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Edison Bulb Chandelier: A DIY Overview

A flattened edison bulb makes a unique touch to a light fixture

Our DIY Edison bulb chandelier occasions the most comments both on and off the website. It is the second highest source of interest in our home besides the gardens. Adam designed and created this industrial light fixture with 15 Edison light bulbs shortly after we moved into the house at Burk. The original light was pretty, but small and certainly not anything to get excited over. It did feature a single Edison light bulb that kind of kick started our creativity. That bulb was what lead to our industrial and pipe theme throughout the house. Unlike many of our tutorials we do not have the step by step photos of how to build an Edison bulb chandelier, however, we can give you a rundown, tutorial links, and supplies so that you can likely make an Edison light fixture of your own.

Designing an Edison Bulb Chandelier

As I mentioned above our main fascination started with Edison light bulbs and we have been meaning to blog about this Edison Bulb Chandelier forever.  Now that we are working on the new house we thought it would be good idea to catch up on some of the old projects that never made it to the blog.

A flattened edison bulb makes a unique touch to a light fixture

Do you know how many different types of Edison bulbs there are? We didn’t either, but in researching the project we founds tons of different shapes, styles, and prices. OUCH! Edison light bulbs are not exactly cheap… Below I am going to link to some options using my affiliate links. These links make it easy to purchase everything you need but I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you are patient and willing to go the Ebay route you can cut the costs of building and Edison bulb chandelier in half, easily! We sourced all of our material by bidding on lots of Edison bulbs, brass sockets, and cloth covered wire that mostly shipped from China. That means we have a ton of extra bulbs (saving those for when others burn out) and had to wait a couple weeks for items to arrive. If you can’t wait then go the Amazon route. You will pay a bit more but the items arrive much sooner.

In designing ours we knew we wanted to match the bronze fixtures, industrial design, and incorporate modern with traditional. Wait… did I say bronze? Oh yes, I faux finished every socket. The cost savings of buying brass over bronze was enormous! We brought the traditional/vintage feel in with the cloth covered wire and worked gave it a modern feel with the salvaged wood box top. Adam did a lot of research and consultation about power to make sure that we could make a fixture that could safely handle 15 bulbs. We also decided it would be cool to have them where each individual light can turn off and on. It allows us to mix up which bulbs are showcased and when we need a really bright source of light we can turn them all on.

DIY Industrial light fixture tutorial

Edison Bulb Chandelier Supplies

Basics of Edison Light Fixture Assembly

Step 1: Assemble Your Supplies and Make Your Boxes

As mentioned above we spent a good deal of time getting our supplies hunted down through Ebay. Once they arrived we did the following:

  1. Created a Box: You can use this headboard tutorial to get an idea of how to stain the salvaged wood. Attach the wooden slats to a basic frame like we made in with our potato boxes
  2. Faux Paint Sockets: If you aren’t happy with the original color you can faux finish them to a cast iron or bronze color
  3. Decide on Lengths of Cloth Covered Wire: We chose varied height so we needed to cut a variety of wire lengths
  4. Decide on Light Placement: Since we went with varied height of wire we decided to keep the placement in three simple rows. We drilled holes that were sized to just allow the cloth wire through without have a huge gap that needed covering.

How to make an edison bulb chandelier

Step 2: Start Wiring

Working with wires is not my thing… I know the basics but usually Adam handles this step. We did not have pictures and suggest googling wiring tutorials. Please be extra careful when wiring anything!  The basics go:

  1. You will need to attach the wire to each socket.
  2. Then each socket will need to be wired into the boxes.
  3. Boxes will need to be chained together

Step 3: Hanging the Fixture

We attached two heavy duty hooks to ceiling joists. The wood on this fixture makes it heavy! We used two loops of chain on either end. They are attached on the interior near each corner with smaller hooks and the loop of chain is simply hung over the hook. We used the loops, chain, and hooks for two reasons. First, so because they are heavy duty enough to hold the fixture. Secondly, the chain allowed us to hang the fixture lower than intended at first. This is important as you will need to hang the fixture and then wire it into your home’s power. PLEASE REMEMBER TO TURN OFF THE POWER BEFORE WIRING. I highly suggest turning off the main breaker while doing any wiring. It is just not as safe to turn off the breaker in the room you are in. It is waaay to easy to mistakenly turn off the wrong breaker and go to wire live wires.

