DIY Faux Industrial Shelves

Welcome and thanks for stopping by!

So, we had this little problem.

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When we first moved in, we weren’t sure what to do with the furniture and TV layout in the main room.  It’s a great room,  but the wall in the middle of the room left us a little stumped.

DIY Faux Industrial Shelves - Uncookiecutter.com

We decided to mount the TV over the fireplace because that was the only way we could make the room work with the furniture.  I really love sitting on the couch in the morning and watching the sun come up over backyard while everyone else is still asleep.  We are lucky enough to have another fireplace, so we don’t need to use this one.

Once we decided that we were going to mount the TV, we ran into a number of issues, the first being taking the mantle out.  It was too high to put the TV above it, so it had to come out, which required a lot of tugging to rip it out of the stud.  Very thankful I had some help.

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That left us with a big huge hole in the wall.  So after mounting the TV, we had this…

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Cords everywhere, no place to put the DVD player, etc.  So, I needed a solution and had been obsessed with this project that was featured on Remodelaholic for a while.  Check out how Corey from Sawdust2Stitches built them here.

Via Corey @ Sawdust2Stitches
Source – http://www.remodelaholic.com/2014/04/build-industrial-shelf-pvc-pipe/


(Actually, I’m kind of obsessed with Corey over at Sawdust2Stiches, she’s amazing!  Go check her out.)

Anyway, I just decided to copy her idea.  I needed to build a frame to cover the holes  and wanted to use the piping to hide the cords.  And I could place the extra electronics on the shelves.  So, I did all that and came up with this.

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It turned out really well.  My photography skills are poor, (I’m still learning), but I’m pretty happy how it looks in the room. I want to get rid of the yellow and maybe extend the shelves over…it goes on and on!

Anyway, back to the shelves.

It turned out to be a little harder than I thought to get started, but once I got the hang of what I was doing it became easier.  I had honestly never worked with PVC pipe before, but I kind of love it now.  It’s so cheap!  About $2.50 or so for a 10 foot piece.  If you try this and do want to hide  the cords, you’ll need at least a 1″ pipe.  I used 1/2″ pipe for almost all of this project,  but the 1″ pipe for hiding the cords.  Four cords barely fit through.  You have to remember that end of the cord needs to fit through the pipe as well.  The more cords you have stuffed in and the more bends you have to go around, the harder it is to finagle.

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So, then I had to plan.  I tried to start building without a plan and it didn’t go well.  You need the connector pieces to hold the shelves up.  You can buy a big bag of connectors  for $3 or $4.  I bought a bag of what I call “t’s”, “sleeves” and “elbow’s”.  I have no idea what they are really called, but you can find them right there with the PVC pipe at any hardware store. I also bought a couple bags of “end caps”.

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Then I drew what I wanted, using different colors for different pieces.

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I ended up adding on, but it was very helpful to plan out a little.  Hiding the cords was the main issue.


After this, I cut some boards and tried to start building.  I quickly noticed I would need boards along the bottom to hold the pipes in place.  So, I had to cut  a couple more boards.  For the holes, I used drill bits a little bigger than the pipe.  After you stain, and spray paint and put poly on, you are going to need a little extra room.  But don’t make the holes so big that they slip over the connector pieces, because that is what is going to hold the shelves.  I recommend practicing on some scrap first.

After that is when it started to come together a little better.

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I did have a super cute little helper.

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Then, after more cutting, measuring, re-cutting, etc I had come up with this.

DIY Faux Industrial Shelves - Uncookiecutter.com

Now, all I had to do was stain, paint and somehow attach it without drilling anymore holes into my brick.

Ahh, the stain.  Why can’t I be more patient?  After a few layers of different colors, I came up with this.

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Which wasn’t quite right.  So I called in for help.  My friend Kim over at Knock it Off Crafts helped me out.  Go check her out!  She’s super cool too.  She told me to distress it.  Hammer, nails, screwdrivers, drill bits – use them to add some character!

DIY Faux Industrial Shelves - Uncookiecutter.com

Looking better…

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After a little more playing, and about 3 more coats of stain,  I was happy.

DIY Faux Industrial Shelves - Uncookiecutter.com

The great thing about making your own shelves is you can add whatever fun little touches you want ;).

DIY Faux Industrial Shelves - Uncookiecutter.com

For the pipes, I spray painted them just like Corey suggested by priming with a black spray paint, then about 3 coats of Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic spray paint.  After installing everything, I had to touch up a couple of places with a black sharpie, but overall it did pretty well.

Oh, and had to build a frame, which was the most frustrating part of the whole process.

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I was able to insert some 2 x 4 pieces into the hole so that I could just attach the frame to those instead of drilling into brick again, but man was it frustrating.  I don’t know how many times the TV came down and went back up.    Once I built the frame, I attached some molding and spray painted the whole thing white.  Then I wiped on some grey stain and decided I was done with that!

After all that, I put it all together and then used pocket holes and screws and mounted the very top piece into the molding from the top so it would be hidden.  Finally!  Done!  Whew.  Now I want to build some more, over to the right maybe?  We will see what happens next week.

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How cute is that family photo that my friend Matt did for us?  Go get yourself one at Matt Blanks Art.

Here it is all set up in the room.  I’m painting the walls grey very soon.

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Project breakdown:

For this particular set of shelves, here is what it took to build.  It looks like a lot, but the PVC pipes and connectors are super cheap and the boards were not expensive at all.  This is a great project for scrap wood if you have any laying around.  My favorite thing about these is that you can totally customize them any way you want – any size, any number of shelves, to hide any cords, etc.

