PVC Tiki Bar




Introduction: PVC Tiki Bar

About: Restorer of Vintage Travel Trailers and creation of all things odd.

So being stuck in cold Michigan winters and needing a project, I got inspired by the "faux bamboo" instructable and decided a great use for this awesome instructable to construct a Margarita Blender holder (aka PVC Tiki Bar).   Now I love to go camping in the warm summer months, so I thought this was the perfect medium to create a "semi-mobile" bar to take with me camping and tailgating!   The project is actually really easy, hardest part is actually making PVC look like bamboo and cutting it into sections to construct the bar.  

For starters, you'll need to get familiar with these two instructables first, as they are at the core of this project:

How to make faux bamboo:  https://www.instructables.com/id/Faux-Bamboo/
PVC 101: https://www.instructables.com/id/PVC-101/?ALLSTEPS

The cost of this project really depends on how extravagant you want to go with your accessories but plan about $200-$350 for the bar, mine set me back about $325.00 + bar stools.

As the instructions below are mainly in imperial units, I tried to provide metric conversions for the cuts: 

Step 1: Tools / Materials

So, what does it take to assemble your own bar you ask? The list below contains the recommended tools and parts. Take note that the base of the tiki bar is made up of 1-1/2" PVC pipe and fittings, while the canopy is made from 1" PVC Pipe and fittings, I attempted to use 3/4" PVC but it was not rigid enough, so I recommend the 1". Most of the PVC can be found at your local hardware store with the exception of the 1" 22.5 degree elbows and 1-1/2" Side Elbows These are the 3-way elbows used for the 4 corners of the bar, I found them reasonably priced at http://www.pexsupply.com or http://www.pvcfittingsonline.com you can order many of the other PVC parts from them as well. I got everything schedule 40, and the bar is sturdy enough for me to sit on.


  • PVC Cutting Device (I elected for the miter saw, but hacksaw or pipe cutter works as well)
  • Torch (to make it look like bamboo)
  • Stanley Knife
  • Hacksaw
  • Jigsaw (to cut corners and grooves for countertop and shelf)
  • Circular Saw (to cut wood for countertop and shelf)
  • Drill + 2-3/4" Hole Saw (jig saw can be used instead, to cut holes for for canopy support posts)
  • 2" Foam Brushes (I went through about a dozen after varnishing the countertops)
  • Sandpaper (always a requirement when staining and varnishing)
  • Compass (for rounding corners and cutting holes)


I listed the suppliers I used for the project, but these are relatively easily found anywhere.

Quantity Item Supplier 8 1-1/2 PVC Side Elbows Pexsupply.com 14 1-1/2 PVC Tee Lowes 6 1-1/2 PVC Pipe x 10 ft Lowes 1 1-1/2 PVC Cross Lowes 1 24"x60" Ash Panel Lowes 1 18"x60" Ash Panel Lowes 4 1" PVC Pipe x 10 ft Lowes 8 1" 22.5 Deg. Elbow Lowes 8 1" PVC Tee Lowes 2 1" PVC Cross Lowes 4 1" 90 PVC Elbow Lowes 2 Tiki Masks Things2die4.com 1 4'x8' x ¾” Bamboo Fence Wayside Fence 2 7'x30" Thatch eBay 1 8oz Kona Stain Lowes 1 1qt Amber Shelac Lowes 1 1qt Spar Polyurethane Lowes 1 PVC Glue Lowes 1 PVC Primer Lowes 1 Pkg of Velcro Cable Ties Lowes 1 Can of Acetone Lowes

Step 2: Constructing the PVC Base:

So, there's a lot of pieces of PVC here... 

Cut the 1-1/2" Pipe into the following sections:

  Quantity  Length (inches)  Length (centimeters)  16  22 Inches  56 cm  6  12 Inches  15 cm  2  16 Inches  40.5 cm  10  7 Inches  25.5 cm
Once you get these all cut, and it is good to note that keeping them all the same length is critical to the construction, this is why I chose to use the miter saw, as I was able to cut two at a time, and after your finished, you can use all the shavings from the saw to make artificial snow.   

Optional:  Now that you have everything cut, if you want to remove all the labels for a cleaner look, I recommend a rag and some acetone, takes the black, blue or pink lettering off the pipe pretty quickly (including any barcode labels from the hardware store).

First order of business is connecting the end pieces at this point leave the pvc glue in the can and just get familiar with the general assembly:

1.  Assemble the sides & Center support (Image #2):
Take the all the 7" pieces and connect two of them together using 4 of the 1-1/2" Tee fittings and 1 of the 1-1/2" Cross.  This will give you the four side pieces (2 for the top, and 2 for the shelf) as well as center cross that is used for the shelf support.