Anyway, back to why we chose chain for mounting: It was way too heavy for someone to hold the entire Edison bulb chandelier while someone else wired it in. Plus you needed the space from the ceiling to the top of the industrial light fixture to actually do the wiring. Once it was all wired up, I used my small hands to reach in and hook each corner higher on the chain till we just had a tiny gap from the ceiling. It covers the hooks so that it appears to be a floating mount. It was way easier to hoist it link by link than try to tie off rope or wire in a new position.

Mae a custom edison light fixture

Step 4: Testing and Finalizing Your Design

Step 4 should probably go before the hoisting mentioned in step 3. No sense getting the fixture in the final position without making sure it all works. We tested each light to make sure all connections were secure with a single light bulb. That way you do not have to wonder if the bulb is broken if a socket does not appear to work. takes out all the process of elimination. Once we were sure all the wiring was in correct working order we hoisted it to the final position and then had a blast trying out different bulbs. We fiddled with all the types we purchased and played with placement and which ones looked good on and off. It took way longer than anticipated to find a good balance with the variable lengths and sizes of Edison bulbs, but it was fun to do. The final result still changes from time to time as we turn them on and off. In two years we have only had one bulb burn out and need replacement.

Since we do not have all the step by step pictures of how to assemble the Edison bulb chandelier please let us know if you have any questions in the comments. We are always happy to help and would love to see what you create!

Check out this tutorial on how to create your own DIY Edison Light Fixture. It is easy to make a great looking industrial light fixture for your home!

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Home Tour: Industrial Decor & Edible Landscaping

We have been meaning to do a home tour for-eveh! You know when the perfect time is to complete a home tour? When we are leaving…  Yes, we have decided to sell our house and move down the street.  We adore the location and the house!  Personally, I LOVE this home, but we woefully under estimated how quickly we would need to expand the space when blending our families.  Great news is we have located a larger family home less than two miles away.  Once we get in, we’ll go over the new house in more detail. Until then let’s go over all the DIY goodness we have in our current home.  Our focus with this house was to try to have a livable modern industrial decor with an attractive edible landscape.  When we bought the house they had some great conduit railings and interesting bronze accents.  We used those as our jumping off point to make a lot of pipe and Edison bulb fixtures.  Honestly, we never even posted about all of our DIY projects.  I have a ton of pictures and may try to go into more detail later.


Orange Front Door and a Blasted Landscape

While the house was attractive when we first bought it the landscape was a disaster.  These first couple of photos show the labor of love and the final yard.  We started by marking off and designing beds, bringing in birch, cherry, and Japanese maple trees.  We built trellises to match the porch and boxed in the less attractive transformer, put in a mailbox with galvanized numbers, and built matching raised beds.  The mulch alone was truck loads!  Luckily we had a dear friend help us haul, dig, and haul some more.  The front landscape wouldn’t look a tenth as good with out his help.galvanized-mailbox

Our yard should have a sign that says created by Lowes clearance (in fact we wrote a post about how to save money at Lowes), but by scoring a lot of plants a low cost and nursing them back to health we were able to build up lots of edible perennials.  What you don’t see in the details of the photos is tons of blackberries, raspberries, goji berries, strawberries, figs, and herbs of all kinds.  Corn, beans, squashes, and more flowers are tucked in all types of beds.  We even added decorative potato towers, a composting fence that holds yard waste and serves as an arbor for grapes with cranberries below, espalier orchard with apples, peaches, and pears and we built a large kiwi trellis (Kiwis are a discussion for next week).


espalier-orchardI’ve never been great with flowers so we worked to added lots of bulbs, daisies, lavender, coreopsis, echinecia, and tons of annuals painstakingly brought back to life.  I have learned a ton about bringing in color and in turn, pulling in pollinators.  The landscaping continues around the back of the house with vertical shade planters and beds of herbs around the chicken coop.  The chicken coop or chicken mansion as it has ended up getting named in the neighborhood is a feat of building all on it’s own.  I’ll be sad to leave it behind, but the new owners are excited about the prospect of being chicken owners eventually.  If nothing else it matches the house perfectly.


