Friday, August 8, 2014

DIY Marble-Top Copper Plant Stand

I can hardly contain my excitement for this DIY! I spent a few days gathering materials and talking over the design with my husband, but the actual project I tackled in about three hours on an afternoon when my husband was in Richmond for some work things. It was finished when he got home and I was practically squealing and jumping up and down and demanding high fives the second he walked in the door. I don't think I've ever been more proud of something I made myself!

Here are the details. I've been wanting to work with copper pipes (the kind you get in the plumbing aisle at the hardware store) for a long time. I've seen cool projects here and there that use them and I love the look of metals in our home. So I started dreaming and decided that a copper pipe plant stand with a marble top would be gorgeous and totally my style.

Believe it or not, the marble top is a single floor tile that cost $3.98 at Lowe's. I spent a few minutes sorting through the box to find the best one, because they all have slightly different marbling patterns, and then headed over to the copper pipe section. I recruited a really nice, helpful Lowe's employee to help me pick out the right supplies. I always find this part of the DIY process sort of amusing. These guys are so used to answering practical, important questions and here I am drawing out a pretty table design on a piece of paper and groping for the right words (elbow joint? soldering outfit?) while they listen patiently and probably think about how silly I am.

I ended up buying about 15 feet of 1/2" copper pipe (I had a good amount left over), 4 "tee" fittings, and 8 "elbow" fittings. And a copper tube cutter.

This project obviously required a bit of math--which is not a strength of mine--and normally I would have asked my husband for help with that part. But for some reason, on the afternoon he happened to be away, I had this burst of confidence that I could figure it out myself and I plunged right in. I'm so glad I did because I really think that part of my pride in this project is that I did it entirely myself from start to finish. Having my husband's help is wonderful, of course, but it was good for me to test my brain in this way and I'm happy to report that the math I did worked perfectly!

Friends, I have to tell you how much fun cutting pipes is. I thought it would be loud and violent and dangerous but all you do is tighten and twist, tighten and twist, and then magically the pipe will break perfectly and cleanly and it's awesome. I loved it. I realize that might be weird but I am my father's daughter, and he admitted to enjoying pipe cutting quite a bit too when I texted him this photo.


Here's a shot of the copper frame all assembled. This design is remarkably sturdy and I didn't even solder (or use liquid nails--a shortcut) the joints. They are all a very tight fit and I didn't see the need once I realized how secure the design was.

Another great discovery was that the marble tile was weighty enough to just sit on top--it's not attached in any way! This is common with marble top tables because marble is so heavy there's little fear of it sliding off. I did glue a square piece of a rubber rug pad to the back so that it didn't slip--a genius idea on the part of the Lowe's employee who advised me.

And really, that was it. No gluing or soldering and it's sturdy as can be. It was my husband's idea to construct the base of the legs like this (the alternative was 4 straight legs with caps on the end) and I think that's the main reason it's so stable.

I've already started thinking of different designs and configurations using these same materials. There's nothing I would change about this little plant stand, but I would love to also design a nightstand, or a coffee table, or perhaps use a slate top instead of marble. The possibilities have no limit.

Have you been working on any projects lately that make you particularly proud? I'd love to hear. 


  1. Oh wow! This table is so cute and what a great idea!

  2. Thanks Alicia! I'm pretty crazy about it myself. :)

  3. I am in love this design! Sorry gotta ago... heading to Lowe's this minute to buy copper pipe....

  4. This is awesome, Kate!! I love copper pipes in bathroom vanities and this is a great way to get that look! Now I want to try something with copper pipes. Seriously, this is such a beautiful, professional-designer like DIY—congratulations! And, whoo, yay Lowe's! I work there and trust me, it's sooo much fun getting in inspired, ambitious people like you!

  5. Hi Sabbie! Your comments are always so much fun :) Thank you! So glad you like it. And how I wish you worked at the Lowe's near me! I bet you're a great source of information for the crazy DIYers who come in.

    Good luck on your brother's room redesign! :)

  6. I love this! About how much did it end up running?

  7. Thank you! No more than about $30 (pipe cutter excluded) plus I had some copper pipe left over. :) The marble floor tile was literally 3 dollars.


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