industrial shelves

How to Build Industrial Shelves

I recently participated in the $100 Room Challenge and I created an Industrial coffee bar in my breakfast nook.  Rustic and Industrial looks are very hot right now in home decor.  I searched high and low for a set of shelves and couldn’t find anything.  I needed something that wasn’t very deep due to spacial concerns, I didn’t want any shelves that would crown the kitchen table.  So I decided to build my own.  Here are the directions on how to build industrial shelves.

How to Build Industrial Shelves

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1X12 foot board in 12 foot length that I had cut at the store down to 3 four foot boards.  (You can have them cut to your specifications.  I wanted my coffee bar to be four foot wide.)

Stain – I used Special Walnut by Minwax

Polyurethane – I used this one by Minwax

8 Twelve inch pipes (called pipe nipples….why I have NO idea) – If you want your shelves to be taller you can get 18 inch or shorter you can get 8 or ten inch…..its customizeable!!!!  (is that a word…I don’t know but you get the gist right 😊)

16 flanges – I found the cost of these at Home Depot and Lowes, even Menards to be a bit high.  I mean, when you buy one $4.50 isn’t a big cost but when you need 16 at $4.50 that kind of blows your $100 budget.  So I found mine at for waaaaaaaay cheaper!

Casters for the bottom.  This is totally optional.  You could leave the board on the floor, you could add feet, it’s all up to you!  I like the look of casters though, it’s more industrial in my opinion.

Wood screws




Step 1

Take your boards and give them a good sanding.  I started with 80 grit, then 120 and finished with 220 for the smoothest surface.  You have to sand both sides of your board.

How to Build Industrial Shelves

Then you need to lay them out, either on saw horses or on the ground, I laid them out on my garage floor with a blanket and garbage bags under to catch any drips.  You need to stain both sides of your boards.  follow the directions on the stain, you can do multiple coats if you want for a darker color.

How to build Industrial Shelves

Once the stain is done and you let it dry for 24 hours and time to poly!  Follow the directions on the can.  You need to do a light sanding in between coats.  I did 3 coats of poly and I kind of wish I had done 5…just because it’s used as a coffee bar so there will be water getting on the top shelf.  If you aren’t using it for a coffee bar then you don’t need to do 5.  Three will be plenty.  I would let them dry at least 24 hours before moving on.


Related posts:

$100 Room Challenge

How to Make a Wood Stump Side Table

How to Stain Concrete Floors



Step 2

Poly the pipes….I know you are like whaaat?  The pipes will rust if you don’t treat them with a clear coat.  I used the same poly that I used on the boards.  Just make sure you don’t get it on the threaded part of the pipes.  Let dry at least 24 hours.


How to build industrial shelves

Step 3

ASSEMBLY!!!  This is totally the fun part!  So get yourself some good wood screws, I went to the woodworking store near my house.  Make sure the screws are long enough to go into the wood but not so long they will go completely through.

Screw a flange into the corner of one board, then another corner until all 4 corners have a flange screwed in.  Attach the pipes and attach the other flange to the pipe.  Now you are going to turn it over, put the flanges on top of another board and screw it in.  Then repeat this with the last board, attaching the flanges, then pipes and flip it over on top of the set of 2 shelves you already have together and attach.

How to build industrial Shelves

How to build industrial shelves

Industrial Shelves


Casters…I highly suggest you get casters like this one.  They screw straight into the bottom with 4 screws and your rolling, literally!  Unfortunately I had some unused casters that I needed to use and they weren’t nearly as easy to attach.  First I had to add another board to the bottom to make the wood thicker.  the reason I had to do that was the threaded section on the caster was longer than the one inch board, it was about 1 1/2 inches.  I added a piece of wood to the bottom on each end, screwed a hole in the bottom the length of the threaded section.  I (or rather my husband) hammered in a tee nut which allowed me to thread the caster through securely.  Yeah, way too much work!  Just get the ones that you screw into the bottom and you are done.

Industrial shelves

Industrial Shelves

Industrial Shelves

How to build Industrial Shelves

How to Build Industrial Shelves

How to build industrial shelves

how to build industrial shelves

how to build industrial shelves


These shelves are super easy to do, they are a little time consuming when you are staining or applying polyurethane, but super easy to do.  I plan on making another set for my kids family room only no wheels on the bottom.  They are teenagers and I can’t imagine what they would do with shelves on wheels!  😂😂😂  If you create some I would love to see pictures!  You can check out mine on Instagram or Facebook and also on Pinterest.



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