My Biggest DIY Project EVER

In my Master’s program, we were assigned the Networked Learning Project (NLP).  Our task was to pick something you don’t know how to do, and learn how to do it by researching it on the Internet.  Nobody is allowed to teach you… the Internet is your teacher.  “…These technologies have the potential to fundamentally change the way we think about teaching and learning” (Mishra & Koehler, 2009).  As I began to think about what I wanted to learn for my NLP, I wanted to make sure that I picked just the right task.  I wanted to do something that was worthwhile, and that I would truly enjoy learning to do.  After a few days of brainstorming and discussing with my mom (always a good step!) I came to a decision.

Let me give a little back story on why I am choosing my project.  I am currently in the process of closing on my very first home.  This is a big step in my life, and something that I am very excited, but also very nervous about.  With that being said, I decided that for my Networked Learning Project, I wanted to make something to put in my new home.  I am ecstatic about the fact that this is MY place.  I get to decide how I want to decorate it and I can’t wait to put my own personal touch on my home.

This brings me to my big decision… I am going to build industrial pipe shelves.  I bet I can tell what you’re thinking.  1) What in the world are industrial pipe shelves? And 2) why in the world is THAT what you decided to make? Well, I can answer question number one by showing you a picture of what I have in mind…

(This picture is from Joanna Gaines’ blog At Home, which is hyperlinked below.)

To answer question number two, I had seen shelves like this when I went to the house of a mutual friend.  They had this unique shelving unit on the wall in their dining room, and I was mesmerized.  They were so interesting, and didn’t look terribly difficult to make.  I had put the idea in the back of my mind and knew it would be a while before it was revisited.  When talking to my mom about my possible project ideas, she said, “What about those shelves you really liked?”  To be honest, what better opportunity to make them than for this project!  I do love a good DIY project, and I think it will be the perfect amount of a challenge without being too frustrating.

However, I do think that there will be a bit of a learning curve since this is something I’ve never done before.  Since I’m a novice at this task,  “…it would be a mistake simply to expose novices to expert models and assume that the novices will learn effectively; what they will learn depends on how much they know already” (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000).  I am going into this process with the mindset that I don’t know a ton about building a shelving unit, but that I am willing to learn.  I also can’t wait to brag to all of my house guests that the awesome shelving unit on the wall was made by yours truly.

I have started to take a look at a few resources in order to get more of a direction.  I found an informative page from the one and only Joanna Gaines (seriously, if you don’t watch Fixer Upper on HGTV, you’re missing out!).  Her blog, At Home, has a page detailing how she made industrial pipe shelves.  I also found a blog, called Table and Hearth, that has anecdotes on how to make an industrial pipe shelf.  Both of these resources lay out the materials I’ll need, and step by step instructions on how to create it, so I think they both will be great guides to follow.  In order to actually see someone making them, I stumbled upon this YouTube video of a man named Rick making the shelves, which helped me get a clearer picture of what the process of shelf making entails.

There are a few different styles of the industrial pipe shelves, so I still need to decide how big I am going to make them, and how I want them to look.  But, looking at a few of these resources is a good start.  This is the biggest and most complicated DIY project that I’ve ever done, and I’m beyond excited to be sharing this experience with you!  Stay tuned for updates on how the shelf-building is going.  Hopefully when I check in next, I’ll still have all my limbs!

Read Part 2 and Part 3 of my Industrial Pipe Shelf journey!


Bransford, J.D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (2000). How people Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington: National Academy Press.

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2009). Too Cool for School? No Way! International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved July 22, 2017.


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