DIY Copper Cup From 3/4" Pipe





Introduction: DIY Copper Cup From 3/4" Pipe

About: We are Mike and Lauren. We make videos on YouTube about money, travel, homesteading, and DIY.

All the cool kids are drinking Moscow Mules. Traditionally, they're served in copper cups, but those can get pricey. We can make our own copper cups with nothing more than 3/4" copper pipe that you can find in any hardware store, or even scrap yard.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

This project is pretty simple. I've never done any copper soldering or metal work before. I was able to use my 3rd and 4th cup I made at home. Here's what you'll need to get started:

  • Propane Torch
  • No. 5 Flux
  • Solder (Lead free for copper pipes)
  • Hacksaw or Sawzall
  • 2 pairs of pliers
  • Hammer
  • Large hose clamp
  • Screwdriver
  • Tin snips

It would also help to have a bench vise and a grinder, but they are not necessary.

Step 2: Split the Pipe

Start by slicing your copper pipe down the middle with your hacksaw or sawzall. This cut needs to be extremely straight so take your time. I cut my pipe down to one 11" long piece and two 4" pieces.

Step 3: Pound Flat

Split the pieces open with pliers and then pound it flat.

IMPORTANT: Fold over one long edge of the 11" piece to protect your lips from getting cut. See my YouTube video for more instruction.

Step 4: Wrap Copper Around a Form

Find some sort of cup sized object you can use to wrap your copper around. Preferably steel. I used the wheel off of a floor jack. Use a large hose clamp to force the copper into shape.

Step 5: Bend Over the Bottom

Bend over a small lip on the bottom of your cup to make a nice seam.

Step 6: Solder the Joint

Leaving the hose clamp in place, solder the joint together with the torch.

Step 7: Remove the Form

Use a hammer to remove your cup shell from the form. It should look like this. Notice the top edge has been completely folded over and the bottom edge has a small lip.

Step 8: Solder Bottom Together

3/4" pipe does not open up wide enough to cover the whole bottom. You'll need to solder a seam between two pieces to make one large enough to cover the hole.

ALTERNATIVELY: You could use 1" copper pipe or find copper sheet metal. Neither were available locally in my area.

Step 9: Cut Out the Bottom Shape

Mark and cut the bottom of your cup. I used tin snips to cut to the outside of my line, and then used the grinder to form a perfect circle.

Step 10: Solder Bottom

Heat the outside of the cup while soldering the inside to attach the bottom to the shell. See my video for more instruction.

Step 11: Make a Handle

I used a 3" piece of pipe folded over on itself for the handle. Shape with the hammer.

Step 12: Attach the Handle

Attach the handle to the cup at the seam. Put the hose clamp back on the cup for this step in case you were to loosen the solder holding the shell together.

Step 13: Polish, Clean, and Enjoy!

Use a wire brush to clean all of the flux, dirt and grime off of the cup. I used one that attached to my drill. Overall, I'm happy with these cups. They aren't perfect, but I learned a lot and they do their job. See my video for more instruction.

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71 Discussions

To those who may not be aware, copper is used extensively in North America for all house hold [potable] water, both hot and cold, and essentially all solder and flux sold, is lead free.

In house hold plumbing, the pipes are cleaned, at the joint, with a wire brush or sand paper, then fluxed and soldered. Typically, no further cleaning is done for domestic potable hot and cold water. There are tens of millions of houses with this type of plumbing.

Many plumbers continue to deride any use of any form of plastics in domestic water supply.

3 replies

I want to emphasize the use of lead free solder, but would disagree with you, mcysr. Unfortunately, not all the solder is lead free.

Those buying, please double and triple check that the solder you buy is lead free.

I've seen leaded and lead free solder by the same manufacturer (similar packaging) on the same shelf in Home Depot, so read read read...

Absolutely correct (IMHO).

Lead free solder is well established as the only solder to be used for potable water.

Bare copper handrails will kill 98% of bacteria on them in 2 hours.

There are exposure issues with using copper that can include liver damage, heart disease and alzheimers disease. Please read this before drinking from copper cups, especially acidic or hot liquids. It's the very reason they say you shouldn't drink from the hot water tap in your home.

1 reply

I always heard lead and aluminum were the ones that cause Alzheimer's . I'm sure the poo t is mute after applying a food grade coating or baking a glaze onto it.

I don't know a lot about soldiering, but my brother does. He has lead solder. that would be bad to is if I were to try this out, right? I'm probably not going to make this; I just want to know.

You're making a cup that you will presumably be drinking from. Lead from the solder can leach into the liquid you are drinking. That is why you do NOT want to use solder that contains lead.

Acid core solder is just fine as long as you clean off the acid flux residue after construction.

I made one for fun and rather soldering two flat bits together for the base I just made the 'cup' an oval to fit the 22mm pipe I flattened out.
Looks great and will be making more.

You could use any type of hammer if you use a block of wood. Push it as flat as possible, put the block on it, whack away. A piece of 2x4 would be ideal to absorb all hammer marks, and maybe some pent up aggression as well.

Untreated copper can be toxic, so make sure to clean these well and don't use them to heat anything.

I'm not really sure, this was my first copper project. Maybe the type of hammer I used?

I should be embarrassed for asking this because I live in N. Idaho and I have a daughter going to University in Moscow...but what is a "Moscow Mule", and why is drunk from a copper cup? Btw Nice inst, but omg you really can't solder! LOL (don't freak out anyone, I am saying it WITH him, not against him, ya know as a joke)

Metalworking is a cool art and I hope you continue to make more things and share them here on!. And great first Ible as well.

Dang, those look pretty cool !

Awesome job on the Vid btw, "Terrible craftsmanship did not stop me from puting it on" Right On ! XD Have you tried a clear coat to keep the copper from tarnishing?

Nice, I like that a lot. Plus your wife is super hot!!!