Build a Wall Mounted Bookshelf
This is the second post, and second bookshelf, in a series of projects about the remodeling of my office. I will walk through the steps that it took me to create the wall mounted bookshelf that you see above. There are a couple of unique features of this bookshelf:
- It is mounted directly to the wall in only six places. It does not get any support from the floor or ceiling.
- The shelves are mounted directly to the pipes with the use of a fixing pad.
- All of the pipe is interconnected in an "S" type configuration, giving the whole bookshelf unit a very unique look.
A Bookshelf that is Beautiful
Part of my goal was to design something totally unique. I didn't just want a bookshelf, I wanted something that looked amazing, providing both form and function. What I ended up with was the following design:
The "S" type design was something completely different from what I had seen in other bookshelves. The design is also practical: interconnecting all the pipes in the structure gives the entire unit stability. There's also a quaint simplicity in the shelf, the pipe is minimal bringing focus to the dark wood shelves and books. In the end, I was very, very pleased with the result. I hope you'll be inspired by this design to do something unique for yourself. And now, on to the details!
Materials for the Bookshelf
Most of the projects that I build involve the use of Kee Klamp pipe fittings, and this project is no exception. The Kee Klamp fittings keep all the pipe connected together to form the structure of the bookshelves. The shelves attach to the pipe structure through the use of another Kee Klamp fitting: the fixing pad.
Parts you'll need for the legs
- 5 x Custom wood shelves
Cost: This is not a cheap project, I was paying more attention to what I wanted than budgetary numbers. The fittings and pipe for this project will cost you around $370. The only other cost you have is your custom shelves and a few screws. If you are building your shelves yourself, you could probably do this entire project for right around $400. That's relatively inexpensive when it comes to custom furniture.
Just like my pole mounted bookshelf, I had my shelves made by a contractor. What kind of wood you use, and how you finish your shelves is entirely up to you!
A Few More Design Notes
The length of the wall pipes depends on the depth of your shelf. You want to make sure that the pipe comes out from the wall so that it supports the shelf in the center. My shelves are about 8" deep. I used about 4" of pipe so that the horizontal pipes would run right down the middle of the shelf.
Make the shelves long enough so that they rest on top of the fittings on either end of the shelf, and the fixing pads in the middle. That will give you four points of contact on the shelf and keep the shelf from warping under the heavy weight of books. In the picture below you can see how the shelf is long enough to overlap onto the fittings on the end.
When determining the size of the bookshelf find the wall studs. Because this shelf is going to be cantilevered off the wall, you really want to make sure that you hit a stud or some sort of wall reinforcement. You really don't want to see all your books laying all over the floor because the screws come ripping out of the wall!
Here is a quick look at the layout of the fittings. This layout shows all the fittings without the vertical and horizontal pipes:
Mounting the Bookshelf Supports to the Wall
The first step in mounting the bookshelf to the wall is to determine where you start. From there, everything goes pretty quickly. Starting at the bottom you're going to begin progressively constructing the pipe structure. The level is your best friend! That and a friend to help you hold the level! :) Once you make your first connection, you could literally build the rest of the shelf by installing the next piece of pipe and using a level to ensure that your shelf supports are parallel to the ground.
Test fit the shelf after you get the first section of the support in place to be sure that you've measured everything properly. You want to check for that overlap on both ends of the shelf. That is very important.
When you install the horizontal cross pipes, be sure to slip on the fixing pads. You'll be using those later to connect the pipe to the bookshelf. Additionally, make sure you get the fixing pad going all in the same direction!
One of the advantages to using Kee Klamp is that there will be some play for you to adjust the pipe in the fittings even after the shelf has been mounted to the wall. The set screws in the fittings can easily be loosened and tightened. This is a big difference between using threaded pipe and Kee Klamp - adjustability!
Attach the Bookshelves
As I mentioned above, you want to make sure that the shelf is resting against the horizontal pipe in four places: on each end and on the two fixing pads. If you follow my design it should work perfectly. The fixing pads have a hole in them. Put a screw through that hole into the shelf to hold the shelf onto the fixing pads.
I butted my shelves directly against the wall. That gives the shelf additional support and keeps it from torquing the pipe when you load it up with books.
Tighten the set screws in the fixing pads and then screw the shelf to the fixing pad. After you attach the shelf, then you can use your level to ensure that you have the shelf level (front to back). If it is not level (left to right) then you can play with the fittings on the ends (hopefully you've already leveled this portion of the support structure).
Job Done! Stack on the Books
The bookshelf mounts to the wall pretty quickly. Once you've got everything in place, go through the entire unit and give the set screws an additional turn. This will ensure that nothing slips when you start to add the weight of the books.
With these steps I've shown you how to construct your very own wall mounted bookshelf. Kee Klamp leaves a lot of room for creativity. The shelves could snake along the wall in all kinds of ways. Be sure to give your shelves the proper support, but go for it and have fun with your design process. If you need help, our projects team is here to answer your questions and advise you on the different fittings at no cost at all.
When you're done, be sure to send us pictures and information about your project. If you do, we'll send you a Simplified T-shirt. If you're in need of further inspiration, check out the bookshelf project category where you'll find numerous bookshelf designs all built with Kee Klamp pipe fittings.