Speaking of the chicken coop!  This coop is built on pre-existing concrete pad.  Our guess was there was an old outbuilding or shed at some point.  It certainly pre-dates our occupancy and we did not even realize it was there till we installed the chicken coop.  We chose that location because the grass was not growing there very well; who knew…  When we created the extension we made sure to line it with hardware cloth to keep anything from digging in.  It was costly upfront, but so far we have yet to lose a chicken.  Seems worth it to me.  We painted the entire coop to match and it even has orange panels to close the windows off in the winter time.  You may ask why we have orange windows well…


One of our final touches was to change the front door from a bland mauve to a nice pop of orange.  I’m still really happy with the way it sets off the front of the house and felt like the chicken coop needed to have that matching touch.  Only wish we had done it earlier!  I always hated the prior mauve.

Industrial Decor and an Open Living Space

The bottom floor of the house is mostly an open living space.  We transformed the mantel, built pipe curtain rods, jazzed up the bookcase, all the while adding pops of deep orange and navy blue. Adam, built an amazing show piece in our Edison light fixture.  Everyone loves the multi-hued cloth covered cords and unique light bulbs.  I faux painted the sockets to resemble cast iron with a bronze hue, and we made sure that every single light can be turned off and on.  We added more pops of color by painting the powder room with an orange accent wall, making some custom art, and giving the pantry door a boost.  We recently changed out the lights in the kitchen for some clean solid shades.


If you look closely you can see lots of our touches from gold leafed lamp shades to hand made coffee and side tables.  We had started to play with different styles than just pipe as you can see from the tiny mail table in the entry.  We had plans to make a custom bench for the entry as well. Obviously we were never stop the ideas!


Everyone always remarks on the dining room table.  It is so fun to have the attached swivel seats.  I’m not exactly sure how we are going to move this monstrous piece of iron and wood, but somehow this puppy is heading to the new house.  The boys would be so sad to lose it!  We did, sadly, agree to leave the light fixture.  It really is an awesome show piece so I have no idea how we will match it in the new place, but we are already bouncing around

Industrial Shelves and Decals

One of the first things we did was replace a rickety contractor banister with a solid pipe one.  It is substantial nad affixed with heavy duty mounts!  The banisters move the industrial theme upstairs where we continue the pipe with a small built in office area with creatively constructed pipe shelves, and custom pipe desk, and a variety of hand made light fixtures in the Master.  Adam, made the headboard as a surprise out of salvaged wood from various construction sites.  The bed we made ourselves with bolts and thick boards.  The platform is sturdy and great support!custom-wood-shelves


The bathrooms already had great tile so we just continued the pipe through to the shower curtain rods and toilet paper holders.  While we changed out the shower curtain in the boys rooms for showing the house, they had a great monster themed bathroom.  Complete with a monster that eats/holds their toothbrushes.porthole-mirror-bathroom

Currently the boys share rooms and while they look very plain in the photos we actually had a space theme in one and a map theme in the other.  For the purposes of showing we had to remove full wall murals of the solar system and world maps.  Oh boy…  Those no-stick decals…  I am pretty sure my finger tips were bleeding after peeling off tons of tiny stars.  I think we will just hand paint murals or find another creative way to decorate walls in the future. I made the map duvets and space themed quilt for both rooms.  Thanks to the ridiculous bunk bed (That took waaaaayyyy to many hours to assemble) we have always had plenty of space to hide the toys.  The boys are good about helping clean up at the end of the day.  We make it easy by keeping drawers and bins where toys can just be dumped.  Bookcases are hidden in the back corner and smaller interactive books are out in the open shelves.  Everyone likes to sit and read so we are probably raising a herd of bookworms.  Which I will consider a triumph!



