Build our industrial shelves side

Finally decorate your own home – with confidence!

You’re so much closer to a beautifully-decorated home than you think. You just need a little help to get there!

These industrial shelves – originally inspired by the general look of Restoration Hardware’s shelving – have been one of our most requested tutorials!

And they’ve been well-used in each of our last three houses!

industrial shelves from dining room

industrial shelves

Industrial Shelves Crates Printers Office


rustic living room trellis rug industrial shelves

vintage industrial shelves styled for Christmas

I have to say writing this particular DIY was a little tricky though.

Normally our project process works like this: I come up with an idea, draw a rough sketch or show Dean some concept pics; Dean draws a plan and gets to work building; I finish up with paint and styling; and then I write the DIY. The glitch with this project was that Dean built the shelves mostly at work because of the winter weather. So I didn’t see how he did it. Which means I didn’t know how to write the tutorial. Anyway, we finally sat down together long enough to come up with some instructions for you. Yay!

These shelves were originally made from reclaimed pallet wood and metal. We later switched to thinner new pine when we used the shelves in our kitchen.

The metal can be sourced and likely cut for you at Metal Supermarkets or similar stores.

Industrial Metal and Wood Shelves

What you’ll need for one shelf (double everything if you’re making two, like we did):

  • angle iron 1.5″ x 1.5″ x 1/8″ thick
    • 4 pieces 68″ long (uprights)
    • 2 pieces 29.5″ long (top front and back)
    • 4 pieces 13.25″ long (top and bottom sides)
  • flat bar 4″ x 1/8″ thick
    • 2 pieces 30″ long (bottom front and back)
  • all thread rod 3/8″-16
    • 10 pieces 14.5″ long (shelf supports)
  • hex bolts 3/8″-16 x 3/4″ long
    • 24 pieces
  • stainless steel acorn nuts (cap nuts) 3/8″-16
    • 44 pieces
  • plated hex nuts 3/8″-16
    • 20 pieces
  • cold rolled steel 1/8″ x 6″ x 6″
    • 4 pieces sheared/mitred to fit (gussets)
  • pine board 1″ x 13″ x 29.5″ (top most shelf)
  • reclaimed pallet wood, thickness depends on pallet (shelves)
    • each shelf totals 13″ x 29.5″ (*we used three pieces of wood for each shelf totalling a depth of 13″)
  • WD-40 or similar degreaser
  • rags
  • oil rubbed bronze spray paint
    • 2-3 cans
  • Minwax dark walnut stain
  • lint-free rag
  • drill
  • drill bit 3/8″

For clarification on some steps, please refer to detail photos and drawing. If you click on the drawing (isn’t Dean AWESOME?!), it will open larger in a new window. Right-click to save so you can refer back to it later.

Step 1.
Measure and drill holes in metal.

Step 2.
Sand all burrs and sharp edges.

Step 3.
Clean parts. Spray with WD-40 or similar degreaser and wipe clean.

Step 4.
Paint all metal parts, including all thread rod. Do NOT paint nuts and bolts. As with all spray painting, paint a thin coat using a back and forth sweeping motion of your hand. Repeat until desired coverage is achieved. Let dry.

Step 5.
Meanwhile cut and sand wood shelving pieces. And stain with dark walnut stain and a lint free rag.

Step 6.
Assemble front and back portion of shelves separately first. Then join together with top and bottom side pieces. Note placement of top angle iron pieces – it is different than the bottom pieces.

Step 7.
Thread hex nuts onto each end of each piece of all thread rod, 2 inches from the ends.

Step 8.
Attach all thread rod between front and back uprights using acorn nuts. Tighten acorn nuts until they touch the angle iron. Then tighten the hex nuts to the angle on the inside.

Step 9.
Put wood shelves in place by setting on all thread rods.

Step 10.
Style and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!

More DIY Project Ideas

Not bad, eh?! What do you think? Fancy making a set of your own industrial shelves?

shannon photo and sig oct 2022