2.  Assemble the bottom side pieces (Image #3):
Using 4 of the 1-1/2" Side Elbows, take the 16" pipe and put one elbow on each ends of the pipe.   These will be used to create the bottom sides pieces.

3.  Assemble the Base (Image #4):
To make things easier, the 22" pieces are used for both the cross members and the top uprights.  I picked this size to not only keep them constant and less pieces to figure out where to put them, but also the 22" height above the shelf allows for a 5gal igloo cooler to sit on the shelf under the bar.   So using the additional Tees  construct the base of the bar using the bottom side pieces created in step #2 and 4 of the 22" pieces (see fourth image)  Make sure the Tees in the middle are facing upwards along with the side elbows.

4.  Going Up (Image #5):
Now that you got the base, use the 6 shorter 12" pieces and insert them in all the base holes facing upward, this allows for the shelf to be in the lower position, (OPTIONAL: if you want the shelf to be higher, start with the 22" pieces it works either way). 

5.  Creating the Shelf Support (Image #6 & #7):
So because your liquor or favorite beverages will probably be heavy, I create cross members to support the wooden shelf to sustain the weight.  Using two of the side supports and the center support created in step #1, put Tee's on the ends of each of these (total of 6) as shown in the image.   Once these are assembled put these on the assembled base structure with the Cross fitting in the middle.  Connect the ends to the middle using 2 of the 22" PVC pieces.

6.  Getting to the top (Image #8, #9 & #10):
Using 6 of the remaining 22" pieces insert them into the upright holes.  Take the remaining 4 side elbows and put one on each corner and the 2 remaining Tee's on the center uprights facing the corners.   Connect all these fitting using the four remaining 22" pieces and the remaining two end pieces created in step #1.  The top middle end Tees should be facing up (these will be used later for the canopy supports).   Push and squeeze all the fittings tight and this completes the PVC base!

Step 3: Bar Top and Shelf

Now that you've got your PVC Base completed it's time for the bar top and shelf.   I used aspen wood from my local lowes, but you can opt for more expensive or cheaper (plywood) depending on taste.  For those that want to get really fancy I'd recommend routering the edges, but I just use a sander to dull the sharp corners.

1.  The Top:
Pretty simple actually, cut the first piece of wood 60" x 24" wide,  OPTIONAL: using a compass and a jigsaw I curved the corners on a 4" radius.  You need to create the holes for the supports to go through, to do this you can use a 2-3/4" hole saw and drill motor or using a compass and jig saw to cut the holes out.   I measured in 5-3/4" from each end and 10-1/2" from the back to mark the center of the holes (Caution:  I recommend that you measure the distance between your Tees on your PVC base twice to check to make sure the holes align correctly).  I didn't center the holes front to back as to allow a front over-hang for the bar and making the counter flush with the PVC on the backside.

2. The Shelf:
Cut the second piece of wood 18" x 51" long.  using the bottom portion of the base with the 12" pieces inserted put this on the board and trace out the template on the board to cut out the notches to accommodate the PVC uprights (see image #2)  Note:  Be sure your PVC is assembled tightly to ensure accurate measurements.  Use the jig saw to remove the pieces you trace out and the shelf should easily fit on the top of the bottom portion of the base when completed (see image #3).

3.  UGH the fun part:
Sanding, staining and sealing, I'm not going to go into details on this as I'm sure there are plenty of instructables on this, but I used two coats of Rustoleum "Kona" stain on both the shelf and top, and then top coated with 5 (yes 5, you want it to make it suitable for the outdoor weather) coats of SPAR urethane.  Check your local hardware store, the key is to use SPAR urethane which is suitable for outdoor (UV) use and won't yellow if left out in the sun!

Step 4: The Canopy Supports

Now for the fun part, the canopy, this is what inspired it all.   If you go to the following instructable link HERE, it will show you how to make the two upright pieces from 1-1/2" PVC pipe to support the canopy (aka roof) of your tiki bar.

Key notes on making Faux Bamboo:
1.  Make sure you use Acetone as instructed to remove all the labels prior to scoring your PVC (I learned the hard way that if you burn the PVC with the lettering on, it doesn't come off with Acetone afterwards).  

2. I recommend you give it all a good sanding prior to using the faux bamboo technique (easier to do before the bumps are created and you don't loose the burn marks)

3.  Don't cut the PVC until after you've made it look like Bamboo.  The process involves compressing the pipe to get a natural look, and if you cut it first, it won't be the same length when your done.

4.  SPAR Urethane, once you've finished shellac'ing the bamboo, I used SPAR Urethane in a spray-can to seal the shellac, it also hardened it a lot so that if you hit the pipe it doesn't chip as easily.