We touched almost every single room, even if it was just painting accent walls (we removed a country yellow theme they had going on when we bought the place).  It was an amazing two years worth of work that we truly enjoyed doing.  I’m sure the next homeowners will want to put their stamp on the space, but hopefully we have given them a good start.

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Building a Custom Industrial Wooden Desk

DIY stacked wood desk tutorial

The only thing that appears to be constant in our lives is change.  Our youngest son just began walking, he and the next youngest have moved into the same room, Brianna and I cleaned out our master closet, moved a dresser into said closet to further our organization effort, our oldest started Kindergarten, and Brianna had a career change that sees her working from home periodically.

Realizing that we have no good place to work (much less concentrate) amidst the chaos of our family of six, creativity was forced upon us.  We’ve always lacked an office space in our home (and with 6 people, we have no free rooms!), so our ability to set aside such a space has been significantly limited.  Moving Keaton in with Cooper freed up a nice little corner of our master bedroom.

We’d looked at buying an industrial desk for our space, but we couldn’t find that perfect piece.  Everything we’d looked at was either the wrong size or the wrong price.  So, as typical, we decided to build something of our own!

DIY stacked wood desk tutorial


Craft Thyme

Brianna and I measured our available space, and after drawing out a few different options, our plan was to build an industrial desk that was 18″ D x 40″ W x 30″ H that matched the general décor of our home.  Follow along below to see how we got there and let us know how we did!

Lumber Selection and Initial Cuts

As always, pick out lumber that speaks to you.  On the random Tuesday that I took off of work to focus on this build, the hardware store had some great, partially grayed untreated lumber.  (Stress the on the untreated) Selection of colorful, knotted, and straight wood was easy. On to the lumber prep….

Step in creating DIY industrial desk from lumber and pipe

Given that the actual dimension of a 2″ x 4″ is 1.5″ x 3.5″, the easiest way to get to 18″ was to stack 12 2×4’s together (18 / 1.5 = 12).  Super easy!

To get to 40″ wide, all we had to do was cut 40″ sections out of our lumber.  If you’ve done the math, you’ll see that I have waaaaay more lumber than I needed for this project.  Why have have 600″ when all I really need is 480″?  I do this for two reasons: 1) I want to be able to use the most interesting sections of the lumber, and 2) I’m probably going to mess something up at some point.

There are multiple ways to handle your cuts.  You can cut all 40″ sections and call it good, or you can strategically cut random length sections whose total lengths equal 40″.  I chose the latter.  With this, I don’t have a true final cut list for you, constant reader.  Make it random and make it awesome.

But we didn’t stop there… oh no, that would be too easy.

Step in creating DIY industrial desk from lumber and pipe

While stacking 2×4’s together gave us the right depth dimension, there were two readily apparent design flaws:  1) 2×4’s aren’t square, they’re rounded squares; and 2) the thing was going to be really freaking heavy.  To remedy, we broke out the table saw and ripped both sides of the previously cut 2×4’s to make everything nice and square.  We ended up taking off around 1/4″ from each side.  The end result was nice, square lumber that weighed an average of 7% less.

“Assistance Needed in the Pipe Cutting Area”

Having drawn out the basic design for our industrial desk’s frame (using Pencil*), we already had an idea of how we wanted to put things together.

Sketch for our tutorial on creating a DIY pipe desk for our industrial decor.

