How to Build a Copper Pipe Tray | MountainModernLife.com

How to Make a Rustic Modern Copper Pipe Tray

I love trays and have a few in our home already, but not one that allows me to comfortably sit in bed on my laptop or iPad (with attached keyboard).

I don’t know if you ever saw the DIY pipe tray from Donna of Funky Junk Interiors, but I instantly fell in love the moment I came across it! If you follow my blog you probably know we have worked on quite a few copper pipe projects recently, so I decided to create a similar one using items we already had on hand.

See how easy it is to create this rustic modern copper pipe tray, perfect for your laptop or breakfast in bed! MountainModernLife.com

How to Make a Rustic Modern Copper Pipe Tray

The only item I had to buy more of was Epoxy, which is only necessary if you are using copper pipe since you can’t thread it like other pipes. Epoxy {or some other sort of heavy duty glue} helps adhere the pipes to the pipe fittings without them coming loose, since they can’t be screwed into one another.

Remember that you can customize the size and materials of this tray to whatever you would like.ย  I know this list may sound intimidating, but it’s really not too bad.

Also, I mention using a 10 foot pipe because I know at Home Depot it is more cost effective to purchase {1} 10 foot pipe for $10 rather than a smaller size pipe. In fact, you could get 2 trays out of one 10 foot pipe, and then just purchase additional wood and pipe fittings, or buy them in packs. Then you could make 2 trays for even less money. Maybe give them both as gifts or give one and keep one? Just saying… ๐Ÿ™‚

See how easy it is to create this rustic modern copper pipe tray, perfect for your laptop or breakfast in bed! MountainModernLife.com


Supplies List forย Copper Pipe Tray:

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  • Pipe Cutter {or get the sizes cut at the hardware store
  • Ryobi Miter Saw {or get the wood cut to size at the hardware store}
  • Ryobi Airstrike {you could also just use screws}
  • Ryobi Drill
  • Bar Clamp
  • Materials Used:
  • {1} 10 ft. Copper Pipe {you will have extra left over}
  • {4} Floor Flanges {1/2 inch}
  • {4} Male Adapters {1/2 inch}
  • {4} Elbows {1/2 inch}
  • {4} End Caps { 1/2 inch – not pictured above}
  • {4} Bell Hangers {1/2 inch}
  • {4} 30″ 1×4
  • {2} 12″ 1×4
  • Epoxy
  • Danish Oil or Stain {optional}
  • Wood Glue
  • Measuring Tape
  • Square
  • Pencil
  • Copper Pipe Cut List:
  • {2} 8″ Copper Pipes {1/2 inch} – used for legs
  • {4} 6.25″ Copper Pipes {1/2 inch} – used for legs
  • {2} 7.5″ Copper Pipes {1/2 inch} – used for handles

The first thing I did was cut some of the 1×4 scrap boards we had lying around in the garage. Depending on the project, we sometimes purchase the more rustic looking wood at Home Depot so that it has more character. I wanted this project to be a bit modern rustic so I decided to go with some of the more interesting pieces of wood, especially since I didn’t plan on staining it – just adding some danish oil.

I cut 4 boards to be 30 inches long using our miter saw and then cut 2 additional boards to be 12 inches long. The 4 boards would serve at the top base of the tray and the other 2 pieces would be the support that holds the boards together, and where the handles would be placed.

See how easy it is to create this rustic modern copper pipe tray, perfect for your laptop or breakfast in bed! MountainModernLife.com

I first glued the {4}ย 30 inch boards together, clamped them into place and then used the Ryobi Airstrike {I LOVE that thing!} to attach the {2} 12 inch pieces of wood for support. Since the wood I was using was roughed up a bit and the edges were a bit rustic and not super even, I decided to make these 2 side pieces smaller than the width of the tray.

Once I had the wood section of my tray built, I went over it a few times with some danish oil rather than stain. Then once it was dry I started working on the pipe handles and legs.

There are several different ways you could do the legs, but I decided to use elbows and make “U” shape legs since I had extra pipe and elbows.

See how easy it is to create this rustic modern copper pipe tray, perfect for your laptop or breakfast in bed! MountainModernLife.com

Creating the Copper Pipe Legs:

Once I had cut all of my copper pipes to size, I measured where I waned my legs to go and screwed the flanges into the bottom of the tray first. Afterwards I screwed the male adapters into the floor flanges.

I then began to add the copper pipes and elbows, making sure to add Epoxy to the pipe fittings to make them secure. Usually epoxy comes with a small stick to use, but this pack didn’t so I just grabbed a popsicle and cleaned off the stick. Worked like a charm ๐Ÿ™‚

See how easy it is to create this rustic modern copper pipe tray, perfect for your laptop or breakfast in bed! MountainModernLife.com

ย See how easy it is to create this rustic modern copper pipe tray, perfect for your laptop or breakfast in bed! MountainModernLife.com

See how easy it is to create this rustic modern copper pipe tray, perfect for your laptop or breakfast in bed! MountainModernLife.com

After the copper legs were attached I set some heavy boards on top and let it sit for a few hours just to be sure it was good to go.

