Harder than it looked…

OK, so now that the holiday season is behind us, I can get back to trolling my Pinterest lists for projects to improve my home.  My living room is almost completely finished (it just needs a piece of art professionally framed and an area rug – which I am either going to make myself or stumble upon something perfect), so I am moving on to the dining room.  We found a great dining room table at a local 2nd hand shop (Abbey Ann’s), and have been collecting dining room chairs (most of which need reupholstering) for quite a while now.  Which leaves the accessory furniture.  Gwen wants a bar, but I hate the way they look.  I want a bookshelf, but Gwen says we have too many already.  So we are going to have to compromise…  which drove me to search my Projecty Type Stuff board on Pinterest.

That’s where I found these 2 options:

Option 1

Option 2

It was amazing – we actually agreed the first time.  We chose Option 1, but ended up making some modifications to the original design.  It came out great, even if I do say so myself!

First, I had to navigate away from the pin’s original destination to a previous post on the connected website to find a supply list for the project, which was a pain, but a creative way to generate additional blog hits.  It wasn’t on the connected page, I had to click on a link within the post and go to another page to get the specific and extensive supply list.  I purchased everything that they listed at my local hardware superstore.

photo (10)

Supply List

4 – 48″ 2×12 white wood boards

grey stain

2 – 1/2″ (diameter) x 2″ (length) pipe

4 – 1/2″ x 6″ pipe

4 – 1/2″ x 10″ pipe

12 – 1/2″ x 12″ pipe

4 – 1/2″ x 18″ pipe

6 – 1/2″ flanges

2 – 1/2″ female-female elbows

14 – 1/2″ T fittings

8 – 1/2″ pipe to wood straps with screws

Once we had all the supplies, we sanded and stained the 4 pieces of wood weathered grey.  While they were drying we tried (unsuccessfully) to clean off the black pipes the original crafter used.  They were turning everything they touched black (including skin and clothing).  They just wouldn’t come clean; so, because we were planning on using the shelf in our dining room and didn’t want to have to deal with the black getting all over everything, we ended up exchanging the pipes for galvanized (silver) pipes instead.  The galvanized pipe is more expensive, but my local hardware super store will cut larger lengths to size for you if you are willing to wait.  We were happy to wait and in the end it made the silver pipes slightly less expensive than the original black ones.

Then it was time for the actual assembly.  This is where it got slightly tricky.  There were no actual direction in the original pin, just a couple of photos of the person putting their shelf together.  Which meant that we were pretty much just playing it by ear.  So, I’m going to spell it out for you guys, because it was annoying to have to try and guess which length pipe went where.

You start from the bottom and work your way up.  First take a flange and insert the 6″ pipe.  The pipes are threaded on both sided, so you can just turn it into the flange.  Then repeat that for another flange and 6″ pipe.  Those become the feet for one side of the shelf.  Then attach a T fitting to each of the 6″ flange combos you just made, with the T shape laying down.  photo 2 (22)

Then take a 12″ pipe and connect the two T fittings you just secured so that the pipes look line a lowercase n.

photo 3 (20)

Then attach 2 18″ pipes to the base you just made.  One pipe goes in each empty T connection.

photo 5 (12)

Then add 2 more T fittings, just like the two you added earlier, and connect them with another 12″ pipe.  You are going to want to use a pipe wrench to tighten the center pipe, because of the way the pipes are threaded on each side.  You don’t want to make one side too tight, because then the other side won’t stay attached.  Believe me, it was annoying when this happened, until we figured out what to do.

photo 1 (20)

Next add 2 more 12″ pipes, one on each side, followed by 2 more T fittings with another 12″ pipe connecting them.  Then add 2 10″ pipes to the top of the T fittings.  Once you have the 10″ pipes on, you have to secure and elbow to the front of the structure and a T fitting to the rear.  However, this T fitting is going to be facing the other way from the ones you’ve already used.  The cross of the T should be parallel to the floor.  Once you have the T attached to the 10″ pipe you need to screw in a 2″ pipe pointing away from the other 10″ pipe (the one with the elbow attached).  Then attach a flange to the 2″ pipe you just put on.

photo 2 (23)

Once you have the T/2″pipe/flange combo and the elbow secured, connect the 2 10″ pipes to each other with a 12″ pipe.  Now you have one side of the shelf frame completed.  Take a breather and repeat the process for the other side.


Once you have the 2 side frames, the original directions showed the wooden shelves laying across the tops of each of the 12″ cross pipes.  Let me tell you that just didn’t work in my house.  My floors aren’t level and my walls aren’t perfectly plumb.  (I mean come on the house is almost 100 years old!), the thing fell over 3 times before I got so annoyed that I decided we needed to do something to make the shelves more stable.  So, we used pipe straps (they are U shaped metal things that a plumber uses to make sure pipes stay tight to the joists in the floor or studs in walls) and secured the side frames to the shelves.  We turned the hole thing upside down and secured each shelf with one 1/2″ pipe strap on each side to the wood shelves with screws.  I left a 2″ over hang on each side for aesthetics.

photo 2 (24)

Then we turned it over and attached it to the wall using the top flanges and screws with a very wide head.

Once we had it in place we started loading it with all of the stuff waiting on my dining room table for a home.  That’s when I decided I liked how the unit looked with 3 shelves instead of 4.

IMG_4509     photo 4 (17)

Once we removed the top shelf, we loaded the rest of the stuff on.  All the alcohol and vases went on the bottom shelf.  The shaker and assorted glasses went on the second shelf, and my cookbooks are on the top shelf.

photo 5 (11)

Which way do you like better, 3 shelves or 4?


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Filed under check-it-off-the-list, hunting for a new home, organize that, projecty type stuff

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