We’d ordered everything except for the long length of pipe from and started calculating the lengths we would need to finish the frame’s build-out.  I pre-assembled the feet of the frame, connected the front feet to the back using the 12″ nipples (such a silly term for a foot-long pipe), and started measuring.  We needed the bottom of the desk for fall at 27″ high, and with some simple subtraction, we’d come up with the following pipe cut list:

  • 2 – 24 (Front legs)
  • 2 – 20 (Back legs)
  • 1 – 32 (Back brace/Foot rest)

At that point, it was off to Lowe’s!  Remember, your local big-box home improvement store will cut and thread pipe for you – most of the time for free!

Putting the Pieces Together – Industrial Desk Frame

Hands down, the easiest part of this project is the desk frame assembly.  In a nice, open area, lay all of your pipe parts out and start putting things together as you’d planned.  There’s no right or wrong order in this step.  Give everything a good hand tightening as you get the pieces in their final position.  Once you secure the frame to the desktop, everything will be stationary, so there’s no need to use any tools to aid you in this step.

Tutorial on how to create an industrial desk from wood and pipe
(Colorful Balls and Toy Cars Optional)

If you’ve got a long enough level, go ahead and check your frame at this step in the process.  Yes, you can always make adjustments later if necessary, but it is easiest at this point.

Putting the Pieces Together – Desktop

This step takes both time, and patience (frankly, personality traits I typically lack)….

Using large clamps and as flat of a surface you can find, lay out 2-3 pieces of your previously cut lumber in the order you’d like them glues together.  Liberally apply wood glue to the back of your face board (I am a big fan of the squiggle application method), but it up against the second piece of lumber in the series, and clamp that baby together as hard as you can.  For best results, clamp both on the ends AND in the middle.  Repeat this steps as many times as you have clamps on hand.

Step in creating DIY industrial desk from lumber and pipe

Then wait….

Most wood glues actually have a drying time of only one hour.  So while this process takes patience, you can probably knock it out over the span of the afternoon.  Once your newly glued sections have set for their hour, continue this process for your remaining pieces of lumber.  When you have 6 stacks of two, start gluing those together.  And so on, and so on.

Depending on the size of the clamps you have, the last step of combining two stacks of 6 may be difficult (or frankly impossible).  I had this problem, and for me, this spawned creativity.  I went under the house and pulled out my crank straps.  You know, the ones you use to tie a king-sized bed to an SUV that’s as wide as a full-sized bed?  Believe it or not, these types of tie-downs make excellent large application clamps.  Do your final gluing, wait an hour, and drink a beer as most of the hard work is complete.

Flattening out your Desk Surface

There are multiple ways to achieve that perfectly milled work surface.  The BEST way is to use a mechanical planer to do the job for you.  Unfortunately, we don’t own one of these bad boys.

So… we did what we could the old-fashioned way and used multiple grits of sandpaper to knock down edges quickly.  As you’ll see below, there are lots of wood joints, knots, and saw blade “imperfections” that would make writing on this newly made solid surface rather difficult.  Hitting the desk top with heavy-grit sandpaper on the powered hand-sander will take care of any significant surface changes.  When finished with the high-grit, move to medium-grit across the whole surface, and finish it off with a fine-grit.

Tutorial on how to create an industrial desk from wood and pipe
Before Sanding
Tutorial on how to create an industrial desk from wood and pipe
After Sanding

Time to Stain and Poly

Choose your favorite stain(s) and desired polyurethane and get to work.  For this project, we alternated the use of Minwax Early American with Rustoleum Dark Walnut.  “Color blocking” best describes my technique on this particular piece: A block of one color here, a block of the other color there.  Randomize the application of the stains (if you’re using more than one), wipe away, and see how it’s turning out.  You can always make areas darker if need be by allowing for longer set-times or applying a darker stain over a lighter area.

Tutorial on how to create an industrial desk from wood and pipe

Step in creating DIY industrial desk from lumber and pipe

I’ll admit, once the stain had been applied and had dried, I couldn’t wait to see how the industrial desk looked on the frame.  So… rather than apply the coat of poly on my nice grocery-bag covered work space, I hauled it outside and set it on the frame to get a sneak peek of what the final product might look like.

