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DIY Rustic Kitchen Island Made with Pipe

Finished black iron pipe kitchen island on casters

For years my family has complained about the lack of counter space in our small, cramped kitchen. A permanent island would only be in the way and already built islands we found on line were ridiculously expensive. So, after much research, we decided to make our own kitchen island on casters.

In total, this project cost us about $300.00 and a couple of weeks of time. Not cheap, but considering ordering one pre-made was between $800 and $1200… $300 sounded great.

I was able to order all of the parts online through the Lowes website for store pick-up, however, shortly after ordering, we were told they did not have everything and still had to travel to other stores for the missing parts. Now with all of the parts in hand, we can share with you how to make this DIY Rustic Kitchen Island.

Black Iron Pipe Kitchen Island

Materials

  • 3 sheets- 1-in x 24-in x 4-ft Edge-Glued Panel Square Unfinished Spruce Pine Fir Board
  • 9 pieces- 1/2-in x 1-1/2-ft 150-PSI Black Iron Pipe
  • 4 pieces- 10-in L x 1/2-in x 1/2-in diameter Black Steel Nipple Fitting
  • 8 pieces- 1/2-in diameter Black Iron Floor Flange Fitting
  • 6 pieces- 1/2-in x 1/2-in diameter Black Iron Tee Fitting
  • 4 pieces- 3-in Rubber Swivel Caster with Brakes
  • 48 pieces- Size #10- ¾ inch long Wood Screws
  • 4 pieces- 3/4-in One-Hole Strap Conduit Fittings
  • Clear Food-Grade Butcher Block Oil (1-Pint)
  • One Coat Polyurethane- Satin Water-Based (1-Quart)
  • Polyurethane Paint Brush
  • Sandpaper- 400 grit for finishing- 180 for wood sanding
  • Scouring Pads
  • Goo Gone

How to make a Black Iron Pipe Kitchen Island

Step 1.

Working outdoors- Spray Goo Gone onto your 10 inch and 18 inch black iron pipes. Be sure to place the pipes on a surface like cardboard as Goo Gone is orange oil and can stain surfaces. Let the pipes sit for about 15 minutes, then scrub with the scouring pad. After scrubbing all of the pipes, wipe them down with a damp rag to remove any residue.

Step 2.

Lay out your wood on a flat surface or saw horses. Using something small and round (we used a sauce cup from our kitchen) round off the corners on each board with a pencil. Cut on the marks on each corner using a jigsaw. Sand the cuts with 180 grit sandpaper until smooth.

Step 3.

Pick out which piece of wood will be your top, which will be your middle shelf, and which will be the bottom shelf. Set aside your top and bottom and sit the middle shelf board on a flat surface. On each 2 foot side of the board, measure 3 inches in from each corner. On each 4 foot side of the board, measure 5-3/4 inches from each corner in. Your shelf will look like this when marked:

Step 4. 

Using a pencil and something round, round off each corner. (For this I used an old medicine cup as a template since I wanted the rounds smaller.)

Step 5.

Cut out the middle shelf with a jigsaw. Sand the cut edges when finished. Your cut middle shelf should look like this.

Step 6.

Apply the Clear Food-Grade Butcher Block Oil to the top board of the island following the directions on the can. You will want several coats applied to your top for the finish to last. Be sure to allow dry time in between coats and time for curing. Most wood finishes can take days and up to weeks to cure. 

Step 7.

For the middle shelf and bottom shelf board we applied One Coat Polyurethane- Satin- Water-Based. You do not have to add a food safe finish to the middle shelf and bottom board if they will not be in direct contact with food. Be sure to allow plenty of dry time before adding the boards to your pipe frame.

Step 8.

Attach a black iron floor flange fitting to one of the ½ inch diameter by 18 inch long pieces of pipe. To the other end of the pipe, add a T fitting, then a 10 inch piece of pipe and another floor flange fitting. You will need to make 4 of these.

Illustration of floor flange attached to 18 inch pipe, T fitting, 10 inch pipe and 2nd flange.

Step 9.

Now take an 18 inch section of pipe and connect it to the opening on one of the T fittings. You will need to do this to all 4 sections you just assembled.

Step 10.

To join your corner posts together, you will add a T fitting to the exposed end of the 18 inch pipe that sticks out from the corner T fitting. This should give you a corner post, 18 inch pipe, T fitting, 18 inch pipe, and a corner post.

Step 11.

Take the last 18 inch piece of pipe and join together the 2 pieces of frame by attaching the pipe with one end in each available T fitting. You may have to screw and unscrew a few of the joints to get everything tight and where it needs to be. We played with ours quite a bit before getting it to the correct tightness.

Step 12.

Now, if your wood has cured, you can assemble the kitchen island. Start by laying your bottom shelf board onto a flat surface. Take your pipe frame and sit it on top of your bottom shelf board. Break out the ruler because you are going to have to center the frame on the board making sure that there is equal distance between the edge and your flanges. When it is centered, screw the flanges to the board with the ¾ inch wood screws.

Step 13.

Grab your middle shelf board and add it to the pipe frame. Make sure it is centered (the measurements I gave you allotted for some wiggle room) and add 4 of the 3/4-in one-hole strap conduit fittings to the underside of the board so that they are attached to the pipe and the board. This will keep your shelf board from being lifted up if you hit it.

Step 14.

Center the top of your island on to the flanges of your pipe frame and screw them in place. (This was easier done upside down. It also helps with the next step! Just be sure to put down a drop cloth or blanket so that you don’t scratch up your top.) 

Step 15.

While your kitchen island is upside down, add your 3-in Rubber Swivel Casters to the corners on the bottom of the bottom shelf board. Be sure to measure the distance from the edge to keep them even.

Step 16. 

Flip your island right side up. Get some help with this step since once assembled, this is a hearty and strong kitchen island.

After 26 years of living in my small house, I finally have some great extra counter space for rolling out dough. Need extra eating space? Add a couple of bar stools to your island and it can be used as a table. My sons and I really had a lot of fun with this project and I can honestly say, it was worth every dime. Now, off to make some cinnamon rolls!

Finished black iron pipe kitchen island.

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