Wednesday, June 13, 2012

DIY: Custom Copper Curtain Rods

Living in an industrial space brings ups challenges when decorating your home. We decided for not just aesthetic reasons, but also for better energy efficiency that we needed drapes. We picked out beautiful champagne/mushroom (nice neutral) colored curtains with a great raw texture to them. The color really complements the brick it's against and blends nicely. We didn't want a color that screamed, "Hello you have lots of fabric over here!" These curtains also have blackout lining that helps to significantly block the heat from the afternoon sun.

We decided to mike some out of plumber's pipe to get that industrial feel. Because we were making them ourselves, we spent the extra money to upgrade to copper pipe. My husband just LOVES copper; I think it's because it matches his hair. On our trip to HD, we got funny looks from the people in the plumbing section. I guess where we live, people don't do DIY projects like this with unconventional materials. Finally the guy figured out what we needed a showed us to the adapter that connects copper pipe to a floor flange. We found out copper pipe that says 1/2" is different than 1/2" steel pipe and you need an adapter to bridge the gap since floor flanges are sized to the steel pipe. Because of the amount of stuff we were getting, I caved and signed up for the HD card. With our savings, we only spent around $120 on all the pipe and fittings for two 8' and one 4' wide windows. That doesn't include the pipe cutter at $11 and the hammer drill my husband ended up buying to drill into the impossibly hard concrete. I did the measuring and marking, he did the drilling. I cut the pipe (once I got the pipe cutter, before it was him with the Dremel) and polished everything with Barkeepers Friend.

3 - 10 foot copper pipes, 3/4 inch, Blue type (meaning sturdier)
8 - Floor Flanges for 1/2" pipe
8 - 3/4" to 1/2" copper adapter with threading (not sure of technical term)
6 - Elbow joints
2 - T joints
Screws (get appropriate mountings for your walls, in our case masonry screws)
Pipe cutter
Barkeepers Friend
Drill and bits
Measuring tape

My Dremel is in the shot because initially we used it to cut the pipe. It's fine if you only have one window and only a few cuts to make. Way too time consuming for more. So after first small window was completed, I went and bought a pipe cutter. Worth it! The adapters I was talking about are in the foreground between the screws and drill bits.

Installing the flange, the adapter, short pipe, and elbow. Great thing about copper is you don't have to thread the pipe. It just slides right into the fittings. We didn't even solder or anything so we can still take the curtain down, but everything holds together without it.

Cutting with Dremel and polishing. Wear gloves and read directions.

Final pictures. They are a little dark because it was night when we finished and we still need to get more lighting for our place. In the pictures, the curtains almost look pinkish, but trust me, in real life they are not at all.

So in the end, I have converted my husband into a man who wants to figure out how to make something instead of buying it. Finally! Now he wants to tackle all kinds of other things and loves the feeling of a power tool in his hand!

Little story about getting all this home without a car:

We walked to our local HD. We're lucky we have one just over a mile away. We picked out all our supplies and then I waited outside the entrance with our big cart while my husband went to the corner to try to flag down an appropriately sized taxi. After about 10 min with no luck, I called my favorite cab company. They said it would be a hour! So I called another. They said I would get a call when one was on the way. Fifteen more minutes went by with no call. Finally a Scion cab came and was dropping off a passenger. After a little convincing on my husbands part, the driver and he tried to fit the 10' pipes in diagonally from the corner of the windshield on the passenger side to the back corner of the trunk. The trunk closed with not a millimeter to spare! Once we were all inside and on our way, the cab company called with  an automated message that our cab was there. Gee Thanks! 

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