Tutorial on how to create an industrial desk from wood and pipe

Being happy with the progress we’d made, I decided just to keep the desktop sitting on the frame in order to apply a coat of Minwax Semigloss Polyurethane.  I also went ahead and used some bronze colored wood screws to mount the desktop to the frame.  One coat of poly was enough for this project.  Let things dry as per the provided instructions.

Tutorial on how to create an industrial desk from wood and pipe

Finished Product

Pipe legged desk and stacked wood top. Tutorial included.

Tutorial on creating an industrial desk from black iron pipe

How to make an industrial desk from pipe

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Industrial Pipe and Wood Bookshelves

Using pipe to make industrial brackets for shelves.

Remember our posts on Achieving an Industrial Décor with Black Iron Pipe – Part I, Part II, and Part III?  In this post, Brianna and I are back for more tips on adding functional industrial décor with a quick tutorial for building some pretty awesome industrial pipe bookshelves with – you guessed it – black iron pipe and spare lumber.

Using pipe to make industrial brackets for shelves.

Throughout our travels, Brianna and I have collected knick knacks from across the globe to remind us of where we’ve been, what we’re capable of, and where we can go if we put in the effort.  Unfortunately, these precious mementos rarely have a place in our home at the time of purchase.  This can lead to what might as well be a four-letter word: CLUTTER. (gasp)

Trying to get a handle on cleaning and clutter management in the new year, I can’t tell you the number of clickbait posts we’ve admittedly clicked on this January claiming hold the secrets to the latest storage and organization techniques that will completely transform your home.  Let me save you the trouble of clicking through the masses and boil everything down into one simple point for you:  Everything has a place.   If your clutter isn’t in it’s place, put it there.

Our problem?  We’d run out of space.  The solution?  Build more space! (In the form of bookshelves in our master bedroom)


You can take a lot of liberties on how you attack this project.  Styles and wall sizes vary, and the supplies listed below are those used for this particular adaptation.

Industrial pipe bookshelves from pipe tutorial with step by step how to

In this project, we built 4 industrial pipe bookshelves in three different styles:

Short Shelves (times 2):

Long Shelf (Standard)

Long Shelf (Over Desk):

Craft Thyme

For each shelf, the basic steps are the same:

  1. Select your lumber,
  2. Cut your lumber to size,
  3. Sand, rough, and buff,
  4. Cut your mounting holes,
  5. Test fit,
  6. Stain and poly,
  7. Assemble, Mark, Disassemble, Install, and Reassemble

Select Your Lumber

Selecting your lumber is strictly a matter of personal preference.  You’ll do best to find a piece of wood that speaks to you.  Spend time digging through the lumber stocks searching for that perfect knot, grain, or imperfection.  For this order, I decided to leave the lumber we used up to the random choosing of a Lowe’s employee by ordering online for in-store pickup.

Cut your Lumber to Size

Each wall we were looking to fill was 62″ wide.  Not wanting to fill the space from edge-to-edge, we chose 46″ for the widest (bottom) shelf and a smaller 20″ shelf to be placed as a higher accent piece.  Cut your lumber to size using whatever mechanism you have at your disposal.  We used our smaller miter saw to make the cuts.

Sand, Rough, and Buff

Once your cuts have been made, you’re going to want to distress your wood a bit.  Why?  1) It looks cool, and 2) SAFETY!  The way we’re going to mount the shelves will leave them sticking out 8″ from the wall.  Sharp, fresh cut lumber corners jutting out from a wall are just an accident waiting to happen.

Industrial shelves from pipe tutorial with step by step how to

Take some time to sand down your newly cut corners and edges.  Feel free to be overly drastic in how you do this – it will surely make your end result that much better!  And leave those imperfections there for everyone to see.

Cut your Mounting Holes

Symmetry comes naturally to me; it’s just the way my mind thinks.  (Brianna loves and hates this about me all at the same time.)  For this project, I chose to drill out the mounting holes in the same position on either side of the shelves-to-be.  Symmetry could be optional for you, just ensure that your shelf is properly supported in the design you chose to go with.

