Pipe shelves can be used in homes, stores, or office spaces to hold different items. They're often held above the ground by brackets. When installing a shelf unit in your space, you can attach it to a wall, suspend it from a ceiling, or place it on a free-standing frame.

There are different materials used to make shelves. They include wood, steel, bamboo, glass, and plastic. DIY shelves can be made from books, colored pencils, old door frames, or wooden crates.

This guide looks at pipe shelving in particular. Pipe shelves are common in restaurants, homes, stores, and businesses. They consist of steel gas pipes and wood boards. Some shelving units are made of copper pipes instead of galvanized steel pipes. Although copper pipe shelves may look nice, they're not recommended for heavy duty shelves.

Pipe shelving units rest on the floor with the help of flanges. They're attached to the wall with wall anchors. You can modify pipe shelving to function as a retail clothing display, for storage of books, and as a wall shelf.

What Are Pipe Shelves?

Pipes are some of the most versatile materials ever. They feature in various DIY (Do It Yourself) projects in the world of interior design. Some of these items made with pipes include pipe shelves. As the name implies, pipe shelves are made of pipes and wood planks.

People make this type of shelf to add diversity to the furniture inside their homes. Although pipe shelves aren't cheap, they're still considered as a great investment by many homeowners. To save up on construction costs, you can use leftover pieces of pipes and wood from other projects. For example, you can disassemble old pipe shelves and use them to come up with better-looking shelves.

If you change homes often, pipe shelves can act as moving giant bookcases because they create large storage spaces. Pipe shelves can look chic in any part of the house. They can provide permanent storage space in the kitchen, bedroom, and study.

You can install pipe shelves in bathrooms too. They'll help organize toiletries, towels, and other items you keep in your bathroom. You can build as many shelves as you need and place them by the sink, on the wall above the door, or above the sink.

 

Pipe shelves come in a variety of forms. Some of them are popular among DIY enthusiasts while others are unique because of their look and originality. To make elegant shelving units, you'll want to check out some designs online or in magazines. Additionally, you must use high-quality materials to ensure your pipe shelves last longer.

What Supplies Are Required?

The number of supplies you'll need will depend on the size of your shelves. Commonly used materials include galvanized floor flanges, straps, spray paint, screws, wall anchors, caps, pieces of wood, sandpaper, wood stain, and pipes.

When buying these supplies, make sure to consider the following elements:

Aesthetics And Practicality

The materials you get should be functional and good-looking. It's important for both of these characteristics to go hand in hand. You don't want to buy a plank of wood that looks good but breaks easily. Buy materials that complement the design of your space.

Price

If stainless pipes look good but cost a fortune, you should think twice about buying them. Set a budget before you begin to shop for supplies. Be sure to look for high-quality items that fit within your budget.

Assembly Effort And Maintenance

Building a pipe shelf can be a tedious task if you pick supplies that are difficult to assemble. Go for materials that are ready for assembly. For example, you should buy pipes with threads if you don't have the right threading equipment. Buy the right size of items to ensure you have an easy time assembling the pipe shelves.

Most materials used for pipe shelving are low-maintenance. Don't buy supplies that take a lot of time to clean. The materials should be easy to maintain.
Stainless steel pipes, for example, are good for kitchen pipe shelving because they don't rust. Therefore, you won't have to paint them from time to time to keep them in good shape.

The Build - Instructions, Tips, & More

The building process will be fun if you have the right skills and equipment. Also, you must set aside some time to focus on constructing an aesthetically pleasing pipe shelf.

Project Description

Make a shelving unit that features rungs, support brackets, and four shelves. Mount the shelving unit with wall studs. Finish the shelves to fit your wall and space. The finished unit should effortlessly support items weighing hundreds of pounds.

Follow these steps to make pipe shelves:

Gather Supplies and Tools

1/2 -Inch Diameter Black Iron Pipes

It's advisable to use vertical pipe supports, with 30- 38 inches between each shelf. In this example, we'll make 6-foot long shelves supported with three vertical pipes at 30 inches apart.

Note: The quantity, lengths, and fittings of pipe will depend on your design. It's advisable to buy a little more than you need to avoid making several trips to the hardware store.

3/4 -Inch Pine Boards

Use boards that are 10 inches wide and 6 feet long. Ensure your boards are of the right sizes because some are listed as 10-inch wide, but they're 9-1/4-inch wide. 

It's up to you to decide whether your shelves will be wide or narrow. However, you need to match the length of the horizontal pipes to the boards' width. In this project, you'll use 10-inch boards and 10-inch pipes.

Note: The specifications of the built-in pipe shelves will determine the quantity of wood. To accurately estimate the amount of wood required, complete your layout first.

Three 3/4 -Inch Diameter Plugs

Although they're not essential, these items make it easy to level and adjust shelves.

Pipe Clamps

These are metal loops used to join boards to pipes when making pipe shelves. Use a couple of clamps on each horizontal pipe support. Secure the clamps with 5/8-inch long screws.

 

Other Supplies

The additional supplies will include an 18-volt cordless drill, Danish oil, t-connectors, a volt circular saw, and an orbital sander.

Make the Pipe Shelves Plan

You don't have to be a professional cabinetmaker to create a plan for your pipe shelves. Use a pen and paper to draw the sketch of three vertical pipes and four horizontal boards. The distance between the vertical shelves will be 30 inches. The flanges (horizontal pipes) will be 10 inches long.

You'll have T-fittings joining the horizontal pipes to the vertical ones, at intervals of 12 inches. Therefore, your boards will be 12 inches apart from each other. You'll install your plugs 18 inches from the lowest T-fitting, meaning your shelving unit will be 18 inches above the floor.

If you don't know how to create a pipe shelves plan, you can look for a readymade plan online and download it.

Cut the Boards

Cut your boards to overhand the vertical pipes on both ends, at about 4 to 12 inches.

Finish the boards

Sand the shelving boards with sandpaper. You want to get rid of any markings, dirt, and scuffs on the wood. After achieving your desired smoothness, finish the boards with a coat of clear acrylic finish or Danish Oil.

Assemble the Pipes

You don't need power tools to screw the pipes together because they don't have to be tightly screwed together. You only need to ensure that the pipes are securely connected to each other.

Install the Flanges on the Wall

To make sure the pipes are at a perfect 180-degree angle, use a bevel. Use drywall anchors if you're installing flanges on gypsum walls.

Paint the Clamps

Since steel clamps do not match black iron pipes, it would be a good idea to spray them with black spray paint. This finish will not only make the clamps look uniform but also prevent rusting.

Screw the Boards in Place

To attach the planks of wood to the pipes, use pipe hangers.

This will be your final step after, which you're free to place the items you wish to arrange on the pipe shelves.

Conclusion

You can come up with different designs of shelves as there are multiple ways to assemble pipes and boards to create storage space. It's important, however, to consider the functionality of your shelf. If you want to store or display heavy items on a wall, use strong materials for your shelf. Also, be sure to properly secure the wall clumps.

To build a long-lasting shelf, use galvanized pipes. Ordinary iron pipes rust easily, which means you'll have to spend time and money painting your pipe shelving system regularly.

You should not underestimate the importance of a plan when building a pipe shelf. Many people end up with a lot of waste material because they don't have a plan to show them what they need to do. A building plan will help you visualize the final product. Additionally, it'll save you time and other precious resources.

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