Mid-Century Industrial Storage

Monday, May 5, 2014 -

This is one of those projects I'm having a reeealy hard time selling. 

You see, it all started a couple months ago at a casino flea market (classy, I know). Bryce was trying to wrangle our boys while I quickly ran through the aisles, browsing. I spotted a cool, industrial metal shelving unit. Not thinking it would be in my price range, I asked the owners "how much". 

Ten bucks!

I do not drive a large vehicle, but my boys both sit in a very large car seat. Before I pulled the trigger, I called the husband, gave him estimated measurements, and asked if he thought we could squeeze it in my car. As soon as I heard the word "probably", money was exchanged. When the husband found us, he made a nasty face. He couldn't see "the vision".

Long story short, there was no way we were going to shove this heavy metal shelf into my car. Not even close. So, I sweet-talked a security guard into storing it in his trailer while I drove an hour home, dropped off the family, and drove an hour back. All for a $10 office bookshelf. 

The first step was to scrape off all the darn, paper labels stuck on it. I don't know who "Zaida" is, but she must be important because she had 3 cubbies and everyone else had only 1.

Then, I got my weld on and fabed up 4 DIY hairpin legs. I've been wanting to try hairpin legs for months now, and was surprised how easy they were. Don't fear, step-by-step tutorial coming soon!

Once the legs were built and clear coated, I attached them to the bottom of the shelving unit, using self tapping, sheet metal screws.

I decided the cubbies were cool, but needed something extra. So, I came up with the brillant idea to make a stained wood box for. each. one. If you are observant, you may have counted 30 compartments in the "before" photo. Yes, 3-0!

I went cheap and cut up 2 whole sheets of 3/8" plywood.

Don't have a vehicle to pick up a whole sheet of plywood? You can usually get someone at the hardware store to cut it down for you, or you can even order it online. Here is a link for similar plywood to what I used: 3/8" Birch Plywood, 12" square.

Aren't family members great? I own a small and very crappy miter saw. My father in law owns a DEWALT 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw. The man is kind enough to let me borrow his awesome saw on an almost permanent basis. Love that man.

Since the dividing walls of the cubbies are sloped, I decided so should the sides of the boxes. I found the angle of the dividing wall, and cut off the corner of my side pieces at the same angle.

Several hours, hundreds of finish nails, and a bottle of wood glue later, I had 30 sloped wood boxes. Each box received a coat of Minwax stain in Dark Walnut, and they were ready for jewlery. 

D. Lawless Hardware, generously donated 30 Antique Copper Cabinet Label Holders  (the same kind I used on my milk paint card catalog).

I've discovered, if you are going to do something 30 times, its worth it to make a jig. I quickly put this jig together using scrap plywood, and it made it easy to attach the label pulls perfectly centered every time.

All that was left was to print off some labels, grab some books, and it was ready! I love it!

I think the  Antique Copper Cabinet Label Holders worked well to give an vintage industrial look to the rustic wood.

As I was placing books in the boxes I kept thinking "I knew I had more antique books than this." After I was done taking photos, I turned and saw my bookshelf full of old books. Duh! (palm to forehead). Oh well.

I am so glad I figured out hairpin legs and can't wait to share with you guys!

So what do you think? Was I crazy? Or do you share "the vision"?

Let's be friends! Follow along, so you never miss a post

*This post contains affiliate links

If you dig the vintage industrial look, check out my:

+ World Market "Aiden" Coffee Table knock off
Industrial Farmhouse Table
+ Zinc Top Coffee Table

Linking at:
Savvy Southern Style
The DIY'ers BlockPartyGREEN wILLOW POND Tiny Sidekick The Pin Junkie Liz Marie Blog  Glitter, Glue & Paint


  1. I'm learning, you can't keep everything you create-even if you love it. Soon, something will come along and take its place. Loving the hairpin legs. working on two projects right now with them. Found a hairpin table on a curb, that I am turning into a game table and a set of 4 I got at a garage sale for $4. She only wanted a dollar, but I told her I was giving her more or I would really be REALLY stealing. There is something about the "industrialishiousness" of steel and wood together that gets me every time. Kudos.

    La Verne@hopeandsalvage

  2. That is so freaking awesome I can barely stand it! The legs, the labels, the wood.. LOVE IT!

  3. Girl, you got some major skills! I'm totally impressed (+ a little envious).

  4. This turned out so cool! Great work!

  5. Holy Cow!! I can't even imagine how long it took to make all those wood boxes! You are crazy and awesome! I love it and totally see the vision, I am sure someone will snatch this up quick it is amazing! Love the legs too!

  6. omg, you rock! And now you're doing hairpins!! I pay 60 bucks for those things to get shipped to me! (FYI, if you are going to put them on a heavy dresser, make sure you do 3/4" steel) Can't wait to see how you did it!

    1. Thanks Beth! Yeah, I'm way to cheap to let someone else build these. You're so handy, I'm sure you could whip out a set! I just posted the the tutorial today http://www.pneumaticaddict.com/2014/05/diy-hairpin-legs.html.

  7. Love it! Saw this on What We Accomplished Wednesdays.

  8. Oh my goodness, Elisha - this is amazing. I seriously love it! And I especially love that you made your own legs. Definitely heading over to check that tutorial now. Will you please, please come share this with us at The Makers link party?

  9. oh wow! Love it! 30 plywood boxes?! that's some dedication there :)

  10. Wow, this is amazing, I would so not have seen the vision from the before but would love something like this as storage in my jewellery workshop.

  11. This is super fantastic! I am in awe.

  12. You have the patience of a saint! They look great and you've just inspired me to make my own... thank you!

  13. You're not crazy - you're brilliant! I love your vision for this piece and love your fearlessness in accomplishing it! Pinning!

  14. This is AWESOME!!!!!!!! Deff a pinner!! Thanks for sharing this on DIY Sunday Showcase!!! OMG I'm in Aww!


  15. Looks fantastic! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams starts on Fridays :D Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party.

  16. Wow!! That is a great piece. Excited to learn how to do the hairpin legs.

  17. Oh my gosh, such a great find and even better price! I LOVE what you did to transform this space, it looks amazing!

  18. Cool!. the new Industrial Mezzanine Systems are in trends. I have seen many industries have adopted this system. Thanks

  19. Wow, this is amazing, I would so not have seen the vision from the before but would love something like this as storage in my jewellery workshop.

  20. WOW!!! I personally LOVE this!!! I am not sure how I missed this post before, I only found it today from the link in your hairpin dining table post... Anyway, LOVE IT!!!


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