DIY: Make your own stylish metal pipe coffee table

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Standard metal pipes and a table top can come together to make a stylish coffee table.

One foggy Saturday afternoon I found myself looking critically at the house, as if seeing for the first time in months all the niggling tasks that lay in wait: walls to paint; floors to scrub; laundry to fold. I was so overwhelmed by my growing chore list that I almost got up from the couch and set down my sandwich and plate of chips. ALMOST. That was yet another problem: how could I loaf in front of the TV, effectively cataloging all the chores that awaited, when I had no place to set down my lunch plate?

And that’s when it hit me: There was no way I could take care of all my life’s problems without a coffee table. It was just humanly impossible; anyone could see that.

Like the diligent, focused person I am, I carefully balanced my plate on a sofa cushion, grabbed my laptop and began perusing Pinterest for coffee table ideas. Finding a coffee table that would fix my ENTIRE LIFE wasn’t just some simple folly; it required research.

After some time and some more chips and maybe a cookie or two, I found a table style I loved that I could also put together myself. A DIY coffee table? PERFECT!

One quick trip to the hardware box mart and I had all the makings of a wood and metal pipe table. The project is relatively simple and takes about three hours, start to finish — and most of that time is waiting for paint to dry.

What you’ll need:

— 24" x 48" table top

— 8, 6" pipe nipples (3/4 inch diameter)

— 6, T shaped connectors (3/4 inch diameter)

— 4, 10" pipe nipples (3/4 inch diameter)

— 8 flanges (3/4 inch diameter)

— 1, 36" long pipe (3/4 inch diameter)

— 36 wood screws

— Rust-Oleum metal spray paint (optional)

— 4 cups vinegar (distilled white or apple cider)

— 4 cups water

— bucket

— rags

Cleaning the pipes:

Many pipe tables are made with aged or painted pipes. The pipes you’ll find at the hardware store are likely made of a galvanized steel and are silver in color. If you like this color, go with it. If you’d like your pipes to have an aged look, instructions for that process can be found on the Internet.

If, however, you think you’d like to paint the pipes (as in my version), there’s some necessary prep work.

The hardware professional I spoke with advised me to first clean the pipes with a one-part vinegar, one-part water solution. Such cleaning removes a factory laid coating, which will then allow for the paint to adhere to the pipes.

For quick removal: In the bucket, mix a 1:1 solution of water and vinegar. In a well-ventilated area, submerge all the pipe nipples and fittings in the solution for about a halfhour. (NOTE: Chemistry is taking place in the bucket, and a slightly nasty smell may arise.)

While the fittings soak, thoroughly rub down the long center pipe with a solution-soaked rag. Remove the fittings from the vinegar solution and wipe all the pieces dry with a clean rag. (SUGGESTION: Wear a pair of latex household gloves during this process.)

Building the base:

Each vertical table leg is composed of a flange, a 6" nipple, a T connector, a 10" nipple and topped with a flange, all in that order.

The horizontal bars, then, are composed of is a 6" nipple, a T connector and a 6" nipple in that order. Each horizontal bar connects 2 vertical legs.

At this point, you have 2 separate sets of legs, each connected by a horizontal bar. Screw the long, 36" pipe to the T connectors in the center of the horizontal bars, thus connecting both sets of legs.

Painting the base:

Once all the pipes are dried and fitted together, your table base is now ready for painting. In a well-ventilated area, lightly spray the pipes with the metal spray paint. Let the pipes dry and repeat the process until the desired look is achieved.

Once dried completely, connect your table top to the base via wood screws, screwing from the underside of the table.