I have been obsessed with copper garment racks for as long as they've been populating my pinterest feed (a.k.a. a lonnnnggg time) but I could never justify the high price tag. Then Janet Crowther and her latest book A Well Crafted Home landed on my desk and voila! Instructions for making my very own. Peek inside this DIY from the book sitting pretty below. If you have plans for updating your space in 2018, this should be the first thing you tackle.
Copper Garment Rack
Skill level: Intermediate
finished size: 57 x 15¾ x 67 inches
The luster of the copper pipes, mixed with the practicality of the wooden wheels, detailed in leather, create an elegant and timeless piece of furniture. For even more storage, additional items like bags and scarves can be placed on the two long hooks at either end. If you already have ample space to store your clothes, use this as a stunning coatrack in the entryway or as a closet in the guest bedroom. This garment rack is beautiful enough to move freely around your home on wheels, preventing scratched floors.
22 feet of ¾-inch copper pipe, cut as follows (see Tips and page 148):
two 52-inch pieces (long sides, A)
two 8-inch pieces (short sides, B)
two 44-inch pieces (top and bottom, C)
two 7½-inch pieces (side hooks, D)
two 2¼-inch pieces (small bottom connectors, E)
four 6¼-inch pieces (wheel casings, F)
two 1¼-inch pieces (bottom wheel connectors, G)
Tooling cowhide leather, 6- to 7-ounce weight/ thickness, enough to cut four 2¾-inch circles from the hide
Four 51⁄₈ x ¾-inch-thick, large, pine wood toy wheels (find these at www. Caseyswood. Com)
Four 5⁄₁₆ x 8-inch zinc-plated standard (SAE) hex bolt (bolt thread pinch = 18)
Two 5⁄₁₆-inch zinc-plated standard (SAE) regular nuts (nut thread size = 18)
6¾-inch copper pressure tee
4¾ x ¾-inch copper, 90-degree cup x cup pressure elbow
2¾-inch copper tube cap
2-ounce copper lock, no-heat solder
Large-diameter mini tube cutter
Heavy-duty circle cutter
Electric drill with 5⁄₁₆-inch drill bit
Sanding sponge (optional)
Tips - Copper pipe is sold in lots of different lengths. You can get 22 feet by buying 3 pieces of 10-foot pipe, with some extra left over, or by buying a shorter length. Just make sure that you buy a long enough piece to accommodate the larger cuts, like the top, bottom, and sides of the garment rack. Type L copper pipe is best, as it is stronger, but you can use type M for lighter garments.
Cut all the copper pipe, specified on page 145, using a tube cutter. Double-check that the like-size pieces are all cut exactly the same length to ensure a balanced build. It is helpful to label the sections with the letters written on a small piece of masking tape and stick them to each cut piece of tubing. This will help avoid confusion when
building the garment rack.
Line up the circle cutter on the leather to cut a 2¾-inch circle, which means the blade will be 13⁄₈ inches away from the center point. Push the circle cutter down on the leather (placed on top of a cutting mat) with enough allowance on the sides of the leather to cut out a full circle. Push down firmly and swing the blade all the way around. While holding the leather in place, cut a circle out fully from the leather. Repeat to cut 3 more leather circles.
Using a drill loaded with a 5⁄₁₆-inch drill bit, drill through the center point of each leather circle.
Line up 1 leather circle so that its hole matches up with the center hole of a wooden wheel. Push the threaded side of an 8-inch hex bolt through the leather and the wood hole. The head of the bolt should be resting flush with the leather. Repeat with the remaining pieces of leather and wooden wheels.
Add some thickness to the bolt with duct tape, right beside the wooden wheel. This will help steady the wheel and keep it straight inside the copper pipe. Take a 5-inch piece of duct tape and put the torn end of the tape along the bolt. Coil the duct tape tightly around the bolt. Insert the bolt with the tape into any copper pipe to check the fit. If it goes in easily, you should add a little more tape. If you are struggling to get it into the pipe, take away a little tape. You want a tight fit, but one that goes into the pipe without ripping the tape. Add duct tape to all 4 wheels.
Slide a wheel casing (each bolt with tape) into copper pipe F, enclosing the duct tape inside. The pipe should be flush to the wooden wheel. Using the combination wrench, screw 1 nut halfway onto 1 hex bolt. Screw the second nut halfway onto another hex bolt.
Grab a pressure tee and insert 1 of the wheel casings (with the nut attached) into 1 side of the long straight section of the pressure tee. Grab a wheel casing that does not have a nut attached and twist it on the opposite side of the pressure tee. As you are twisting it on, connect the open bolt inside the nut. You can look down through the top of the pressure tee to help guide you. Once the bolt is inserted in the nut, twist only the end of the bolt while holding the other, already-connected bolt steady, to get it to screw into the nut and meet the first inserted bolt. Take the wrench and tighten the 2 sides of the wheel casings together, making sure that both bolts are securely screwed into the nut. Repeat this step to form another identical wheel unit. The wheels will move stiffly at first, but with use the copper pipe will start to cut away a channel, which will help the wheel to spin more smoothly.
Now we are going to build the upper portion of the rack. Twist all the pipes and fittings into place following the diagram on page 148. Twist each copper pipe into the fitting until the pipe stops moving. Lay this form on the floor and make sure everything is lined up straight.
Once the rack is built, you will solder it together. Avoid getting solder on your hands and it is a good idea to wear eye protection. Copper solder works really fast, so it’s best to do 1 joint at a time, laying 1 back down flat to dry before moving to another joint. I like to keep the whole rack built and just remove the section that I am going to solder so I know everything is lined up perfectly as the solder dries.
Open the solder and apply a line of solder around each inside rim of the fitting. Twist the pipe a half turn, making sure it is fully inside the fitting and lay it back down flat to dry. Repeat for all joints, waiting at least a minute between each one.
Now, connect the soldered upper portion of the rack to the bottom portion with the wheels. Solder the 2 ends of the bottom wheel connectors G, into the top of the pressure tee on each wheel unit. Apply solder around the rim of each pressure tee. Since we can’t give these pipes a half twist, just make extra sure they are pounded all the way to the bottom of the pressure tee and level on both sides. Allow the solder to dry fully before use.
You can give the garment rack a once-over with a sanding sponge to brighten it up. Or leave it roughed up with fingerprints and oxidation. It will oxidize naturally over time.
For even more fab projects and DIYs for your home, snag a copy of Well Crafted Home here!