categories | articles | write a review | design your space
log in | sign up ARE YOU A HOME PRO?

DIY: Make a book rack out of PVC pipe

Love books but don’t know where to put them? Instead of buying a bookshelf, why not make your own book rack? Our expert DIYer Amanda Fettig tells us what inspired her to make one and how she did it using a few pieces of PVC pipe. To help you along, we’ve included an estimated breakdown of how much the project will cost you!

I love it when I totally fall in love with something online, but can’t afford it. NOT. However, I wouldn’t be able to call myself a DIYer if I just didn’t try to make that said item, right? Well, I did (with some tweaks, of course).

We’ve been wanting something for my daughter’s room that is low to the ground to store her books so that she can easily access them. She’s been obsessed with looking at her books lately, and every time I go in her room they are everywhere! I have to admit, it’s pretty cute. The teacher in me loves it. We do have a little cubby-hole shelf with books on it now, but some of her books are too high for her to reach. I was browsing around one day on Pinterest when I came across this lovely little industrial pipe book rack from RH Baby and Child:

Isn’t that just too cute? I mean, I know it’s not necessarily cute for a nursery, but still. It’s the perfect idea for low-to-the-ground book storage. However, I learnhowto3wasn’t about to pay $109. Or even $89 for their special price. No thank you. Instead, I started scheming on how we could just make this ourselves.

We went to a local hardware store to see if we could find all the parts, but couldn’t get the cross connectors in the copper piping. David and I walked around for a bit trying to think of another way we could build this when we walked down the PVC pipe aisle. Bingo! While it wasn’t the cool industrial pipe look I wanted, it was going to actually be way cheaper. Even better! I really love the look of industrial pipes, but I was going to have to paint them white to match Jade’s decor in her room anyway. Luckily, Home Depot had everything we needed. We decided upon getting the 1 inch-sized pipe, so it’d be sturdy enough to hold a lot of books.

Here’s a list of material you’ll need to create this book rack:

  • 1 10-foot-long, one inch diameter PVC pipe (or other pipe of your choosing based on store availability)
  • 2 one-inch PVC crosses
  • 4 one-inch PVC end caps
  • PVC pipe cutter
  • Spray paint in desired colour

Most of these items can be found at a local hardware store, but before you go, take a look at our estimated cost breakdown so you know how much this DIY will cost you:

Product/MaterialCost Per Item
10 foot-long, 1-inch diameter PVC pipe$15
2 1-inch PVC crosses$2 each
4 1-inch PVC 90 degree elbows$6 each
4 1-inch PVC end caps$1 each
PVC pipe cutter$12
Spray paint$6 (depending on the brand you choose)
Estimated total project cost$53

Please excuse the ugly carpet photos. I got so excited to make this and I put it all together in Jade’s room in half hour! I almost forgot to take pictures. They’ll give you a visual for what you’ll need before you begin building it.


Before You Begin

You must first decide on the size of the book rack. using our pipe cutter, we cut our long pipe that the books were going to rest on to about 30 inches long. We wanted them close together to hold Jade’s smaller books, so we cut the remaining pipe into four 4-inch pieces and four 5-inch pieces, which will be the legs of the stand. Depending on the size you choose, account for a 1/2 inch loss of actual book storage by the time the pipe pieces are assembled together. Even though we cut our longer pipe to 30 inches, we actually had about 28 or 29 inches or so of book room.

How to Construct the Book Racklearnhowto6

  1. Push two of the 5-inch pipes into the cross. use a hammer to make sure the pipes are secured.
  2. Push two of the 4-inch pipes into the top of the cross.
  3. Attach two elbows at the top of the 4-inch pipe.
  4. Repeat this process for the second set of small pipes, elbows and cross.
  5. Attach the two long pipes into the elbows of both sides.
  6. Push on the end caps on the bottoms of the 5-inch pipes to finish it off.
  7. Using a can of paint spray, spray your new book rack.

Pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

We’re still working on a way to add some sort of sliding book-ends to keep her bigger and thinner books upright. Thick books stay up best on the shelf, but if you open the end book up a tad, they all stay on just fine. If you have any ideas, let me know!


This little book storage is just perfect for Jade. She can easily grab whatever books she’d like, and practice putting them back. And, apparently it’s also a new toy for her; I already found her sitting in between the bars. It’s a good thing she’s cute!

Have a wonderful rest of the week, readers!

About the Author: Amanda shares her DIY home decor crafts and projects on her blog Dwelling in Happiness.

Pressed for time, or not confident enough in your DIY skills? Let us help you find the right sources for your home organization needs. Consult our extensive database of furniture and home accessory stores where you can find exactly what you’re looking for.

More in Home Decor

Furniture Makeover: Turn a Beaten Down Dresser into an Entryway Table

Furniture Makeover: Dark and Dreary to Light and Bright

Array ( [0] => 833 [1] => 11 )