We Built Some Shelves

Almost a year ago, we built some shelves. We have this awkward space where bar stools should go, but can’t because of the carpet, so we decided hey, shelves!


If you need proof of how much I’ve procrastinated on posting this, those are Christmas decorations on the counter.

We spent a long time searching for wrought iron shelves, but eventually we decided to make our own pipe shelves, using this tutorial and this blog post to guide us.


We were able to order the flanges (the round “feet” parts) online for around $2 each, as opposed to the $7+ they would have cost at Home Depot. The tutorial recommended spray-painting the pipe black, but we were happy with the black finish already on the pipe, so we left them as-is. We chose hefty pine boards and had them cut to size at Home Depot. Finally, we picked a dark stain rather than trying to match to our cabinets.

Then came the fun part:


We tried a few different methods of distressing the wood: sawing, scraping, hammering, and stabbing with a screwdriver, but ultimately we had the most success with…a rock. It was nice and big, plus it was curved on one side, so it fit nicely in our hands – but the other side was jagged, perfect for roughing up the board. The larger rounded side helped wear down the clean edges of the boards.

The other technique we had good luck with was scattering handfuls of large gravel on the board, then stepping on it to mash the gravel around.

Both were extremely therapeutic, even for me and my stupid tendonitis hands, and I highly recommend both.

Once the boards were properly gnarly, it was time to stain:



And when that was dry, Kevin aligned the pipe legs. This actually turned out to be the trickiest part because the screw threads had to be lined up verrrry carefully to keep everything level.


Some versions drill all the way through the board and run the pipe straight through inch-plus holes – this would definitely make the shelves sturdier, but we don’t have a drill capable of that kind of work, and a little free-standing project like this wouldn’t need it anyway.


Final product:


20141006_084127Total cost for boards, stain, pipe, and fittings: around $80. Level of satisfaction derived from distressing wood + not buying expensive furniture: VERY HIGH.


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