Ok, now that you've created faux bamboo, cut two pieces 38" in length.  If you want to get creative, I recommend that you also use the technique to at least shellac the two middle top Tee's in the base (as they stick up from your bar countertop).   

If the faux bamboo pipe doesn't fit into the Tee now (because of the shellac) this can be easily re mediated by cutting slit across the end of the pipe using a hacksaw about 1/2" deep.

Optional:  I used an additional two 1-1/2" x 1" T's to create a 1" support across the top of the canopy using the bamboo effect to hang patio lights from,  to do this simply shorten the 38" lengths by about 6" insert the PVC T's on the top and cut a 1" "Bambooized" piece 46" long to connect the two supports together at the top.

Step 5: The Canopy

The Canopy supports will be made from the 1" PVC and 1" fittings. So break out that miter saw one last time (because you just can't make enough artificial PVC snow in your workshop) and get cutting:

 QuantityLength (inches)Length (centimeters)  10  6 Inches  15 cm  10  12 Inches  30.5 cm  2  10 Inches  25.5 cm  3  19 Inches  48 cm  4  24 Inches  61 cm
Yes that's a lot of pipe, and it's just as easy as the base once you get started. Again, don't break out the glue until you've dry fitted all the pieces.

1.  The Center line:
Lets start with the center,  there are 4 Tee's and two crosses used in this assembly,  Start at one end in this order:
        -  Start with a Tee Insert 10" Piece into the center of the Tee
        -  Insert end of the next Tee on the end of the 12" Piece in the previous step (Tee should face down)
        -  Insert 12" Piece on the opposite end of the Tee in the previous step
        -  Insert a cross on the end of the 12" piece in the previous step
        -  Insert a 19" piece into the opposite end of the cross in the previous step
        -  Insert a cross on the end of the 19" piece from the previous step
        -  Insert 12" piece on the opposite end of the cross from the previous step
        -  Insert the end of a Tee on the end of the 12" piece in the previous step (Tee should face down)
        -  Insert 10" piece on the end of the Tee used in the previous step 
        -  Insert center of a Tee on the end of the 10" piece

End of Center Line,  you should have two Tee's pointing down, you can insert two 6" pieces in those Tee's facing downward, these will go into the center of your 1-1/2 Faux Bamboo.

2. Flat Roof Top:
Now for something a bit less complex; in the two Tees on the ends of your centerline and your two center cross fittings, insert all of your remaining (qty 8) 6" pieces in these 8 holes, this will create a level flat top down the center of your canopy. 

Once you have all of those end, put a 22.5 Degree elbow pointing down on the end of each of the 6" pieces (qty 8).

3.  Angled Roof portion:
Now to create the sloped roof supports, in the ends of each of the 22.5 Degree elbows, insert a 10" Piece in each of these pointing downward, this will create the slope for the thatch to rest on.

4.  The Outside Edges:
So similar to the centerline create two of the following below; these completed sections will attach directly to the 10" pieces you inserted on step 3.
         -  Start with a standard elbow (for the corner) insert a 24" piece into the elbow
         -  Insert the end of a Tee on the 24" piece in the previous step
         -  Insert a 19" piece into the opposite end of the Tee in the previous step
         -  Insert the end of a Tee on 19" Piece in the previous step
         -  Insert a 24" piece into the opposite end of the Tee in the previous step
         -  Insert the final elbow (corner) onto the end of the 24" piece in the previous step

5.  Final Assembly:
Now that you got the centerline and the two outside edges align the Tees and elbows and attach the outside edges to the centerline.  Place your faux bamboo pieces (Urethane dried) into the lower base, and then place the two downward facing 6" PVC pieces from your canopy into your faux bamboo.

6.  Optional:
If you are making the tiki bar for a more permanent use, I'd recommend going ahead and gluing and staining the upper canopy supports using the stain that was used on the canopy supports for a more natural look.  I have not done this yet, as I'm making mine for mobile use,and didn't want to have to worry about taping off all the ends that insert into the PVC fittings ensuring that they still fit after staining.

Step 6: Finalize & Accessorize

So by now you should have made the decision how "portable" you need your bar to be.  Using the PVC glue, you can attach those pieces and fittings that you desire, if your not going to be moving it frequently, I recommend gluing all the fittings together for strength and stability.  Because I tend to move mine often, I elected to attach all the fittings to the smallest fitting they connect to.  This allows me to break it down and throw it in a bin to take camping..

Now you got the structure, it's time for the really fun part... Adding the accessories...  This is where you bring in those remaining parts.  

