Introduction: Industrial Wall Pipe Art

Ok this is my 2nd shelter in place Instructable.

For years I've seen wall art made from water pipe with lamps in them.

Things were slow the first couple of weeks at work. For years now I've had like 200lbs of plumbing related fittings setting around my moms house. We tried to this stuff off for pennies at garage sales but nobody wanted it.

Came across a couple of pictures on the web of these things and decided to make my own. Mine would be better because there would be quite a few unique items in it and most of the pieces are 50+ years or older.


Raw material -

Basic tools - very straight forward. This is a total home depot or lowes project

Step 1: Design

So we had no clue what we would end up with so we decided to lock down one design parameter - how big -

We decided on 4 feet by 3 feet based on the wall we were going to hang it on.

We had some pretty cool old part available to us so we just started spit-balling it. Putting pieces on the garage floor and working it and re-working it.

We never really finalized it until we were done though.

Step 2: Keep on Working It

Things just started coming together. Would check with everyone we were sheltering with and bounce ideas off of them. I just didn't want steel. I had a bunch of old brass valves I wanted to incorporate into the design so we hit all the old stuff with the wire wheel. Repainted the knobs as well.

One pain point - getting the labels off of the water pipe. While 80% of this was older stuff we needed some new pipe pieces to finish things off. I had to burn the labels off with a torch then hit the pipe with a wire wheel to clean them up.

One thing - don't design yourself into a corner. The last picture in this section - I ended up needing two unions to get all of the pipes to be able to all screw together tight enough because I couldn't put them together from left to right or top to bottom.

Step 3: Electrical

Once we decided on where the lights were going to be and what size we wanted we went out and purchased the sockets and bulbs. So many cool choices with 'Edison' bulbs right now.

Like I mentioned in the previous section - just like connecting your pipe, think about how you are going to run the wires - can you find a path through your contraption to get the wires where you need them.

We had to include the wiring in the assembly of the pipes. We couldn't just bolt all the pipes up and try to pull or push the wire through - that doesn't work -

I decided to put a power switch on it because I had a very cool old Alan Bradley switch box. Designed for motor starting - with a relay inside - I couldn't leave this piece out. (so glad no one bought it at our garage sale for a $1)

Also the light in the case - the glass & cage portion of this is a antique (I found one going for close to $100 on the web). I didn't have the socket for it but it turns out that there are cheap Chinese knock off lamps for super cheap. Bought one of those and with some tweaks was able to get the glass and cage to fit.

Step 4: Done

I didn't want to drill holes in the rental house so I decided to hand it from a rafter. I went with a re-pro antique red cord for the power cord. Not sure how happy I am with that though.

Hung it from two hooks made of rebar and some stainless cable. We found out right away it doesn't sit still.

Brainstormed over a couple of days and decided to weld some 3/16 rod to the back of it in three places so that it had a place to rest on against the wall. Used wine corks on the ends of the rods to keep it from easily moving.

So with all of the antique pieces on this and the prices I see for new ones of these with nothing special that you can't get in a hardware store going for $$$ I ended up with something we can keep in the backyard and enjoy for a while.