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


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These shelves were originally made from reclaimed pallet wood and metal.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


shannon photo and sig oct 2022

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I like yours even better than the RH ones actually–that ladder is just an invitation for trouble in a house with littles! And it kinda blocks things off… Great tutorial!

    1. I would love the ladder just for looks…but it would be oh so tempting for the kids and would totally block off the books, etc!

  2. Wow, beautiful work & what a great knockoff! I like your hardware detail better than the original RH version!

    1. Lol. Thanks Erin! And yes…be sure to find the most economical supplier near you for bolts if you decide to build the shelves!

  3. Came over to have a peek @ your lovely little blog from Hodge Podge…what a great inspiration you are — I’ll be back for sure!

  4. Now THAT is a project I could do couples DIY on (smile). Or…I could learn to use some power tools…just saying.

    Awesomeness all around.

    1. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t use power tools…too scary! But perhaps that’s cuz I’m a little clumsy! Ha! Love my Dean for his skills in that department!

  5. Very Happy to find your link & browse your web pages filled with ideas on this cold damp rainy January day ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. saw you featured at HOH
    wow! super shelves! My daughter was asking me the other day if I could do this, and I told her I didn’t think so without welding. yippee!
    I’ve sent her the link to your post.

    1. I didn’t even know we were on HOH! These shelves aren’t the sunless DIY but there is definitely no welding!!! Good luck! Let us know how yours turn out.

  7. I’ll say not bad. I’ll even say not too shabby. I’ll go so far as to say…umm..that’s freakin’ crazy-awesome…

  8. What do I think? I think you are brilliant for coming up with such a great DIY knock off. I love it!

  9. WOW WOW WOWW!!! I am in LOVE with these shelves! I had been planning and scheming about how to make some that I saw on but they were built using plumbing flanges and were gonna be super expensive to make! I love your version even better and they look sturdier and less tippy! Is that 150 dollar price for BOTH shelves or just one? I have an amazing source for salvage metal parts…I might try and find some of the stuff I need there first before heading to the store!! Totally making these SOON! ๐Ÿ™‚ GREAT JOB!

    1. Ooh salvaged metal parts…I like the sound of that! It would be $150 for one…not everyone needs two, so we just compared pricing for one. Sorry about the delay in my reply…your comment sort of got buried! Let us know how your shelves turn out!!!

  10. Just came over from Knock Off Decor and I am SO happy I found your blog! This tutorial is fantastic and I can’t wait for my hubby and I to tackle it ourselves. I just started following your blog so I can’t wait to see more posts from you!

  11. Beautiful job! I am going to show these plans to my son..he’s a welder, metalworker, and all-around great help to me. I have some salvaged pieces of corner metal, very strong, that I could adapt using your thanks! You’ve inspired me! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. wow this is amazing, no, amazing doesnt even cut it! this is pure genius. thank you so much for sharing this with us =)
    I was wondering how long did you leave the wood stain on?

  13. Hi .. Can you please tell me the colour shade of the blue wall cabinet.
    Looks awesome ..Thanks ..Great site

    1. Hi Mitch. The tv cupboard/armoire is painted a nice robinโ€™s egg blue – Behr paint colour matched to Beauti-Tone Quayside 601-4.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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?

    1. Hi Jamie, as mentioned somewhere in the post (understandable that you missed it – we didn’t highlight the fact enough!), you can get angle iron from places like Metal Supermarkets. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. 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 friendโ€™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.

  19. 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!.

    1. Thank you, Louise! We have found these shelves to be very handy and have used them in two living rooms, our kitchen and now the dining room!

  20. Hi! Was wondering if you had the gussets custom made or if you got them somewhere readymad? Also what are the final total dimensions of the piece? This is so cool and I can’t wait to make one for our kitchen! Thanks for sharing!