Copper Stand

Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • ~32" (~80cm) 1/2" copper pipe (can be in three 1' or ~30cm sections)
  • The following connector pieces (called couplings):

  • Two copper-to-copper elbows (1⁄2” x 1⁄2”, 90-degree), receptacle to receptacle
  • Two copper street connector elbows (1⁄2” x 1⁄2”, 90-degree), receptacle to connector
  • Four copper slip caps (1⁄2”)
  • Four copper slip tees (1⁄2” x 1⁄2” x 1⁄2”)
  • cyanoacrylate glue
  • Optional

  • Nitrile gloves
Tool list
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • 1⁄2” copper pipe cutter
  • heavy work gloves
  • Small bowl of water
  • utility knife

    Preparing Your Pieces

  1. Protect your hands with work gloves—there are sharp edges and tiny iron filings left on the metal can easily become splinters.
  2. Use your tape measure and pencil to mark your copper tubing so you can cut one 8" (20cm) piece, two 6" (15cm) pieces, two 4" (10cm) pieces, and two 1” (3cm) pieces.
  3. To cut the pipe, loosen the pipe cutter and slide a piece of pipe in, lining up the blade with the mark you have made. Tighten the knob securely. Holding the pipe steady, turn the cutter one full rotation around the pipe (or you can turn the pipe itself, whichever you find easiest). Tighten the cutter again one turn and wind it around the pipe again. Continue to tighten and turn, watching to make sure the line is staying in one place, until the pipe is cut through. (TIP: start by cutting a 1” piece. There’s a little bit extra included in the kit so you can practice your first cut.)
  4. Gather your pieces and the glue, along with a small amount of water.
  5. Lay out your pieces according to the photo, then put them all together to test your project before you glue it. This is called a “dry fit”.
  6. Gluing Tips - read this section (steps 6-11) BEFORE you move on to step 12 and begin your actual gluing.

  7. First, read the instructions on the glue bottle for best use and safety tips. Wear nitrile gloves to protect your fingers. For each piece, you will follow these steps:
  8. You will wet the inside of the coupling (e.g., elbow or tee) or cap.
  9. Next, you will run a thin line of glue inside the coupling, just down from the edge as shown. Make sure it’s not enough that it will squeeze out and make a mess. This glue expands and you don’t want it to be visible.
  10. Next, you will fit the coupling over the pipe piece.
  11. When you're done, rest it flat to dry. Glue will start to set in about 20 minutes, and fully dry in 1 to 2 hours.
  12. Once it's dry, you may need to clean up any glue that leaks out of the joints. A utility knife will scrape this away easily (make sure you are wearing gloves and cut away from your hands).
  13. Gluing and Assembling

  14. To build the first leg, start with a cap and a “street connector” elbow as shown. The elbow is a 90° coupling that has one fat receptacle end and one thin connector end. Run the glue inside the cap (as described above) and slip the cap over the thin connector end of the elbow.
  15. Now glue the receptacle end of the street connector to one end of a 4” (10cm) pipe.
  16. Glue the other end of the 4” (10cm) pipe into one arm of a tee coupling as shown.
  17. Glue a 1” (3cm) pipe piece into the other arm of the tee as shown. Glue a cap onto the end of the 1” piece. This is your first leg. Lay it flat on a clean surface and adjust to make sure it lays flat: the capped elbow (or “toe”) and the tee are lined up with each other to make a flat "F" shape.
  18. Assemble the second leg in the same way.
  19. To build the backrest, glue one a receptacle/ receptacle elbow to each end of the 8” (20cm) pipe piece, keeping the elbows pointing straight down as shown.
  20. Glue the 6” (15cm) pieces into each open elbow. Set aside to dry for 10–15 minutes.
  21. To assemble your finished project, glue the arms of the backrest into each of the open tees on the legs, so that the capped “toes” face up and the legs are perpendicular to each other (like someone wearing a pair of skis).
  22. Let the stand dry for 24 hours before using. Happy reading!
Extension Challenges
  1. Safety note: when soldering a pipe system together with a torch, it is good safety practice to leave a vent: never make an enclosed pipe system with no planned escape for air, as water heats up and expands to form steam which needs to escape the system quickly. If you want to practice your soldering skills on this project, simply save one of the toe caps to GLUE on with cyanoacrylate glue at the very end after you have soldered the rest of the joints together. Ask a plumber or boilermaker for help with this if you're at all unsure.
Suggest an Edit