Industrial shelves from pipe tutorial with step by step how to

Use a 1-1/8″ hole saw or drill bit to cut the holes for your 3/4″ wide pipe.  I’ve tried this many different ways (including rocking a 1″ bit when drilling) in an attempt to find the perfect hole size.  Trust me, 1-1/8″ is the way to go.  There’s no need to sand these cuts (unless you’re more of a perfectionist than I am), because the actual opening will be hidden in the final product.

Test Fit

It goes without saying that you should test fit your pipe into your newly drilled holes.  Use the 2″ nipples to make sure that they fit well.

Industrial shelves from pipe tutorial with step by step how to

If they fall right through, don’t worry and remember that you’ll have a pipe cap and an elbow or tee on the other end for support.  If the opposite happens and you find that your pipe doesn’t fit into your hole, you can either try the rocking method mentioned earlier (not recommended – you can hurt yourself if you aren’t careful), or use a rubber mallet to tap the nipple into place.

Stain and Poly

Once your lumber has been properly cut, sanded, and drilled, break out your favorite stain and polyurethane finish.  For this application, we used Minwax Early American as the stain, and Minwax Semi-Gloss Polyurethane as a finish.  Apply the stain, let it dry overnight if possible, and apply the poly the next day.  Waiting for everything to dry is the hardest part, but the end result is well worth the wait.

Assemble, Mark, Disassemble, Install, and Reassemble

Yes, it sounds like a lot of steps in one, but at least they’re simple:

  1. Go ahead and assemble each shelf as you intend.  HAND TIGHTEN ONLY.   (Interested in what we did? See the final orientation of parts in the photos below.)
  2. With a partner, hold and level the shelf where you’d like it to hang.
  3. Mark the holes in the flanges with a pencil.  (Pro tip: Have two pencils – one for each of you.  You’ll avoid yelling about loosing level status this way)
  4. Pull the shelf down, and disassemble.
  5. Install your drywall anchors where your marked your flange holes.  (I go over the top here and use anchors capable of supporting 143 lbs each)
  6. Install your flanges (only) using your freshly installed anchors and provided screws.
  7. Into the flanges, install all of the hardware you plan to install besides the shelf itself and the black pipe caps.
  8. Install your shelf over the nipples that you test fitted earlier.
  9. Secure your shelf by adding the black pipe caps to the nipple peering out of your shelf.  A strong hand-tightening should be sufficient to ensure stability.

The Final  Industrial Pipe Bookshelves

DIY pipe shelf tutorial with directions

DIY pipe shelf tutorial with directions

Industrial shelf made from pipe.

DIY industrial shelves. Tutorial and instructions.

DIY pipe shelf tutorial with directions

DIY industrial shelves and pipe desk. Tutorial and instructions.

How to make diy industrial shelves from black iron pipe.

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Fireplace Mantle Makeover

Completed wooden mantel

When we first bought our home, Brianna and I loved all but two things: the accent wall color in the living room and the fireplace mantle.  The accent wall was easy to take care of – just simply slap on a coat of paint!  (Valspar Winter Flannel for those curious minds.) Fixing our “dinky mantle” however required a little more work.  It, and the fireplace surround, were supposedly built to mirror the built-in shelves to the right of the room. Apart from being white, we just weren’t seeing it.  So in keeping with our theme, we took a day and decided to transform our mantle into something that really stood out in the space.

The Before: Behold the “Dinky Mantle”

This is the mantle we started with


  • 3 – 1″ x 8″ x 8″ White Pine Lumber
  • 2 – Foam Brushes
  • Rust-Oleum Dark Walnut Stain
  • Rust-Oleum Semi-Gloss Polyurethane
  • Cotton Rags (for stain removal)
  • 1-1/4″ Brad Nails
  • Brad Nailer
  • Air Compressor

A few notes about your lumber selection:
You can work with any type wood.  White pine tends to be the most affordable of the “furniture grade lumber” and it fit into our budget the best at the time.  It’s a good standard lumber and it stains well.  If you hope to achieve a consistent look and feel with your finished piece, try to pick pieces of lumber with a similar wood grain.  The sizes and lengths noted above were what we needed for our application/space.  Your needs will most certainly differ.

