How to Make a Rustic Kitchen Island

Increase your kitchen storage and workspace in one day.

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A full day






This mobile kitchen island gives you all the function of any kitchen island you can purchase, with a much lower price tag. And, you can customize the shelf heights to suit your needs.

Tools Required

  • Biscuit joiner
  • Circular saw
  • Clamp
  • Drill/driver
  • Miter saw
  • Straightedge
  • Table saw

Materials Required

  • 1-1/4" Screws
  • 1-1/4” washer-head screws
  • 1” Black steel coupling
  • 1” Black steel floor flange
  • 1” Black steel tee
  • 1” x 12” Black steel nipple
  • 1” x 6” Black steel nipple
  • 1” x 8” Black steel nipple
  • 18 2x6's
  • 3" Swivel casters with breaks
  • Wood glue

DIY Kitchen Island Project

An island is the centerpiece of a kitchen. It is a piece of furniture that you can take chances on aesthetically, it doesn’t need to match the rest of your kitchen, and it can store everything. This rolling, rustic kitchen island takes all of the function of the best kitchen islands on the market and adds personalization options that not many furnishings can offer.

Black steel pipe can be tricky to plan and work with but has some major advantages in this setting. They can be altered, similar to self-leveling legs, to keep the countertop level, they can be customized for different shelf heights and you can try different designs with them, like using more coupling parts or adding rope. Have a free morning this weekend? That’s plenty of time to compete one of these easy home improvement projects.

Tech Art

kitchen island tech artFamily Handyman

Project step-by-step (6)

Step 1

ripping woodFamily Handyman

Prepare the wood

Cut the 2x6s to rough length. Rip off the rounded edges to their final dimension of 4-1/2 in. Check out these cheap kitchen upgrades that make a huge difference.

Step 2

biscuit slotsFamily Handyman

Assemble the shelves

Lay out each shelf, 6 boards wide. Number their order and mark biscuit locations across all the boards. Cut the slots with a biscuit jointer. Glue the edges of the boards, insert biscuits and clamp them together. Check out color ideas for kitchen cabinets.

Step 3

trim shelves with circular sawFamily Handyman

Sand and trim the shelves

Clamp a stop board to the workbench and sand the shelves flat with a belt sander. Continue sanding the shelves up to 180-grit with a random orbital sander. Clamp a straightedge near the end of each shelf and trim off the ragged end with a circular saw. Mark 48 in. from the trimmed end, clamp the straightedge and cut the shelf to finished length. Apply a finish of your choice.

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Step 4

Assemble pipingFamily Handyman

Assemble the black pipe

Black steel pipe comes with a rust-proof coating. Remove it with mineral spirits and a rag to keep yourself and the shelves clean.

Screw the black steel parts together based on the project plans, above. Don’t attach the bottom legs to the rest of the assembly and don’t add the top floor flanges yet. Here are tips on installing a subway tile backsplash and a mosaic tile backsplash.

Step 5

drill holes on kitchen island shelfFamily Handyman

Drill holes in the middle shelf

Mark 4 in. from both ends of the shelf. Center the top pipe “H” assembly on the 4 in. marks and outline the ends of the 6-in. black steel nipples. Drill 1-3/8 in. diameter holes through the shelf at the marked locations with a Forstner bit.

Step 6

assemble rustic kitchen island

Assemble the kitchen island

Slip the pipe legs through the holes in the middle shelf. Connect the top “H” assemblies to the pipe legs and add the floor flanges to the top of the black pipe assemblies. Center the bottom shelf beneath the black pipes. Drill pilot holes through the holes in the floor flanges and fasten them to the bottom shelf with 1-1/4 in. screws. Repeat the process for the countertop.

Flip the kitchen island on its side. Measure 2-in. from the edge and end on the bottom shelf. Drill pilot holes and fasten the casters in place. Find more kitchen island ideas here.