Pipe Dreams

Have you ever thought about the possibilities of pipe?

Here’s my idea of fun:  Roaming around or and looking at stuff and thinking of what I can make with it.

I know.  I need to get a life, right?  

I just find it fun to get creative with raw materials.  What an item is intended for doesn’t necessarily lock the item into that role.  The fun part is thinking about what else an item can be. 

Recently I had to fabricate some enormous draperies, made of burlap, for a restaurant in Woodstock, Georgia.  I was working with my friend and fellow designer Jordan Woodruff.  She was converting an old train station into a restaurant for her client.  Her vision included “industrial” lighting and hardware. 

Not only was industrial the look she wanted, but the width of our expanse of drapery and the weight of it all definitely required heavy-duty goods.

Galvanized pipe (the lighter weight kind used in plumbing) was the solution.  We were able to use “T” joints and corner pieces to install them, and we used bolts to attach them to the ceiling beams.  It looked great!

Galvanized pipe or copper pipe are some of those hardware store finds I love to consider creatively.

Jordan is also working on a long dining table for that same restaurant using re-claimed wood beams from a demolition and the base will be galvanized pipe!  It’s not complete yet, but it will be so good-looking!

If you do some Internet research, you will find lots of examples of great stuff you can make with galvanized pipe or copper pipe.  And the really great thing about it is it doesn’t take a lot of equipment or skill to make stuff from pipe.

For example, on our rod, we simply measured the length we needed and the guys at Lowe’s cut and threaded the pipe for us at no charge, so that we could screw it into the corner pieces.  It was so easy!

It is really easy to make a coffee table or end table from copper pipe.

Copper pipe is soft enough to cut yourself with an inexpensive tool.  Using the ready-made corner and joining pieces is super easy and having a piece of glass custom cut and finished is inexpensive and also easy.  Better yet, recycle another piece of glass you already have!

You can make an entire bed from Galvanized pipe.  It does require some joint adhesive, but what you end up with it very chic and sturdy.  Like almost anything these days, you can find instructions online.

Another fun hardware store find that you can get creative with is PVC pipe.  It is paintable, not too hard to cut, and also comes in a wide variety of diameters with an equally wide variety of joints and corners.  It’s as easy to cut as copper pipe, maybe even easier because you can use your chop saw.  The adhesive at the joints is optional, depending on what you are going to do with your creation.  You can also drill into PVC easily which allows for easy pattern enhancing like this umbrella stand demonstration.

I’ve only barely scratched the surface of what you can find to feed your creativity in the hardware store.  Listing three different types of pipe in these examples is just the beginning of what you can come up with.  Need some inspiration?  There is actually a book available of hardware store decorative projects.  

You guessed what’s on my Christmas Wish List, right?

Open your eyes to the possibilities in your favorite .  Let your imagination run free!  But don’t run in the isles.  They frown on that...


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