I’ve been wanting to try a project with copper pipe for a long time, but I’ve been intimidated. For no reason, because while it may look complicated, it’s really not hard to make a table with copper pipe. The most challenging part is planning out the design, and I’ve done that for you with this table. Of course, you can always adjust it if you’d like. Make it shorter, or slightly taller by changing the leg lengths. If you want, you can even leave off the second shelf, although the supports need to stay. But for the shelves, if you don’t like the rustic look of log slices, you could cut and finish plywood rounds, or use pre-made wood rounds. The top round could even be a bit larger in diameter, for more surface area for whatever you want to put on it.
Which brings me to my pipe table. I tried it as a plant stand with a couple of different configurations of plants from my growing indoor jungle. I may need to leave room for a coffee cup, though, because it would be the perfect table for holding a drink while I read in my hanging rattan chair. But I have a feeling that my plants will eventually take over the whole table and turn it into a plant stand. They’re aggressive like that.
Click through to learn how to make your own copper pipe table or plant stand.
12 feet of 1/2-inch copper pipe – It comes in 10 feet, 5 feet, and 2 feet sections so you can use any combo of those, though the 10 feet is the least expensive per foot.
8 1/2-inch copper tees
4 1/2-inch copper 90-degree elbows
4 1/2-inch copper tube caps
6 1/2-inch copper pipe hangers/tube straps
20 1/2-inch-long screws
Large wood slice, at least 11 inches in diameter
Smaller wood slice, 9-10 inches in diameter
Glue – I used Original Gorilla Glue
Wood sealer (optional) – I used a clear satin polyurethane
If you want to seal your wood with wood sealer, you should do that before you begin. It’s a good idea if you want to protect your wood from damage, especially if you’ll be setting plants or mugs on top.
For shinier copper, give your pipes a scrub with a metal polish, like Brasso. Or if your pipes come with manufacturer’s markings you want to remove, try acetone nail polish remover.
I’ll just assume that you’ve already done these parts.
1.First, cut out your pipe pieces with the pipe cutter. Using a pipe cutter is actually really easy. Just tighten it around your pipe enough so that you can just rotate it, give it a twirl or two, tighten, and repeat until the pipe is cut. The only trick is that for the first round or two, you need to make sure that the circle you’re etching into the pipe isn’t turning into a spiral.
Here are the lengths you’ll need:
(4) 18 inches
(2) 6 3/4 inches (read the next step before you cut these pieces)
(6) 6 inches
(6) 3 inches
Cut the largest pieces first, then the next largest, and so on, to make sure that you don’t end up with two 9-inch pieces when you need one 18-inch one.
If you want to adjust the height, you can change the length of either the 18-inch pieces (the top part of the legs), or the 6-inch pieces (the bottom of the legs). This table is 27 1/2-inches tall including the wood top, and for stability, I wouldn’t go too much taller. If you want a short table, you could leave off the 6-inch leg sections entirely, though you won’t be able to add the end caps unless you cut some tiny legs to insert in the bottom tees.
2. You’ll want to dry fit everything to make sure it fits together properly before you start gluing.
Start with the top, and assemble like this:
The corners should all have elbows.
In order for your base to be square, you need the span made up of two elbows, a tee, and two 3-inch pieces, to be the same length as the span made up of two tees and the 6 3/4-inch piece. Assemble the side with the 3-inch pieces first and measure it. It should be around 8-inches. If it’s much larger or smaller due to connector variations, adjust the length of the 6 3/4 inch pieces. Obviously you can’t lengthen it if you’ve already cut it, so if you suspect you might need it to be longer, cut it longer and then shorten it as needed. There’s some wiggle room based on how far you shove the pipe into the connectors.
3. Insert the 18-inch leg pieces into the elbows.
4. Now assemble the next tier/support piece the same as you did for the top, but use tees on the ends, instead of elbows.
5. Orient the 6 3/4-inch middle piece so that it’s perpendicular to the same piece on the top layer. Slide the four tees of the support piece onto the legs. Your table should look like this:
6. Now add the 6-inch legs, and cap with the tube caps.
7. Disassemble, and re-assemble with glue. The Gorilla glue I used says to moisten the surfaces to activate it, so I ran a damp rag inside the connectors before I squirted a layer of glue into them and inserted the pipe.
After you’ve assembled everything, put the table on a sturdy, flat floor, press down on it, and wiggle it a little bit until it’s nice and level and the feet sit evenly on the floor. Leave to dry overnight, or at least a couple of hours.
8. Fasten the tabletop to the pipe base by screwing on four pipe hangers.
9. Attach the wood piece to the second tier with screws and two pipe hangers.
Unsealed, the copper will naturally patina over time, which is fine with me. But if you don’t want that to happen, people say you can seal it with a clear sealer.