Home Hacks

A DIY Display Ladder From Rosy Copper Pipes

June 21, 2016

Take any perfectly sound retail concept—swimsuits, books, leather goods, bikes, kitchenwares (or even all of the above)—add a little coffee bar to the back of it, and suddenly you've got a hub. A place for the neighbors to meet and linger, fuel up, or just stand around swapping local news. All the more likely that they shop.

I was in one of these coffee-shop hybrids this weekend in tiny Bellport, New York; the store, called Seilanna, is still in that wonderful just-opened phase while the manager, Annaliese, restores furniture and expands the inventory. The coffee is excellent, and the hand-woven tunics from Mexico are distractingly lovely, but I was most excited about a piece Annaliese had fashioned herself for display: a copper ladder.

Copper display ladder, from pipes.

We've seen the wonders of copper piping before, in this DIY for a hanging clothing rack that you string rope through and suspend from the ceiling. And we even have a decorative ladder in our Shop that can be used for the express purpose of storing and displaying blankets or linens.

But combined, the supplies and the purpose are more inventive than their parts: Swing by Ace on the way home, free your favorite cloth napkins and and tea towels from an over-stuffed drawer, and decorate that bare swath of wall all in one swoop. It shouldn't set you back fifty bucks.

You'll need lengths of copper pipe (10 for the sides and 4 for the rungs, if you're recreating the one shown above), plus t-shaped corner pieces to fit them all together, and end pieces to cap the feet of the ladder. A blob of rubber cement, or epoxy, will be enough to bind one piece to another for draping with linens—just don't go attempting to climb up it, ever!

Make your display ladder smaller, just two rungs tall, if you have a low piece of furniture that it could sit up on top of, or skinnier if you'd like it for a more narrow blank wall. Or consider all the other ways copper pipes could be configured: for spiffier toilet paper rolls, or as legs on a tiny side table, or even for a headboard. And report back!

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Amanda Sims

Written by: Amanda Sims

Professional trespasser.


Smaug June 21, 2016
Copper pipe comes in 20" lengths (some retailers cut them to 10'), and sellers are not anxious to cut them for you. A small manual pipe cutter is pretty inexpensive, and easier to do a neat job with than a hacksaw. It comes lacquered; for this construction, it would be best to clean off the lacquer (and the lettering); a rag soaked with lacquer thinner works well. It would be best to relacquer it when assembled. The pieces are best soldered together, but it takes some practice to do this neatly; glue is probably adequate- there's not much stress on the joints.
Smaug June 21, 2016
That's 20' lengths. Maybe for the 22nd century this site will come up with an edit function.
laurenlocally June 21, 2016
Love this!