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DIY Industrial Wood and Metal Shelves

Build our industrial shelves side

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

AKA DESIGN LIVING ROOM INDUSTRIAL SHELVES

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These shelves were originally made from reclaimed pallet wood and metal.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!

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

xo,
Shannon

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home made lovely book on table with get it now text button

I'd love to chat with you in the comments!

Comments

  1. stone says

    These are amazing. Thanks for posting such an incredible idea. They inspired me to put together my own version. I had a quick question on the diagram though. For the uprights, there should be two types of upright drilling correct. In the picture it indicates two ways of drilling, but the way the right and left are labeled it seems read like they should all be drilled the same. As I started sketching my own I got confused at that juncture.

  2. David says

    Metalsupermarkets? You just blew my mind!
    I never thought a DIY project could look as great as a restoration hardware piece!

    I JUST finished making a bookshelf out of reclaimed palettes and a couple copper pipes for crossbars…and I find this…where where you guys earlier in my life? lol

  3. Jamie says

    I was just wondering what the total measurement’s are when it’s all finished? It so beautiful. I love metal furniture & I am a DIY addict. I have never worked with metal & I though I would have to learn to weld if I wanted to build my own metal furniture then I came upon this & whoa! My mind is blown. I absolutely love this shelving unit. Now that I know there’s metal strips & other usable metal out there, I’m going to alter your plans & build a shelving unit for my super tiny bathroom. I am so grateful you made this post because I was about to make one out of plumbing pipes but that’s not the specific look I was looking for, so thank you for sharing this with us. Hopefully I can find a store that sells these items. Lowes is really the only home improvement store around here & they don’t sell anything buy plumbing pipes. Do you know of any online stores you can buy these items? Amazon has a few of these items listed above.
    Thank you again

  4. Jamie says

    I was just wondering where you buy the metal to make this unit? I am in love with these types of shelving, basically anything metal/industrial. But the price that goes along with it, not so much. I build furniture but I can NOT seem to find any metal to build with other than plumbing pipes. I’ve checked Lowes, Home Depot & some local construction supply stores but haven’t had any luck. Any tips?

  5. Jaclyn A. Buchanan says

    I really appreciate the shelves you have made. Your work is impeccable and inexpensive . We all love new interiors, but designing DIY concepts are not very easy to implement for regular people like us. I had a chance to visit one of my friend’s home recently. The whole idea of residential design is eye catching with a realistic budget. Now its a big question for me. A renovated and contemporary model home is my new dream to accomplish.

  6. Louise says

    well done! great project!
    It is something I think I can do. I need two shelves in my new family room and this would look amazing in there! I was searching Kijij for old shelves to fix up so this is going to work out probably much better! Great!!!!!!!! Love your site!.

Student love

I found my style and was able to bring our small space together by creating a cozy and inviting home...

Danae C.

I loved the lesson on color theory, and also THAT YOU TOLD US EXACTLY WHAT ORDER TO DECORATE IN!

Erica L.

My ah-ha moment was when I realized how much time and money we have spent in the past couple of...

Cheryl P.

I love your easy process to determine my style. I've also learned that my style has changed over the years and seasons...

Sheryl R.

Your explanation of paint colors was the light bulb moment for me! Your explanation would have saved us from painting...

Pat Jensen