Industrial Style Wood Slat Closet System with Galvanized Pipes

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 09/18/2014 - 09:50
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DIY wood closet - free plans!  From

So I got a baby, a second grader, a blog, a husband out moose hunting (you get it, what Mom isn't this busy?) and piles of laundry and no where to put it since we moved

I need a closet.  And I need it fast.  And it has to be inexpensive, sturdy, but it's gotta look pretty too.  Oh, and I need to make it before my sister leaves the next day, so she can help me with kids.  

Yeah, I know.  I'm a picky client!

After building this garage storage unit in a few hours - with kids - 

I thought, why not a master closet with the same building style (inspired by tradditional Swedish wood shelving) but use 1x4s for the legs and shelves for more refinement, stain the boards, and use industrial pipes for closet rods?

It all seemed almost too simple, and I almost didn't build this project.  Almost wrote it off as too plain.

But I talked myself into it, reasoning that even if it did turn out too plain, too IKEA, there's gotta be at least one person out there that would appreciate an inexpensive and easy to build closet - even if it doesn't look all that great.

So I gave simple a chance.

And simple suprised the heck out of me.


I couldn't be more pleased with how this closet turned out.  I feel like I am in an expensive clothing store when I get dressed, just without the designer clothes and shoes.  Although, the jeans are authentically distressed with real paint splatters wink .  

And the best part?  I was able to build it in a few hours, and all for about $200!

  • Lumber (all new) - $120
  • Pipes for closet rods - $60
  • Stain and screws - $20

For the closet rods, I used iron pipes, available at most any hardware store -

I used all 3/4" fittings.  Per each rod, I purchased:

  • (1) 36" pipe
  • (2) Ts
  • (4) 8" nipples
  • (4) end caps

This was definitely the most expensive part, but the splurge was absolutely worth it!  

Costs could be cut down by using a smaller pipe (1/2") or having less individual rods, and using longer pipes as the cost is in all the fittings.

But one thing to consider is the shelves above and below the pipes shouldn't span more than about 3 feet or they will start to sag, so I opted to make my closet rods using 36" pipes.

The plans are ridiculously simple, check them out below.  You just make those shelf supports (plan for a shelf support every 3 feet or so), attach the closet rods, and then place the shelving on top.

To make finishing easier I just stained all my boards first, using Rustoleum Early American, and then touched up after installation.  These photos show the stain a little lighter than the closet is in real life.

Enjoy the plans following!


XO Ana + Family


PS - My sister not only helped with kids, she also made a video of this project plan too!  Check it out -

PSS - To make closet building even easier, my friends at Ryobi are giving away THIS SAW to one of you!!!  

Just click here to sign in or sign up!  That's it!


PSSS - Love this?  Please pin!




This closet can be customized to any length. Leg supports should be placed about every 3 feet to avoid shelf sagging.

Note that this closet is most likely too tall to fit inside doorways and will need to be assembled in the closet (after you make the leg supports). If your closet is really tight, you may wish to shorten the entire closet by a few inches (measure you doorways).


Shopping List

PER LEG SUPPORT (You'll need at least two leg supports, and additional leg supports every 3 feet or so)

2 - 1x4 @ 8 feet long (for the legs)

64" of 2x4s (for the shelf supports)



4 - 1x4 @ length of closet PER SHELF 

Additional 1x4s for smaller shelves if using


I stained all of my boards first, before cutting.  I let them dry overnight.  After completing the project, I touched up unstained areas (cut ends).

Common Materials
1 1/2 inch screws
2 1/2 inch screws
Cut List


4 - 2x4 @ 15-1/2" (shelf supports - make sure you measure your pipes first to figure how deep the closet needs to be to work with the iron pipe closet rods)

2 - 1x4 @ 81-1/2" (legs - you may wish to shorten these to pass through doorways)


Per each shelf - 4 - 1x4s cut to length of closet


2 - 2x4 @ 15-1/2"

4 - 1x4 cut to width of smaller shelf


Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
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


Build leg supports using 2-1/2" self tapping screws and wood glue.  

Since I was using the metal pipe closet rods, I installed them at this step.

Step 2

I cut all my shelving to the length of the closet.  Then I threaded two shelving boards on bottom shelf and two on second to top shelf.  

I screwed the shelving boards to the outside leg supports, flush to the inside of the legs (will come back and add the middle shelving boards).  Once the two outside leg supports were screwed down, I used a level to place the remaining two legs, with the closet rod determining where the legs should go.

Then I added the remaining shelving boards, screwing those down.  Attach the outer shelving boards first, then evenly space the middle two shelving boards.  I used 1-1/2" screws here.  Once everything was tied in, it was pretty secure, but just for added security, I also screwed the shelving unit to the walls to prevent racking or forward tipping.

Step 3

Finally I simply measured the distance between the middle two legs, cut a shelving boards and more 2x4 shelf supports, and added two additional shelves.

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.



Thu, 09/18/2014 - 07:41

This closet is SO beautiful! You're right, I can totally see this as a display shelf in an upscale store. Once again you hit it out of the park. Now I'm eyeballing my home wondering if there's a spot to fit this...


Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:45

I love the look of your storage unit.  I have made similar things in the past.  Unfortunately mine do not look as nice because they are loaded with stuff.  Looks more like art when it is sparsely used and the clothing is sort of monochromatic.  Very nicely done and artistically presented.



Thu, 09/18/2014 - 11:31

Maybe I am that one person!  I've been debating building your other closet organizer but just haven't been certain I could haul around and install it due to the weight of it.  This one will do the trick and I love the industrial look!  Thank you!


Sun, 10/19/2014 - 17:51

Are those true 1x4s or 3/4x3.5s?

Wondering if 3/4" thick would be strong enough, especially once weighed down with items.

And did you just use regular 2x4 studs?






Mon, 12/29/2014 - 16:17

Liam, I hope it's ok for me to answer.
Any lumber you get from the home stores are going to have the smaller measurements, it's just easier to say "1x4". As far as being strong enough, the plan calls for 4 boards across, so the weight will be distributed, with each board taking 1/4 of the weight. Hope this helps.


Tue, 11/25/2014 - 10:53

I like it was suprised to see no Kreg pocket holes!  But does that mean pocket hole joinery isn't strong enough for storage shelves?  If it is, what are the best methods for heavy shelves?


Mon, 12/29/2014 - 16:22

Back, (or is it Service?)
I think the industrial look to the shelf lends itself to the lack of pocket holes. As far as being strong enough, I built the "industrial rolling shelf" for my garage using the Kreg, and it's loaded to the hilt with no issues. I think this one was designed to be quick and easy. Pocket holes are great but they do add a lot to the time to build. Just my opinion. Thanks, David