See how easy it is to create this rustic modern copper pipe tray, perfect for your laptop or breakfast in bed! MountainModernLife.com

Attaching the copper pipe handles:

Afterwards, I flipped the tray back over and began adding the copper pipe handles using bell hangers. I had purchased a couple packs of these when we did our navy and copper dresser, night stands and DIY curtain rods, so we had just enough left over for this project.

Looking for a rustic modern laptop tray? Check out this DIY Copper Pipe Tray and 14 other Handmade Christmas Gift ideas! MountainModernLife.com

I just measured out where I wanted them, screwed the bell hangers into the side pieces of wood and the screwed the copper pipe inside of the bell hangers. Using epoxy, I glued some 1/2 inch tube caps to the ends of the pipe to make them smoother and give them a more “finished” appearance. {The end caps are not pictured in the photo above}.

Cleaning the Pipes:

By the way, you can clean the pipes with some steel wool and water (or ketchup and salt as seen here), and use high acetone nail polish remover to get rid of the red or blue markings printed on the pipe. This product also works well when it comes to cleaning copper.

Once the pipes are clean you can spray them with some clear sealer to help protect them from getting dirtied up. I decided to hold off on this step until my tray was finished because 1. I’m impatient and 2. I figured I would just dirty them up while putting them together anyway.

And here is the new DIY Copper Pipe Tray all finished, woo-hoo! What do you think?

See how easy it is to create this rustic modern copper pipe tray, perfect for your laptop or breakfast in bed! MountainModernLife.com

See how easy it is to create this rustic modern copper pipe tray, perfect for your laptop or breakfast in bed! MountainModernLife.com

See how easy it is to create this rustic modern copper pipe tray, perfect for your laptop or breakfast in bed! MountainModernLife.com

See how easy it is to create this rustic modern copper pipe tray, perfect for your laptop or breakfast in bed! MountainModernLife.com

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18 Comments
  • LOVE this!!! What a great idea ! And I definitely need to try my hand at some copper pipe DIYs!!!

    September 30, 2014 at 7:40 am
  • This is SO cool!!! I totally want one for myself!!!

    September 30, 2014 at 10:08 am
  • I can send you my address and you can gift this to me! Love it girl.

    September 30, 2014 at 3:12 pm
  • I love the uniqueness of it and I too want to make it for myself.

    September 30, 2014 at 3:41 pm
  • Love this! Definitely need to make one for myself ๐Ÿ™‚ Pinned!

    September 30, 2014 at 7:54 pm
  • SO pretty! I love how finished it looks with the caps on the ends of the handles. You’ve killed it again with the copper projects. (And I totally think you could sell these for big bucks on Etsy!)

    September 30, 2014 at 9:03 pm
  • Ahhh – love it! I’m totally addicted to copper pipe projects still as well! I’m really pushing myself not to make EVERYTHING out of copper pipe – it’s just such a fun material! Your tray turned out so fabulous! I would absolutely love to find it under the tree ๐Ÿ˜‰

    October 1, 2014 at 12:35 am
  • This is such a cool project, like a rustic version of the tray they bring the ladies their breakfast on in Downton Abbey!
    I could channel my inner “rustic Downton Abbey” and have breakfast in bed on a tray like that. Lovely!

    October 1, 2014 at 11:45 am
  • This tray is AMAZING! I wish I was getting this from you for Christmas ๐Ÿ™‚ Seriously, though, this is above and beyond a great DIY project!

    October 1, 2014 at 5:13 pm
  • This turned out beautiful, Katie! I may have to try out some copper projects! You’ve definitely inspired me:)

    October 7, 2014 at 12:47 am
  • Copper is soooo having a moment right now! I’m crushing on this hard! Found you on The DIY Dreamer link up =)

    October 7, 2014 at 4:15 pm
  • Oh my gosh, this is GORGEOUS. I could definitely see one of these sitting on my bed. Thanks for linking up at Link It or Lump It! You’re going to be one of my features this weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

    October 10, 2014 at 5:46 pm
  • Okay, this is such an awesome piece Katie- and I love the copper of the pipes. So pretty!!

    October 10, 2014 at 7:31 pm
  • This looks fabulous! Pinned. We couldn’t think of anyone better to party with! Thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm. http://loulougirls.blogspot.com/
    Happy Saturday! Lou Lou Girls

    October 12, 2014 at 2:58 pm
  • that looks amazing, i love your styling of it.
    b

    October 21, 2014 at 11:03 am
  • Wow the tray turned out to be amazing! Great work! Love the other projects, too. Can’t wait to check them all out!

    October 28, 2014 at 10:29 am
  • This is so cool! I love the copper and wood together. Maybe I can sweet talk my hubby into helping me make one of these if I offer to bring him breakfast in bed on it. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Found you on Merry Monday)

    November 17, 2014 at 12:57 pm

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