Ikea Hack: Copper Pipe Towel Rail Shelf

When we bought our first house, we spent an entire year renovating and decorating before we moved in. It definitely needed it, but doing the entire house at the same time was pretty overwhelming and we made so many decisions all at once that we realised once we started living there that some of them might not have been the best. So, when we moved into our current house in May last year we decided to live here a while and decorate much more slowly! 

The first room we've finished (aside from the spare room that we quickly spruced up for my sister when she moved in) was the downstairs toilet - glamorous right?! It's a tiny little space, so much so that there wasn't enough room on the sink to keep the hand soap! We also needed a rail for a hand towel and nothing I could find fit the bill, everything was too big, too chrome plated or too expensive to justify given it's just the downstairs toilet! 

So, I refashioned the classic bekvam spice rack from Ikea and hung it upside down so the bottom became a little shelf for the hand soap and a few bits and bobs, and the rail made to hold the spices became a rail for a hand towel. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It's just the right size for the space and the copper pipe ties it in to the rest of the room perfectly! The spice rack itself was £3, and I bought a 50cm length of copper pipe on eBay for about £6 so it's super cheap too! 
If you'd like to make one too you'll need:

Bekvam Spice Rack
22mm diameter copper pipe
Piper cutter
Paint/varnish or wood stain (I did one coat of a pale grey acrylic paint but wasn't happy with the colour so I lightly sanded it off and used this darker grey interior wood varnish. We used it in our old house on the bannisters and I still had a little left so it was basically free!)

First you need to cut the copper pipe to the same length as the rail of the spice rack. I didn't measure it, just lined it up and marked the point I needed to cut. Remember not to include the two tabs at the end as these will be pushed into the side panels of the spice rack, the pipe only needs to be the same length as the wider, visible part of the rail.

Use a pipe cutter to cut the pipe to length. Make sure the blade of the cutter is lined up to the mark and tighten it up. Twist the cutter around the pipe a few times until you can't feel any more resistance, then tighten it a little more, and twist again. Keep doing this until you've cut all the way through, and make sure not to tighten it too quickly or you'll squash your pipe! 

If there are any bar codes or letters printed on the pipe you can polish them off with a little bit of abrasive cleaner (or I've heard nail varnish remover and ketchup will also work!) and remove the pen mark you made too. 

Slide the pipe onto the wooden rail, it will be quite a tight fit and mine would only go on one way. You may need to sand the rail slightly but a tight fit is good as it won't slide around and cause your towel to fall off! 

Next paint or stain all the other wooden parts, but don't paint the edge with the metal fixings as you'll need to remove them later, plus that edge will be against the wall! 

Give the whole thing two or three coats depending on the paint you're using. The edges may need a light sand in between coats to avoid getting a build up of paint.

When it's dry, assemble the spice rack as per Ikea's ever helpful instructions and admire your handiwork! 

The spice rack hangs on the wall from two screws, and as it will be mounted to the wall upside down the last thing to do before hanging it is to remove the metal fixings on the back and re-attach them upside down too! 

Hang on the wall, add your hand soap, a hand towel and a succulent in a 60's egg cup (non-optional) and you're done!


  1. There are so many Ikea spice rack hacks out there, but this one is probably the most genius I have seen! :-) Tempted to copy for our kitchen one day! x

    1. Aw thank you so much! They do seem to pop up all over the place don't they - I'm going to buy a few more next time we go just in case! x

  2. Love your copper ikea hack!
    xx Jess xx