DIY Friday: Industrial Wall Shelves from 2x10s

by Lindy on November 4, 2011

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I’m going to let you in on a little known DIY secret.

Say you need to make a piece of furniture – a new desk, perhaps – but you don’t have a fancy-pants saw, or fancy-pants woodworking skills, just your basic drill and whatever you can cart home in your car from the hardware store.

If you call your new desk “Industrial,” you can use common hardware materials to build it without anyone thinking you’re weird.

Like the desk we built for our office out of plumbing pipes and a door. A few twists with a plumbing wrench, a few coats of stain, a few jolts of the drill, and we had our own Industrial desk. No saw or skills required.

Plumbing Pipe Desk

The Industrial look is my favorite DIY cheat.

When I was planning the design for our home office, I knew I’d be relying heavily on my décor-fu* to stay within budget. So of course I chose the theme of Industrial meets 60’s Mod (inspired by the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Price, naturally).

I just finished my latest addition to the room.

Industrial 2x10 Wall Shelves

I call them my Industrial wall shelves.  *wink, wink*

I may as well say these shelves are brought to you by Young House Love because I decided on the final design after spending an entire Saturday afternoon catching up on their archives. They recently built a desk out of 2x10s and even though I had two pieces of cut plywood already, I couldn’t get those chunky 2x10s out of my head.  Luckily, they’re cheap, so my obsession only set me back an extra $9.

These shelves were incredibly easy to make. After sanding and staining the 2x10s to match our Industrial pipe desk, I secured them to the wall using basic 6″ L-brackets from, you guessed it, the hardware store.  I spray painted the brackets oil rubbed bronze (YHL influence strikes again!), and positioned the shelves so the brackets screwed into the studs.

I was really happy with the final result, and I’m especially happy these music pedals are finally off the floor.

The total cost of this project was about $30 for the 2×10, the brackets, screws, and spray paint (I already had the stain and poly).

So are you understanding the magical powers of Industrial yet?

If you want more to explore, Curlby has an e-book titled Hardware Store Decor. I haven’t bought it, because I run a finance blog, which means I don’t buy anything..but it looks super cool.

And just in case you need more examples, I have some for you. These real life Industrial furniture pieces come to you courtesy of….

Cinder Block Shelves

my parents!

See the bookshelves in the background? My parents made them from cinder blocks and plywood. They even spray painted them gold, how hot is that?

Cinder Block Shelves

Then when they moved across country they kept up their cinder bookshelf tradition. Only this time, they added a tier to make it a full on wall unit.  I see another item of furniture that was DIYed in this picture? Can you spot it?

I am so their child. And I really wish they still had those bar stools.

Thanks for joining me in this November edition of DIY Friday! As always, if you have a current project to share, please do so in the comments.

PS: I’ve been working behind the scenes to give DIY Friday a full makeover. Stay tuned for improvements coming soon.

*Decor-fu term courtesy of 101 Centavos

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  • Aww, your mom is too cute.

    We had the cinder block bookshelves and a DIY burl redwood coffee table. I think everyone who lived on the West Coast had those.

    I love your shelves the look great. Who knew foot pedals could be such cool decor?

    • Lindy

      Thanks! I really wanted to make the pedals the stars. Love it when functional items also make nice wall decor. :)

  • Love it!! That red chair is just awesome!! If you like retro, take a peek at my blog post today! ;) love the photo too… lol!

  • I always wanted a converted spool table…

    • Lindy

      Nice spot. ;)

  • Hah! You’re going to turn into an ORB maniac just like Sherry!

    My first memories of learning to read (How the Animals Get to the Zoo, if you’re wondering) were in front of my own parents’ brick and wood DIY bookshelf…which is funny, because my Dad was a carpenter. Amazing that it wasn’t just the “make do” option, but the PREFERRED option.

    Oh, seventies. We love you.

    • Lindy

      I do still have 3/4 of a can of ORB spray paint to go crazy with.

      Yes, the cinder block shelves were quite the thing. I’m thinking they might need to make a comeback…or maybe not.

  • I love the old pictures – cinder block shelves were a staple in my college places. Usually you could rustle all the requirements out of someone else’s garbage pile and with a bit of paint and a sander, you could make them look as good as new.

    • Lindy

      Come to think of it, cinder blocks were a part of my college decor as well. I used them to prop up my bed to have more storage underneath. Then I put four of them together, covered them with a table cloth and used them as a night stand. Oh the many uses.

  • How cute is your family? Thanks for sharing.

  • I like the industrial look, well done.
    We have a workbench in progress for #1 Son made out of 2×4 sawhorses and a salvaged closet door.
    Cinder block shelving and a component stereo… takes me back to college days. I worked part time in a home improvement store, and managed to scrounge some of the larger wire spools. They worked OK as nightstands, although I was too lazy to paint them.
    Thanks for the mention, by the way.

    • Lindy

      Every time I pass by those sawhorses in Home Depot I’m tempted to bring one home.
      My parents utilized the wire spool cheat in my sister’s nursery too. They painted it blue and red to match her homemade snoopy curtains.

  • I am having paneling flashbacks!

    You are so darn creative! I wish I had your vision and your skills because I could never come up with your great designs.

    Great job!

    • Lindy

      You can just steal my ideas, like I steal the ideas of other great creative minds. :)

  • I love the pipe desk! And the chair…and, well, everything. I agree with Nikki, your mom is super cute! And inspiring!

  • I am so in love with those cinder block shelves! And your desk is amazing. Great work!

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