OK, so here’s how this small miracle happened. First, I bought a kitchen island. Then the kitchen island arrived and I didn’t like it, and it also didn’t function the way I needed it to (meaning as a sort of counter/bar), because I had neglected to notice that there was a piece of metal right there in the spot where a person’s legs were theoretically supposed to go.
So I looked everywhere online, and everything I found was either not my style or too expensive or too clunky or too something, until I happened upon a Pinterest photo of an Urban Outfitters counter-height table with legs that looked like plumbing pipes. It was about $80, and exactly what I wanted. It was also not available anywhere on the Internet at all, except for via one Etsy vendor who was pretending that it was vintage (it is not) and selling it for around $400. Nope.
Then I looked at the picture of the table more closely, and realized that the legs that “looked like plumbing pipes” were actually…plumbing pipes. Like, the kind that you can get at a hardware store. I started thinking that I might like to try making something like that myself, but couldn’t figure out what to do for a tabletop…until I remembered that several months ago my friend Alisa had offered me a gorgeous quartz remnant – white, with sparkles – that I’d declined because I had no idea what I would do with it.
Did she still have it?
I wish I could give you really specific instructions for how to make this table, but the reality was that I ended up sort of improvising – the quartz remnant, for example, was slightly bent, so I had to prop it up higher on one side than on the other, and the store I went to didn’t have enough of one type of pipe fitting, so I had to use a different style in a couple of spots. But still: you can do this. I promise.
(Before we go on: If you’re curious about the stools, they’re these, and I’m obsessed.)
HOW TO MAKE A PLUMBING PIPE TABLE
Here are the basics: To create a table like this one, you’ll need the following:
- Four 36″ long 3/4″ diameter pipes for the legs. With regards to the color, you can go for galvanized steel, black iron, whatever you like, since you’re likely going to want to spray-paint the legs.
- Three additional 36″ long 3/4″ diameter pipes to act as crossbars. You can use as few or as many as you like, depending on the look you’re going for – I put two on one side and one on the other, so that there’d be room for people’s legs.
- Three 18″ long 3/4″ diameter pipes to act as crossbars going the other way. (Again, you can use as few or as many as you like.)
- Four flanges for the ends of the table legs.
- A whole bunch of 3/4″ diameter pipe fittings (more on this below).
- Spray paint (more on this below, too).
OK, so once you have a basic idea of the pipes that you want to use to create the frame, you’re going to have to find the right fittings. This is where you may have to actually sit down on the floor at your local home improvement store and just start seeing what works best.
I ended up using a total of 12 3/4″ diameter tees, but since my store didn’t have 12 identical ones, I had to play around to figure out what I could sub in. It’s seriously not that hard, though – if you’ve ever played with your kid’s pipe connector kits, it’s the exact same thing – just heavier.
After you assemble the table to your liking (you can see in the above shot that I once again forgot that people’s legs need somewhere to go; I ended up moving the horizontal bar in the front up about a foot), it’s time to paint. Of course you can paint the pipes before assembling the table, but that means having some kind of drying rack situation, so I just painted the finished piece.
If your pipes, like mine, come festooned with stickers that are not “stuck” on, but rather cemented on (allegedly), nail polish remover and a little elbow grease will take them off.
I wanted the table to be white, but not blindingly white – I was going for a slightly more antiqued look – so I started with two coats of matte white spray paint to cover the dark steel…
And then finished with a coat of Valspar Milk Glass spray paint in Antique White. It gives it a little bit of a vintage-y feel and some shine – and makes it much easier to clean.
The last step: adding the countertop (you can see I had to add a flange on one of the corners to balance out the bend in the remnant). If you don’t have an Alisa in your life willing to hand over quartz remnants, you can find one online. Try Etsy; they have lots of great butcher block countertops, as well as beautiful live-edge options.
Want to see more pictures of THE TABLE I MADE?
Onnnnnnly if you insist.