I love the look of copper and how it brings in a metallic element while still remaining casual.
There are countless copper DIYs out there, but I knew I wanted to start with a floor lamp. No bending, just a few parts, and minimal cutting required! For this project, I was inspired by this West Elm lamp.
It’s minimal, beautiful, and I had a feeling could be easily mimicked for a fraction of the $250 price tag. Ours is obviously copper instead of antique brass, and we played with the shape to make it a bit more narrow.
While this DIY isn’t for the total novice, it’s not too difficult either. If you’re familiar with a few tools, you’ll be in good shape. Here’s what you’ll need:
Once we had the supplies, we set up the three pipes and wrapped them with a bungee to get an idea of how we wanted it to sit once complete. This way, you can tweak the level at which you want the pipe to gather, and make adjustments to how wide the legs will sit on the ground.
Once we were happy with an overall position, we marked the pipes to make a height adjustment. Using a manual pipe cutter, we cut each pipe to length. Then I did a quick buff of the copper using the steel wool. You’ll inevitably get fingerprints on the copper after this point, but a good initial buffing will get all of the dirt and printing off and make it nice and shiny, and you won’t have to worry about trying to buff the crevices later.
Next, Vito cut an equilateral triangle out of a piece of scrap plywood (or you can use a nicer piece of 1″ stock because you’ll see it from underneath when sitting), placed it at the top of the lamp and traced on the wood where the pipe would meet. He then drilled the traced holes – being sure not to go all the way through the plywood. He also drilled a hole in the center of the top plate to mount the lamp kit.
We then quickly stained the plywood – totally optional. The plywood is where you’ll mount the lamp kit, and it also helps keep the lamp more stable.
Next, drill a hole at both ends of one pipe (on the sides) to run the lamp wire through. Use a centerpunch first to make an indentation to drill the hole.
Then, use an epoxy to glue the pipes in the holes in the top plate and epoxy or solder the pipes together. Epoxy or solder the pipe caps as feet. Use a bungee to hold the center together while the epoxy sets. Fish the wire through the pipe and connect the it to the two screws on the lamp socket. Last but not least, you’ll want to use the steel wool again to polish the entire lamp, and add a light coat of clear spray sealer to prevent from tarnish and more fingerprints.
I think this copper project was pretty successful, and loves the way it looks in the corner of our living room. The best part is that everything (no including the shade which I already had) came in at under $40! Not bad considering the West Elm lamp is $260!
Have you ever played around with copper? What did you make?