  • 2 – 10 foot long, 1/2″ thick PVC pipes.
  • 17 – 1/2″ pipe connectors “T” shaped
  • 17 – 1/2 ” pipe “end caps” connectors
  • 1 – 1/2″ pipe “elbow” connector
  • 3 – 1/2″ pipe “sleeve” connectors
  • 1 – 10 foot long  1″ pipe (for the cords)
  • 2 – 1″ pipe “T” connectors
  • 2 – 1″ pipe “sleeve” connectors
  • 1 – 1″ pipe “elbow” connector
  • 1 – can of spray paint primer
  • 3 – cans of Rustoleum metallic spray paint oil rub bronzed
  • 2 – 1×10 boards
  • 1 – 1×4 ( for the top pieces)
  • various stains
  • decorative items
  • 2 -10 foot long 4″ wide molding (for frame)
  • 2 – 1×6 boards (for frame)
  • white spray paint (for frame)
  • grey stain (for frame)

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Thanks for stopping by!


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  1. I love this! I’m looking into an apartment when I move, it’s got huge brick walls with votive ceilings & big windows. The apartments were made from an old mill. This would be perfect!

    1. That sounds awesome! I didn’t have to drill into the brick at all. It can’t hold a ton, and I did have to attach the top to the molding, but overall very easy and versatile. Good luck, come back and share a pic if you decide to do it, I’d love to see it!

  2. I hadn’t seen it in place in the room.. it looks fantastic! Great job, definitely worth the work, and I just love, love, LOVE your personalization! (M + A=heart.. the BEST!)

  3. This looks amazing! You did a great job. I really don’t have the skills to do this but would love to try sometime. I think the walls will look great in grey. I am obsessed with grey lately for home decor.

    1. Thank you! That is nice to hear, I feel like it’s overwhelming how much there is to do. Slowly but surely, right? Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Thank you! I don’t know how to work with iron, but I wish I did. Probably couldn’t afford it anyway, so this was a fun little hack!

  4. I know you’ve heard this one thousand times… but I must say it again! This is wonderful! The thing is, I would have NEVER thought to do something like this. Great post.

  5. I love the industrial feel. You’re so talented. I don’t think I could pull somehting like this off. Kudos to you, it turned out wonderful!

  6. I love how this turned out! The stain you used for the wood is beautiful. I have made a few pieces of furniture using galvanized pipes. But never the white ones. I believe they are cheaper, I was just never sure how they would look painted. This shows me they look beautiful painted!

    1. Thanks Emily! What do you use to cut galvanized pipes? I’m afraid none of my saws would cut it, but need to look into it more. And the PVC pipe is $2.50 for a 10′ long piece, so even with the paint it’s super cheap. Thanks for coming by!

  7. My sister in law has the same looking fireplace and the same issue! She will absolutely love this! Thanks for the details! Looks great.

  8. What a great idea to hide all those cords in the PVC pipe. I also love the idea of painting them black. Your final project looks great!

  9. April, that looks amazing! I’m going to fly you up to our house so you can help me build that for two rooms! 🙂 Nice work!!!!

  10. Wow! What an amazing way to hide all those cords! I really love the way it turned out. I would never have known you used PVC piping . Thank you for sharing. The television and shelving looks great!!!

  11. Just came across your site, love this solution. Question, how’s the stability of the unit? Since its PVC was wondering if it is slightly wobbly.

    1. Hi Tammara! Thanks so much for stopping by. That’s a great question – I actually put some pocket holes in the top piece and used pocket hole screws to anchor that one to the molding and so far it’s been working just fine. But, if I were going to put more stuff on there, I would probably do a couple more anchors. If I have any problems, I might add a bracket to attach the back of the frame to the shelf that sits underneath it. You could attach any shelf to the wall and “fake it” and still get the look with a little more stability. Thanks again for looking around and asking!

  12. Love this idea! Planning to do this in both my living room and playroom (they’re connected). How did you/would you secure it to the wall so a toddler couldn’t pull it down onto himself? I was thinking metal tie backs but that might take away from the look. Any advice?

    1. Hi Pam! I drilled pocket holes into the shelves themselves and then into a stud or drywall anchor. The pipes are a little wobbly on their own, but if you secure the shelf to the wall, it works great. I drilled the top shelf into the piece of molding at the top (from the top so you can’t see it). I also attached an “L” bracket from the back of the TV frame to the underside of the shelf right under it. Let me know if this doesn’t make sense and I’d love to see a pic when you are done! Thanks for stopping by!

  13. I came here via Instagram where you shared this project for the #diyohmy challenge. This looks great. I’m really thinking this is what I need to do instead of using real pipe and all. Thank you for sharing! I’m going to pin to have handy for when I make my decisions. 😉

    1. Thank you Leslie! I was just going to respond on Instagram. It’s not as sturdy as real pipe, but I anchored the shelves and they are holding up very nicely. Good luck! Thanks for coming by :).

  14. Hi, This is really great. I also want to do the same and in a similar situation like yours except that I have mantel across the whole wall. I am scared of removing it safely without too much destruction. Where did you started to remove it?

    1. Hi Uzma! I was actually worried about removing that mantle as well. I had some contractors working on the outside of the house, so I asked their opinion on what they thought. We actually ripped it out, it was nailed into studs somehow. I put supports in the hole once we removed it, just to be safe. Hope your project goes well and I’d love to see a pic when you are done!

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