I’m currently making over our playroom and turning it into a “tween” hangout space (update: you can see that makeover here!) and the boys really needed more shelving for books and LEGO sets. I decided to put my own modern “glam” spin on the typically industrial style DIY pipe bookshelf.
I love the gold, and while they won’t always be styled this neatly (because boys), today I’ll walk you through the step by step tutorial of how I made it.
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- 1×12 boards
- Pocket Hole Jig
- 1 1/4” Pocket Hole Screws
- Countersinking Drill Bit
- 2” Wood Screws
- Paint or Stain
- (12) 6” long 1” thick Threaded Steel Pipe Pieces
- (24) 1” Steel Pipe Flanges
- 1/2″ Construction Screws
- Latex Gloves
- Rusty Metal Spray Primer
- Gold Spray Paint
- Wood Filler
- Putty Knife
- Tack Cloth (optional)
- Sanding Block
- Furniture Paste Wax
- White Lint-Free Cotton Cloths (an old t-shirt works fine)
How to Build a DIY Pipe Bookshelf
Step 1: Cut Your Wood
Cut your 1×12 boards to the following dimensions: 6 pieces at 3’ long each and 6 pieces at 12” long each. Then I gave everything a good sanding with my random orbit sander.
Step 2: Drill Pocket Holes
Next, I drilled 3 pocket holes in one of the short ends of 6 of my short 1×12 pieces. These will be the ends of each bookshelf.
Step 3: Attach Sides
I attached the ends to the long pieces of 1×12 using 1 1/4” pocket hole screws. This long piece will be the top of each shelf so we will flip it over later.
Step 4: Attach Bottom
After the “tops” had been attached to the sides or ends of the shelves, I attached the bottom (we’re working upside down) by pre drilling holes with a countersinking drill bit and then attaching it using 2 inch wood screws.
I wanted to use pocket hole screws on the top side so when we flip it over the screws won’t be visible from the top.
Step 5: Patch Knots and Holes
After everything was attached, I patched over the knots in the wood using wood filler to prevent bleed through later on since I plan on painting this.
Step 6: Paint or Stain
I painted it with Behr Marquee paint and primer in one in the color White 52.
I do typically use a separate stain blocking primer but for this I didn’t bother. You can check out my furniture painting tutorial here where I share my tips and the technique I use to get the most professional looking finish possible. I painted two coats of paint total, allowing it to dry completely in between.
Step 7: Clean Steel Pipe and Flanges
While the paint dried I turned my attention to the steel pipe. I cleaned all of the pipe pieces and flanges with acetone to remove any residue.
Step 8: Spray Paint
I primed the pipes and flanges with Rustoleum rusty metal primer, then I spray painted them with metallic gold spray paint.
Step 9: Seal Shelves
While the spray paint dried, I sealed the shelves with some furniture paste wax.
You can use polycrylic or water based polyurethane too, just whatever you prefer.
When I apply paste wax, I use cheesecloth, and I dip it in and coat it well, and then fold it over and apply it through a layer of cheesecloth. Then I wait about 20 minutes and buff it with a clean cotton cloth. An old t-shirt works great for this or you can buy a package of cotton rags at home depot.
Step 10: Assemble
I screwed the pipe into the flanges, then I flipped the bottom shelf over and attached the first pipes to serve as the legs, I used 1/2″ construction screws and because I’m only using 6 inch pipes, it’s a tight fit so you’ll want to use a compact sized drill for this or use longer pipe.
Ryobi sent me their new compact series drill and impact driver and they worked great for this project. I started by pre drilling holes but quickly got impatient and skipped this step for the remainder of the shelves. After I attached the first 4 pipes I then flipped it back over.
I attached 4 more, measuring about a 1/4” in from each side and positioning it flush with the front and back of the shelves.
Then I attached the next shelf using the same method, trying to get everything as straight as possible.
I repeated the process until all 3 shelves were attached.
You can check out the YouTube video for this project here:
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