2 - 30" x 7'  Thatch
1 -  4' x 8'  Bamboo Fence (I recommend 3/4" fencing, but smaller size illustrated below)
2 - Tiki's of your liking
Velcro Cable Ties

1. Thatch:
Starting with the canopy and illustrated in the previous step, use velcro to attach the Thatch to the canopy structure,  I overlapped the two pieces by about 6" and let them hang over about 10" on each end.   I found that if you find the velco cable ties (found in the electrical section of Lowes or Home Depot) they make it easy to strap them down to the PVC.  This is obviously easier to do with the canopy on the ground and then lift the completed assembly into the faux bamboo.

2.  Bamboo Fence:
So you'll need to cut the 48" of the bamboo fence down to approximately 39",  this is done easily with a pair of scissors or hacksaw if you get thicker bamboo.  Using Velcro or zip ties (if permanent) attach it under the bar going around the PVC pipe on the ends leaving the back open (you may have trim the 8' length as well).

3.  Tiki Gods:
I attached velcro strips to the back of the Tiki masks at the top and bottom using a little glue and staple gun,  then ran the velcro through the bamboo fence and around the PVC pole to hold them tightly to the bar.  I picked these two up a http://www.things2die4.com  as they have several that are 39 inches in height and fit perfectly.

4.  Bar Stools:
As much as I would like to say that I built the bamboo bar stools, I found it  much easier to order these and assemble them using the manufacturing instructions :)   I got mine from Home Depot Online (came in a set of two) for about $25/each.

I did end up adding a bar to the top of the canopy in faux bamboo later on, I use this hang patio lights on, an easy option to add using two additional PVC Tee's and a little more PVC pipe.  Found some old netting and fake lemons and limes to add a few extra touches.

That's it!   Oh wait? Don't forget to stock the bar with your favorite beverages!.  Enjoy!

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3 years ago

Great instructions. Could you possibly provide a product link for the barstools?


Reply 3 years ago

I actually bought them 6-8 years ago from homedepot.com I don't believe they stock them anymore but still have several other models available if you do a search for bamboo barstool that come up.


5 years ago

hi I love this. I have a pvc bar table already how can I make a canopy for it?


5 years ago

Love the idea been looking for a tiki bar so far this one is my favorite


6 years ago

Looks great! What are the dimensions of the bar? (bar top to floor, roof to floor)


Reply 5 years ago

I was wondering the samething. I guess ill go count. Lol


6 years ago

AWESOME INSTRUCTIONAL my fellow bar building


7 years ago on Introduction

I am having trouble finding the 1'22.5 degree elbows. do have any other places I can look

Thank you Candy


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Try http://www.supplyhouse.com/PVC-Schedule-40-22-5-deg-Elbows-15170000


9 years ago on Introduction

I'm in the middle of construction, this is my first PVC furniture project. Right off the bat, I'm surprised how sturdy and stable the frame alone is, even with nothing glued. I'm not going to bother, except to glue each fitting to a tube to keep them all together.

I'm going to use plastic primer paint, then the shellac, to get a better stick to the finish. All of the main frame is hidden, just glimpsed through the bamboo fencing, so it's just colored, not bamboozled. I will bamboozle the canopy frame.

I was worried I had missed something, because after I had cut all base parts, I still had 4 10 foot pieces of 1 1/2" PVC left, plus about 4 1/2', with just the canopy supports left to do. You only need 6 of them, not 9 as listed.


9 years ago on Introduction

Where can I buy the roof thatching and bamboo fencing?


10 years ago on Introduction

I was thinking of doing this project using 1" PVC pipe for the base as well to save a little money and make it a little lighter for tailgating. think this would be ok?


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

You could probably get away with 1", the reason I went 1 1/2" was because I wanted the shelf to be sturdy enough to hold a 5 gallon water cooler jug (full of jungle juice). Full at 5 gallons is almost 40lbs, and I wouldn't trust 1" to that. If your looking to just hold some cold beverages though, I think it would be the way to go for "portability".


10 years ago on Introduction

Awesome Instructable! There will be one of these in my backyard this summer. Please update the materials list. 8 of the 1-1/2 PVC Side Elbows are required, not 4. Wouldn't be so bad if these were available at the local hardware store but since they have to be ordered, if you came short you would be swearing until the other 4 got delivered and then some more that you had to eat shipping again!


10 years ago on Introduction

One word: AWESOME...
Many words: Excellent job on the instructions. Well done. Can't wait to show this to my friends and family. We've got PLENTY of PVC piping. I mean how cool would this be to break out during a taligate party? Or camping at the river? So many uses. Thanks!


10 years ago on Introduction

very nice! but i would paint the tubing that is visible inside the roof. the plastic seems to clash with the tiki vibe:-)