How to Build DIY Industrial Gas Pipe Bookshelves

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    How to style bookshelves

    I had needed a place to display our cameras and books (which had, until recently, been living on the floor) since we’d moved in. Unfortunately, almost all of our walls are very old brick, which is a problem because half of the time we drill a hole for an anchor, the brick crumbles into dust. So we’ve figured out ways to bypass the walls altogether by running pipe and flange from floor to ceiling instead.

    I’ll be including the materials I used to build my bookshelves – make sure you are certain that this will fit in your home, or adjust the measurements for the size you need.

    Supplies for Floor to Ceiling Industrial Gas Pipe Bookshelves:

    • Wood for shelves
    • 1″ diameter black iron gas pipe, cut to size (see below for measurements)
    • Degreaser or acetone
    • 4 x 1″ diameter gas pipe floor flange
    • 4 x 1″ diameter split ring hangers for each shelf
    • Screws
    • Screwdriver and/or drill

    If you want to mount the top of your bookshelf to your wall instead of your ceiling…

    You’ll need the following supplies in addition to the supplies above:

    • 2 x 1″ diameter elbow connectors
    • 2 x 1″ diameter black iron gas pipe (cut to the distance between your wall and the center of your bookshelves)

    When we moved into our new home, our ceilings were taller than the ceilings in our previous house (where I originally built these shelves). In order to use the same gas pipe frame (we replaced the original boards with nicer live edge boards), we added an elbow connector and drilled the top of the shelves into the wall, instead of the ceiling. You can use whatever mounting method you prefer!

    Below is an image showing how we used elbow connectors at the top of the pipes, then connected horizontal “spacer” pipes into the wall (instead of the ceiling).

    How to Build Industrial Gas Pipe Bookshelves

    Learn how to build your own floor-to-ceiling industrial bookshelves using gas pipe and flange!

    1. Measure the the distance between your floor and where you want to mount the top of the shelves

      If you’ll be building your shelves from floor to ceiling, that length will be your floor-to-ceiling measurement minus 1/2″.

      If you’ll be attaching the top of your shelves to the wall, that length will be however tall you’d like your shelf to be.

    2. Cut & thread your gas pipe

      This is something the hardware store can usually do for you – just buy the length of pipe closest to your size and have them trim and thread it for you.

    3. Clean and degrease the pipe with dishsoap or acetone

      You’ll want to remove all of the stickers and measurement labels, and remove any grease on your pipes before you start installing.

    4. Measure and cut the boards to your desired length and width

      You should also perform any finishing steps (like sanding, staining, and/or sealing) to your shelf boards at this time.

    5. Drill 2 x 1″ diameter holes in each board

      Space the holes for your pipes wherever fits best, but make sure that you drill them in the same location on all of your boards.

    6. Feed the pipes through the holes in the boards

      You’ll need to get the boards in place before you attach the floor flanges (and elbow connectors if you’re using those). Keep the boards along the bottom of the shelf – you’ll space them out into place once the pipes are mounted.

    7. Screw the floor flange onto the ends of the pipes

      Tighten the floor flange onto the bottom of your pipes – if you’re mounting your shelf from floor to ceiling this should be as tight as possible (you’ll need to “untighten” later to get a snug fit between the floor and ceiling).

    8. Screw the floor flange into the floor and ceiling or wall to secure your bookshelves

      (If you’re mounting from floor-to-ceiling) unscrew the floor flanges enough to get a tight fit between your floor and ceiling and screw them in place.

      You’ll probably need to use a Magic Eraser or touch up your ceiling paint if you make any marks on the ceiling (whoops)!

      (If you’re mounting to the wall) attach your elbow connectors to the horizontal spacer pipes, then attach those to the wall with floor flange first, then screw the flanges into the floor once your shelves are level.

    9. Pull each shelf into its desired height and secure with a split ring hanger on the bottom and top of each hole

      Make sure you tighten the split ring hangers as much as possible to prevent your shelves from wobbling.

    10. Decorate your shelves

      Now that you’re finished, it’s time to style your bookshelves!