Step-By-Step Instructions

This project is what I like to refer to as a beer project.  Outside of operating a saw and a nail gun (which you should ALWAYS do sober – 100% sober), there are a lot of “stain, wipe, dry” and “poly, dry, poly, dry” steps during which you should have ample opportunity to enjoy a tasty beverage.

Step 1: Measure

Ok, so you probably did this prior to purchasing your lumber in order to ensure you bought enough, but when it comes time to cut your lumber, you want to be certain that you’ve measured correctly. Measure again, take note of the dimensions you need to cut, translate those measurements by marking your lumber, and get ready to break out the saw of your choice.


Step 2: Cut!

Carefully cut your wood to your desired dimensions.  For our project, our cut list was as follows:

  • 1 – 64″ (Mantle Front)
  • 2 – 61″ (Mantle Top & Bottom)
  • 2 – 7-1/4″ (Mantle Sides)

Yes, this left quite a bit of wood left over.  Think: FUTURE PROJECT!  You may be able reduce waste by purchasing longer lumber, but I very often have trouble finding straight lumber of this dimension in longer lengths.

Step 3: Stain and Rub Your Wood

With everything cut, break out your favorite shade of wood stain.  Apply your stain as per the provided instructions.  Wipe off the excess product after 2-3 minutes.  If you’re happy with the color, great!  If not, wait the indicated number of hours, apply a second coat, and rub everything down again.

Rubber gloves are essential to keeping your skin unstained. Somehow, I always forget this…


Step 4: Break out the Poly

When you’re happy with the look of your stain, it’s time to apply a protective coat of polyurethane.  The type of finish is up to you; matte, satin, semi-gloss, or gloss.  We’d played around with matte poly finishes in the past and weren’t too happy with the end result.  For this application, we ended up going with a semi-gloss finish and were thrilled with the final look.

It may take more than one coat of poly to achieve a uniform coat.  Let the polyurethane dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions and reapply.  Repeat until you’re happy with the resulting finish.

Step 5: Assembly and Installation

This is where all of your hard work comes together, and for us, this step was a breeze!  Our new mantle is simply a cover-up of the existing, so all of our major mounting was already taken care of for us.

  1. Starting with the top, center the piece of lumber you selected for this position over your existing mantle.  Using your brad nailer, fasten this board to the existing mantle.  Be generous with your use of nails; they’re tiny and you won’t see them.
  2. Add your side panels by nailing them to the ends of the top panel you just installed  Carefully align your nail gun and you should be able to shoot straight nails fairly easily.
  3. Mount your front panel.  Again, carefully position your nail gun, and you’ll shoot true. It helps to have a partner here to hold and square things up.
    • Pro tip: Don’t yell at your helper.  Treat them nicely.  They work better in pleasant working conditions.
  4. Install the bottom panel.  With all other facets in place, your bottom panel should fit in like a glove.  Shoot and be true.


Yes, I could have put everything together beforehand, simply slid the entire piece over the existing mantle, and nailed things down.  However, doing it the way we did allowed for on-the-spot micro adjustments and re-squaring.  So yes, more effort to do it my way, but a much “straighter” final product.

Step 6: Beer and Admiration

My favorite step! Grab another pour of your favorite beer, sit back, and admire your handiwork!

Completed wooden mantel

Of course, we didn’t stop there…

We loved the look of our new mantle; however, that fireplace surround just didn’t stand up to what we’d just created.  It was going to have to change….  Yippy!  Another project!  Stay tuned for our follow up post on how we continued to transform our fireplace to fit our style.