If you make PVC structures that are meant to be outdoors full time, you might find they fall apart quickly.
This is because the sun bakes them and makes the PVC brittle in short order.
In order to UV protect your PVC, use outdoor paint on them.
The trouble is that painting a lot of tubes can be quite time consuming, spray painting is expensive and toxic, and a decent HVLP sprayer system is very expensive. Hand painting after the structure is assembled is time consuming and error prone. This describes a relatively fast and inexpensive way to apply a good UV protection coat of standard outdoor latex paint onto your PVC.
Step 1: Step 0: Read the Safety Manual for Any Power Tool You Use for Any Project. in Fact, Read 2 or 3
There is a difference between doing what you mostly recall is safe, and reading to know what is actually safe.
The finger you save might be your own.
Step 2: Gather Materials
- Safety glasses and ear protection for the table saw
- Table saw (or access to one). This is the only necessary tool that's not super cheap, but you will need it for one step.
- PVC pipe cutter (if you aren't planning to cut your project pipes with the table saw also
- PVC glue (or epoxy)
- One PVC tube that's about twice the diameter of your project PVC. eg - 1 inch PVC structure needs one 2 inch PVC.
- 2 End caps to match your large PVC pipe
- String or twine
- Scissors to cut the twine
- At least 2 paint throw cloths
- Masking tape
- Latex or rubber gloves
Step 3: Cut Your Project Pipes to the Required Sizes
For many 3D structures, you can assemble the corners from a tee plus an elbow, like shown. Use a small pipe section to connect them.
Step 4: Cut the Large Diameter PVC Pipe in Half Length Wise (see Why a Table Saw Is Necessary?)
Use a partner to help hold the pipe as you feed it into the saw.
Use a block of wood to push the last bit through. This helped me to keep all remaining 9 fingers attached.
Step 5: Glue the End Caps Onto One of the Halves of the Large PVC Pipe
This will make a trough to hold paint.
After the glue is set, put the trough between wood blocks to hold it in place.
Step 6: While the Glue Is Setting, Clean Up the Big Mess Made by Cutting
Those who live with you will appreciate it.
Step 7: Mask Tape the Ends of All the PVC Tubes You Want to Paint
This step is necessary so you don't paint on the part that needs to be inserted into the elbow and tee joints.
Step 8: Stir the Paint and Pour It Into the Trough
Step 9: Cut 2 Strands of String or Twine, and Use Them to Hold Up the Ends of the Pipes
You will probably need a partner for this step.
Step 10: Using the Ends of the Strings, Dip the Pipe Into the Paint Trough and Roll It Around
Step 11: Using Gloved Hands, Squeegy the Excess Paint Off Into the Trough
This step was hard to capture in pictures because at this point our gloved hands had wet paint, but the key is this:
- Hold the pipe above the trough
- Wrap your thumb and forefinger around the pipe, with your finger tips facing down towards the trough.
- Move your hand over the length of the pipe, allowing the excess paint to fall back into the trough