Industrial 5 Shelf Cart

industrial shelf cart
Beginner Projects
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Inspired by an industrial cart I saw on Pinterest, I decided to try my hand at building my own to save money. It's made from simple pine 2x12 shelves, castors and plumbing hardware. This is the perfect build for a beginner, as it's easy to get the boards cut at the store before you bring them home. I used Ron's Hardware for the plumbing supplies, they were incredibly fast, helpful, and half the cost of the big box stores.…

NOTE: This project is much lighter than it appears, making it very easy to tip. As a precaution (I have a small child) I used four L-brackets to attach the cart to wall studs.

industrial cart dimensions
36" wide, 86" tall, 11.5" deep


Shopping List

• 1 - 2x12x16

• 4 - casters (optional)

• 32 - 1/2" galvanized flanges (…)

• 16 - 1/2" galvanized pipe at 18" (…)

• 150 - 3/4" screws

• finishing supplies (sandpaper, stain/paint)

Common Materials
3/4 inch screws
120 grit sandpaper
Cut List

5 - 2x12's @ 36"

Cutting Instructions

Make sure all cuts are square. I got these cut in store to save money since one 2x12 is cheaper than two shorter ones. You have to keep an eye on those sales guys, one was cut an 1/8" short so I had to trim them all at home.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Sand and stain/paint all your boards first.

Step 2

Using the 3/4" screws, drill your casters into your first board at the four corners.

Step 3

Flip the board over, and screw in your first 4 flanges.

Step 4

Attach your first 4 pipes by manually screwing them in. You will need to check for square, the threading isn't always equal. Some will need to be banged with a hammer.

Step 5

Step 6

Set the next board on top, check for square, and drill the 3/4" screws into the flanges to attach your first shelf.

Step 7

Repeat steps 3-6 for the next 4 boards until you reach the top. That's it!

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.


Merida (not verified)

Thu, 01/19/2012 - 07:48

About how much did that cost to put together?


Thu, 01/19/2012 - 08:02

I can't believe I left that out! The lumber and screws were only $20, the bulk of the cost comes from the plumbing parts. I found Ron's Hardware online and really enjoyed their service and product. Plus, their parts were about 1/2 the cost at the big box stores. You may be able to find good prices if you have a local plumbing supply


Thu, 01/19/2012 - 08:47

I'm a big advocate of not letting employees at the home center touch your lumber. It's not that they're incompetent, but they're not furniture builders and this isn't their project, accurate cuts will be more a matter of luck.

If you don't own any tools, you can get by with just an inexpensive corded drill and a hand saw like one of the 20" Stanley Sharp-tooth saws. If you can't find that, Irwin also makes a decent hand saw. A quick google search for hand saw videos will get you all of the instruction you need to make quick and accurate cuts.

I'm doing a huge project right now, a set of six book shelves for a friend's library, and I'm breaking down all of the wood by hand. It's not strenuous. Even after cutting 40 shelves, I was only a bit warm.

Once you learn how to break down your own lumber with a hand saw, you'll never let another clerk touch your lumber with a saw.

Jenn W (not verified)

Thu, 01/19/2012 - 11:54

Some things to be aware of if you like this design:

This looks incredibly 'tippy' - narrow shelves with that height on wheels...

I'd be very careful where I placed a unit like this, and I'd never actually try to roll it anywhere while it's loaded.

If I where to make this myself, with these materials, I'd go no higher than three shelves. And that would still be liable to tipping.

In reply to by Jenn W (not verified)


Thu, 01/19/2012 - 12:24

Yes, it does tip easily and I wrote that in the notes. What I did was secure it to the wall studs with 2.5" screws in 4 places. I've hung on it myself and it's not going anywhere! Though it does make the castors purely decorative.

If you want mobility, I'd either make it shorter like you suggested or make it wider by joining two boards together with a 1x3. Though even then, tall shelves are easy for little hands (or paws) to grab and tip

Jo W (not verified)

Thu, 01/19/2012 - 14:48

Fantastic project! I was wondering what color/type of stain you used - that color looks so gorgeous & rustic! Still have the can around?

Liesl (not verified)

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 08:57

How cool! I love the industrial look! I like how this could be modified and have a matching shorter shelving section or a little table on castors.


Thu, 02/13/2014 - 08:09

I'm looking forward to this being my first furniture project (will have my dad spot me, but I think I'll be able to do it!)

If it turns out well, I think I'll make one half the height and double the width too!

Q: What size castors did you use?



Sun, 03/08/2015 - 19:30

I am using your tutorial to build a hutch on top an old dresser....I am seriously frustrated with how "crooked" my vertical pipes are, I have unthreaded, rethreaded and pulled a lot of hair from my head trying to get them mentioned banging on them....could you be more specific?... this is my first pipe project and may be my last if I cant figure a way to get "things" straight! lol...I feel that part of my problem is that my shelves are only 12" deep making my supporting pipes close together, which further emphasis that one or both are crooked.....ANY feedback will be MUCH appreciated :)