Here's Why Copper Pipe Is The DIY Material You Never Knew You Needed

03/12/2015 05:57 pm ET

The hardware store is hardly the place you turn to for decorating inspiration, especially if you hit the plumbing aisle ill-informed. Where you see mundane fixes for your leaky sink, the clever minds over at Sweet Paul magazine see beautiful home accessories like trivets, lamp stands and the three easy DIY projects below.

You'll need plenty of copper piping and a pipe cutter in some cases (don't worry, it's not as scary as it sounds), along with a few other supplies you might already have on hand. Check out the three projects below from Sweet Paul magazine's Paul Lowe. For more copper projects pick up a copy of the Spring 2015 issue.

  • Magazine Stand
    Paul Lowe
    Use for magazines, towels, or books. Or, put this one in the bathroom for towels.

    You will need:
    2 18"copper tubing
    2 16" copper tubing
    2 12" copper tubing
    copper pipe cutter
    8 3⁄4" copper pipe elbow fittings
    soldering supplies
    heavy fabric, 16"x24"
    sewing machine
    1. If you didn’t have your hardware store cut your pipe for you, cut all the pieces you need with the lengths listed above.
    2. Use the elbow fittings and assemble the pieces to build your rack like shown in the photo. The 16" pieces are the vertical legs, the 18" lengths are the top pieces that you will hang your fabric from, and the 12" pieces are the base.
    3. Follow the instructions on packaging and solder your joints together. I had never done this before and I simply watched a few videos on Youtube to learn how. The soldering doesn’t look perfect, but I think it’s absolutely charming, and I can brag to friends that I now know how to solder. If you’re not up for soldering, see the tip below and use electrical tape at the joints. Be sure to leave the 4 points where the top elbow fittings meet your vertical legs unaffixed. You will want to be able to take the top bars off to hang your fabric.
    4. Sew a simple 2" seam on each end of your fabric to make a pocket to hold the top pipe bars.
    5. Hang your fabric and reattach the top pieces to the stand.
    6. Fill your stand with copies of Sweet Paul! TIP: You can secure your magazine stand with electrical tape if you don’t want to use solder. It comes in many beautiful colors. Simply wrap electrical tape neatly around each place where your pipe meets a fitting. You can also use Super Glue.
  • Plant Hanger
    Paul Lowe
    Really easy to make, makes a great hostess gift.

    You will need:
    1⁄4" copper tubing pipe cutter
    elastic string
    planting vessel
    pencil & paper
    1. Trace the base of your planting vessel onto paper. Use a ruler and draw an equilateral triangle around your circle.
    2. Measure the sides of your triangle. You’ll need to cut 3 pieces of copper in that size.
    3. Multiply the length of the base by 2.5 and that will be the length of your vertical pieces. You could also just eyeball this and cut 3 equal pieces if you like.
    4. Get a very long piece of elastic and thread it through 1 of your long tubes, then all of the short pieces. Next, thread it through a long piece and then double back down your first long piece and 1 of the short pieces and add your final tube. This will be intuitive when you’re doing it.
    5. Pull your elastic string tight and to form your skinny pyramid shape.
    6. Tie off the elastic at the top with a knot that will keep the elastic taught enough for the pyramid to retain its shape.
    7. Insert your planting vessel, plant something cute in it, and it’s ready to hang!
  • Table
    Paul Lowe
    So easy to make, you can really make one in less than 30 minutes.

    You will need:
    4 3⁄4" copper piping, 18" long
    8 3⁄4" copper piping, 8" long
    2 dowels
    3⁄4" copper piping, 15" long
    4 3⁄4" copper tees
    8 3⁄4" copper elbows
    Super Glue
    tabletop of your choice
    1. Start by gluing the tees to the dowels.
    2. Then glue the tops and bottoms to the tees.
    3. Assemble the rest like the picture using Super Glue. It's really easy.
    4. Let it dry and place your tabletop on top. Ready to use.

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