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About two months ago, I was right in the midst of designing up my Elsa pattern. I had a new sewing room (first real “sewing room” I’ve ever had) since we moved into our awesome new house last November. I got around to painting my new space in January, but ever since I moved my sewing stuff back in the room, it was filled to overflowing. Seriously, overflowing. In the midst of designing, checking pattern pieces, and making 8 Elsa ice dresses, there was only a small “path” carved out in the center of the room to walk. It was bad (no picture here due to embarrassing risk of being judged for said mess).
So, I needed shelves! I had been filling my pin board with lots of pipe shelving ideas, but none seemed right for my space. I love the floor to ceiling ones, but too expensive. I loved the wall to floor ones, and ceiling to wall ones.
…but I wanted a dresser to be placed below them.
Then, my sister emailed me a set of pipe shelving that looked like this, and I knew it was just right for my space, needs and money:
So, I went to Lowe’s and Home Depot, and between the two stores, bought piping and whiteboard wood and made a “how to” myself. I had to wait until my pattern was finished to “find the floor” again in my sewing room, and have the time to hang my shelves…., but I LOVE THEM! I’m so glad I did it, and enjoy looking at them (and storing stuff on them!!).
So, here’s what my drafted plans & shopping list looked like:
I had about 3, 6′ boards already purchased, and cut to length (at the hardware store).
I only had to cut one end off with a circular saw to make them all even lengths.
Then, I got very dirty while starting to install my shelves…
I felt like a mechanic, and if you use black iron, you should either wear rubber gloves OR wash the pipes first (with what I don’t know, because I choose to get dirty).
 You need to build your shelves from the bottom up because of the screw threads. Because the pipes all assembled are very heavy, you will need to make sure both sides are screwed into wall studs. This is very important!
I started by finding the studs in the wall (typically 16″ apart, on center). I used a TON of wall anchors, and screwed one floor flange into the wall (lower left side, base of shelving). Then I screwed in one 8″ pipe. Make it tight!
I measured up from the floor to make sure I placed each lower pipe at the same height, and remeasured and rechecked, and screwed the right side floor flange and 8″ pipe into place. I placed one 6′ board on top of the pipe, and, it was amazingly level!! Wow!!! Level = proceed on!!
I then screwed in two, 90 degree pipe elbows onto the end of the lower pipes, so that they faced up. I then used a pencil and drew where the holes should go (for the pipe to fit through). I used a spade bit in my drill. My husband reminded me that a firm grip, but not too much pressure
is the key to a nice, clean hole.
After I cut the two holes, I placed the board back on the 8″ pipes, and inserted the 16 gauge pipes, one on each side, through the holes and into the elbows. Black iron only came in lengths up to 12″ long, so I had to spray paint two galvanized 16″ pipes black with spray paint (I didn’t use the other two pictured here):
(Those are orange caps on the pipe ends). This worked okay, but next time, I think I would recommend just sticking with the 12″ pipes and carry the same look of the black iron pipes throughout.
I kept going, building the shelf from the bottom up, and repeating the process. Just follow the drawn diagram I made above. It can get tight on the sides, when building the second level up. Here, I had to mark where the floor flange would go up against the wall, remove it again, and spin the 8″ pipe off to the side to drill the holes. Then, screw the floor flange back onto the end of the 8″ pipe, add wall anchors, and screw the floor flange into the stud in the wall.

And when I placed the 3rd shelf on top, I screwed in a short, 3″ pipe, and then added a cap (on each side). I like this look better than the very top pipe being fed back into the wall. Or, you could carry the top pipe all the way up to the ceiling, and anchor it to the ceiling with another floor flange. I thought of doing this, but my ceiling in there is angled, so I didn’t want to fight to make it work.

The boards are just plain. I didn’t sand them or stain them or anything. I probably should have, and I recommend you doing so, but I really just wanted them up! So, I cut a few corners to get them completed. And I’m in love. They make my room so functional now, way less messy (most of the time), and were a pretty easy diy project (Maybe $50-60 for everything). My husband even gave his compliments when I got done, as the finished vertical alignment was only off on one side by about 1/4″. I told him I didn’t care. He is pretty proud (and relieved a bit I think) that I can now, after his instruction and training, do some things myself like this around the house. Several years ago, I would never have thought to try something like this on my own, but now I’m amazed at things I even want to attempt (maybe because I know my husband will always be there to bail me out if something goes wrong). I guess it’s more about just starting with “one new thing,” and then that one new thing leads to one more. Just start, You’ll be surprised how fast you learn!
Happy pipe shelf making!!!
Are you ready to make some yourself now?!!! It’s fun!!


Joy2Sew is a sewing business specializing in bridal alterations, custom costume creations, sewing lessons, and pdf patterns for children's costumes.

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