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How to Build a Shelf for the Side of Your Above Ground Pool

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A helpful tutorial on how to build a great shelf for the side of your above ground pool. This can add a much needed accessory to your pool.


In this tutorial I will show you how to build this shelf to add to your pool. The shelf has many convenient applications.

A great place to have drinks and snacks close by so you don't have to exit the pool every time you need a snack or drink.

It comes in handy to hold goggles, towels, or anything else that you may need a shelf for.

Easily attaches to the side of the pool.

It can be modified to fit your application and pool side.


Pool Shelf Information

There is a parts list included and cutting guide so that the shelf will fit together without issue.

The entire process from start to finish only took me about two hours.

Post your recommendations and pictures of your shelf and customize it to fit your needs for others to see. I will also show you how to customize the overlay on the edge to fit the specific thickness of your frame.

Have fun with your new shelf!!

Pool Shelf Tutorial

The above video is a helpful tutorial to show you the exact assembly and cutting of all the parts.

The video shows, in detail, the steps that I took to make the shelf.


All of the items listed below can be purchased at any local business that supply pvc plumbing parts and accessories.

The strongest and the most reliable size connectors to use would be schedule 40 pvc parts and pipes. They create a stronger bond and have less flexibility than other gauges of pvc.

In the image below you will see the parts needed (for this exact shelf) for the adaptors and connectors

  • 8 Elbows
  • 8 T connectors
  • 4 End caps
  • 6 Union connectors
  • 2 8' sticks of schedule 40 pvc pipe
Scroll to Continue

The piece of Lexan or Plexiglass can also be adjusted to fit your needs. You can use any type of material that won't be affected by water. If the clear appearance doesn't fit your taste, an opaque material can be used. For example, a resin cutting board. This is a great option because of its thickness and durability.

Note: In my build I used all connectors that need to be glued together. If you would like to remove the shelf and disassemble, these connectors all come with threaded connections. This way you could remove parts and adjust later or make the shelf easy for transport if so desired.

PVC parts


Below is the size cutting picture for the various pieces

Depending on the size of the side rails of your pool, these can be adjusted to fit.


  • The top 3.5" pieces can be cut to different widths. 5", 8", 10", 12" etc.
  • The angled (in the image) 10" pieces can also be altered to fit the width of the side support posts on the side of the pool
  • The adjustment of the sides will have to be determined on an individual basis
  • There are many rail widths of pools. This part of the assembly will have to take some measuring and fore thought to get the exact width that is necessary for your pool

Cut Piece Layout


Cut Piece Information

To reiterate:

The 3.5" pieces can be altered to fit the proper width of the top rail of your pool.

Depending on the specs or dimensions of your top rail the dimensions of the 3.5" top rail mounts will vary.

Keep in mind that the side support vertical bars that support the sides of the pool may be spaced differently. In my example I used the 10" pieces (lower right and left of the image). You may need to make these shorter or longer depending on the spacing of your vertical rails.

Tools Needed


Tools Needed

  1. PVC Glue
  2. PVC Cutter
  3. PVC Saw
  4. Drill
  5. Tape Measure
  6. 1/4" Drill bit

Happy Creating and Enjoy

Hopefully the pool shelf gives you as much joy as it has my family.

The shelf has so many applications and variances.

It can be modified to your needs and imagination. You could add a hanger for towels, goggles, pool floats, brushes, etc. Whatever you can think of. The great thing about using pvc is it can be painted to match your decor and modified easily with just a few connectors.

I hope it works for you and you are able to create the perfect space for anything you may want to set on the shelf.

© 2015 James


Lydia on August 03, 2020:

I made mine and modified it to fit my hard side pool.

Dana on July 11, 2020:

I just made this and the directions are great. I read somewhere that PVC pipes should be painted if they are left outside. Did anyone paint theirs? And if so what type of paint is safe for the pool?

Jake on June 24, 2020:

If you want to break it down for storage, glue everything except the middle braces in the Ts...then use bolts long enough to go through the entire T and plexiglass...end of year, unscrew, unattach the braces, store bolts in capped ends and stowaway

Rob on June 14, 2020:

Thanks great idea love you included supply list very informative video

James (author) from Florida on June 14, 2020:


That sounds like a real nifty idea. May keep falling leaves and some bugs out also.

James (author) from Florida on June 14, 2020:


Technically PVC will hold when not glued. I still recommend gluing because it could still come apart in some areas. It will hold somewhat, but not as good as glue.

Arin on June 14, 2020:

Do you have to glue it all together? I would like to be able to take apart for storage in the winter.

Mimi on June 11, 2020:

Awesome idea! I am going to give it try. I think I would like a top over it that would shade my drink and phone.

Michele D. on March 03, 2020:

Thanks for these great directions! Very much appreciated!

Sla on July 23, 2019:

Awesome video and instructions! Thank you!

Maxiel on July 01, 2019:

Awesome idea - very creative!!

Rdl on July 01, 2018:

Very good idea. Thanks for the supply list.

v jones on July 10, 2017:

Awesome idea. Enjoyed watching the tutorial.

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