This fun pipe bookshelf can be put together in one sitting and requires no fancy power tools. Only a drill and some screws to attach the frame. How cool is that!? If you want to see how it’s done, you’ve come to the right place.
The idea for this project came about when my daughter’s high school Drama teacher asked me to build an industrial style bookcase/shelf for the set of The Wizard of OZ. I have built other pieces for the program (for fundraising purposes), like my blanket ladder and my country style bench.
This time, the piece would be going on stage, so the pressure was on. The Wicked Witch of the West needed a place to hang her broom and store her dark magic potions.
So, this is what I came up with.
The piece was screwed into a wooden base for ease of transport on and off stage. The teacher requested that the bottom shelf be level with the top of the caldron. For home use, I would recommend making the legs shorter for added stability. Adding a third shelf closer to the floor would be a great option if you want to keep the height.
Do you agree that this piece could look great in any room? Without further delay, let me share some tips on how to put this together. If you like video tutorials, scroll down for a quick one minute video summary.
DIY Pipe Bookshelf
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Pipe is 3/4″ in diameter and galvanized
- (10) Flanges
- (1) 120″ long piece galvanized pipe* (cuts are 2@14″, 2@18″, 2@20″)
- (4) 1-1/2″ and (2) 3″pipe nipples
- (4) Couplers
- (2) Elbows
- (1) T-piece
- (1) Plug
- Drill and 1-1/4″ wood screws
- (2) 2×8 white wood board pieces cut at 45″ for the shelves
- Sander or sand paper
- Finish of choice. I used a walnut color for the stain on the wood and flat black spray paint for the frame.
Step 1:Cutting the Pipe
* I found it much more affordable to buy one long piece of pipe and have the store cut and rethread it, than buy the pieces separately. I also had a lot of leftover pieces from the sofa table I built a while back so all of the short pipe nipples came from that. I purchased the 120″ long piece online for store pick up, then I called and gave them measurements over the phone. By the time I picked it up, the pipe was all cut and rethreaded at no charge!
Tip when shopping for pipe: Measurements of all pre-cut pipe include the threaded portions.
Step 2: Sand and Stain the Wood
Step 2: Putting pieces together
I’ll be honest with you. The hardest part of making this pipe bookshelf was the planning! Make sure you really take the time to plan and do a little math to figure out your cuts.
Once the pipe is cut it’s just a matter of putting the pieces together. I washed the pipe first but even then, I would still recommend wearing gloves if you don’t want to smell like pipe.
I started by putting the legs and mid support pieces together. Easy. It’s a good idea to ma sure they’re leveled.
After that I moved on to the top bar. This is where I got to play with my leftover pieces and figure it out as I went. The idea was to have a place far enough from the shelf where things could hang. I could have used longer pieces on the sides, but I opted to join shorter pieces using elbows, T-pieces, and couplers for a more industrial look.
Step 3: Paint, if desired
The drama teacher preferred black, so I spray painted the frame using my favorite flat black spray paint.
Step 4: Attach the frame
Finally it was just a matter of attaching the frame by drilling through the holes in the flanges. Two screws per flange is plenty!
Step 5: Enjoy your new pipe bookshelf!
I was able to sneak in a quick shot before I gave this piece away, but it truly does NOT do it justice. I was already behind on the deadline so this is all I got!
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Novice woodworker and serial Popcorn eater, Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials that motivate others to “dare to try”. Originally from Puerto Rico, Janice is fluent in Spanish and dreams of owning a beach house on the island someday! Janice currently lives in Utah with her husband and children, where she works as a university professor.