shelving, do you think this application would be sturdy enough?

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    Replies
    1. I would think so, provided your shelf is sturdy wood and you screw the brackets into some wall studs. This pipe is incredibly strong!

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