How to Build Simple Pipe Shelves with Reclaimed Wood

Article Posted By: Ethan Hagan

of One Project Closer

Simple pipe shelf displaying vintage items

Ethan Hagan, of the blog One Project Closer, is an expert on just about any aspect of home improvement and DIY projects. Here, he shows us how he created some simple wall-mounted shelving using cast iron pipe and fittings. Pipe shelving is a popular way to add storage space simply and relatively inexpensively, but Ethan’s pipe shelves have an extra stylish twist — they feature beautiful reclaimed wood. The repurposed wood is a perfect complement to the industrial-style pipe.

And as you’ll see, his shelving turned out to be perfect for displaying some treasured vintage items.

I recently inherited a few items from my grandfather including some old hand tools, a small radio and a 48-star American flag. Needless to say, I was excited and decided to build a space to show them off. I’ve always liked the look of black pipe shelves. Not only are they functional, the pipe and some reclaimed wood add character to an otherwise boring shelf.

Simple Pipe Shelves: Pipe shelf with reclaimed wood displaying an American flag

Pipe shelves are great because they are completely customizable. You can set up as many shelves as you need, and they can be any size, shape or orientation. Plus, The Home Depot will cut and thread pipe for you so you don’t need any specialty tools.

In downtown Baltimore, there is a non-profit group called Second Chance. They sell cabinets, doors, appliances, rugs, windows, and everything else. Think of it like a Habitat for Humanity ReStore except a lot bigger. I stopped by Second Chance and rummaged through their piles of reclaimed wood. Eventually, I found a nice looking, straight 2 x 8 to use for the shelf.

The plumbing pieces you'll need to build simple DIY pipe shelves

I also picked up some 1/2-inch black iron pipe and a few fittings (elbows, couplers, floor flanges) at my local Home Depot store. Black pipe costs about $1/foot, and most fittings cost between $1 and $4.

Anchors installed, ready for wall-mounded pipe shelves

Pipe fittings assembled to create simple DIY pipe shelves

After I mapped out the location of the shelf, I drilled holes in the drywall and inserted drywall anchors. If you’re planning on storing heavy items, pick up anchors rated for more weight (these Medium Duty E-Z Anchors, for instance) or attach the shelf to studs.

An electric drill creates holes in reclaimed in a DIY pipe shelves project

A pipe fitting attached to reclaimed wood in a DIY pipe shelves project

This is 1/2-inch (inside diameter) pipe so I used a 1-inch spade bit to drill holes through the board. The shelf is held in place by sandwiching the board between a coupler and an elbow.

Simple pipe shelves installed on a wall

With a lot of finagling, I got all the pipe attached, and I propped up the shelf with spare boards while I screwed it to the wall.

Simple pipe shelves display vintage items

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The shelf is strong, sturdy and looks great, and I can easily add-on to it if I need more storage. I feel like it’s a shelf worthy of the items it holds.

Simple pipe shelves with a vintage radio

Ethan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer, where you’ll find expert how-to guides called Pro-Follows. Each Pro-Follow is the result of shadowing real contractors on actual job sites. In addition, OPC provides tool reviews and coupon information for DIY centers and practical tutorials on common home improvement projects, such as how to install hardwood flooring.

Find plenty more small, affordable design and décor projects for home and garden in our DIY Décor series here on The Home Depot blog.

    Other Items You'll Need

    • Reclaimed wood in the appropriate size and amount for the items you wish to display