How to Make a Copper Pipe Towel Rack

I like my towels to be completely dry when I need them, but I'm not a fan of traditional towel bars. So, I sat down with a pile of towels and a bundle of copper plumbing pipes and came up with this design. There's enough space to fully hang-dry two regular-sized bath towels, a couple of hand towels, and a shelf for what-have-you.

Full shot of copper towel rack
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 1

To cut each piece of copper pipe, measure and mark a cut line on the pipe, using a pencil or marker.

Marking a cut line
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 2

Slide the tubing cutter over the pipe, aligning the blade with the cut line. Tighten the knob on the bottom until it is snug—enough to hold it in place but not so much that the cutter can't be rotated around the pipe.

Aligning the cutter
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 3

Turn the pipe and, with each revolution, tighten the knob a half turn. Each time this is done, the scoring mark should become clearer.

Scoring the copper
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 4

After a few revolutions, the copper should come apart easily.

Detail of cut copper
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 5

Shine the copper with steel wool.

Shining the copper
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 6

To join the pipe segments to the fittings, apply the glue in a thick ring on the inside of the fittings.

Applying the glue
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 7

When joining the pipe with the fittings, give the pipe a few turns to more evenly disperse the glue.

Joining the pipe and fittings
credit: Hom

Step 8

Join together six pieces at 2 inches, two pieces at 30 inches, and four T-fittings, as shown.

Copper assembly
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 9

Add two 90° elbow fittings to the front and two T-fittings to the back, as shown.

Copper assembly
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 10

Add to the back two pieces of pipe at 7 3/8 inches, one piece at 30 inches, and two T-fittings.

Copper assembly
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 11

Add to the front two pieces at 7 3/8 inches, one piece at 30 inches, and two T-fittings.

Copper assembly
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 12

Add to the top four pieces at 2 inches, four 90° elbow fittings, and two pieces at 7 3/8 inches.

Copper assembly
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 13

For the legs, attach two pieces at 12 inches, two end caps, two T-fittings, and one piece at 30 inches.

Copper leg assembly
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 14

Add two pieces at 26 inches.

Copper leg assembly
credit: HomeMade Modern

Set aside the copper to let the glue dry.

Step 15

Sand the 1 x 8 with an orbital sander.

Sanding
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 16

Use a piece of sandpaper to "break" or slightly soften the sharp edges.

Breaking the edges
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 17

Wipe away all sawdust.

Wiping away sawdust
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 18

Apply one coat of polycrylic finish.

Applying polycrylic
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 19

Once the polycrylic finish is completely dry, center the copper assembly on the board.

Centering the copper
credit: HomeMade Modern

Step 20

Attach the copper assembly to the board using four copper tube straps and 1/2-inch screws.

Attaching the copper
credit: HomeMade Modern

Flip the rack over and attach to the legs. Bask in the glory of your accomplishment.

You can attach this rack to your bathroom wall with 8 to 12 1/2-inch copper tube straps.

Empty towel rack
credit: HomeMade Modern
Detail of shelf corner
credit: HomeMade Modern
Detail of copper pipe joints
credit: HomeMade Modern
Full towel rack
credit: HomeMade Modern
Alternate uses for the shelf
credit: HomeMade Modern
Full shot of alternate shelf usage
credit: HomeMade Modern