This clever copper pipe project is a great way to add a little luxury and privacy to your deck, porch or balcony. It’s a cool mini cabana that surrounds an outdoor love seat.
Ursula Carmona of Home Made by Carmona created this especially for our DIY Challenge series here on The Home Depot Blog. We asked her to come up with a fun and doable project with the only stipulation that it incorporated copper pipe.
Check out her step-by-step tutorial so you can build your own mini cabana from copper pipe.
DIY Copper Pipe Mini Cabana
This cabana might not be a full sized one, but it is perfect to create a private seating area for two. Just add a shade curtain across the top to act as an awning in sunny areas, or leave it uncovered in shady areas to enjoy the sky above. Add your favorite lounge chairs, outdoor sofa, or dining table beneath this free standing cabana, and enjoy!
- (5) ¾ in. x 10 ft. Copper Pipes
- (4) ¾ in. x ¾ in. Copper Presser T fitting
- (10) ¾ in. x ¾ in. 90-Degree Copper Elbow (or buy a bag of 10 and save money)
- (1) 4 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft. Pressure Treated Lumber (cut into four 24-in. pieces)
Tools and Extra Supplies
- ⅞ in. Spade Drill Bit
- Wood Glue (designed for metal and wood)
- Rust-Oleum Triple Thick Glaze
- (8) 84 in. Curtain Panels
- Compound Miter Saw (optional)
- Pipe Cutter (optional)
- (3) 2 in. x 4 in. x 96 in. Lumber OR (4) 4 in. x 4 in. post anchors
Step 1: Seal Copper Pipes
Handle your pipes with gloves until after they have been sealed, otherwise your fingerprints may tarnish the copper. To seal, spray the copper pipes with a couple layers of glaze spray paint (clear). Do this for the Copper T fittings and elbow joints as well.
Allow the sealed pipes to dry to the touch between each coat. You’ll want two or three coats of even coverage to protect the copper from tarnishing. Allow it to dry completely before handling. Once it’s sealed you can handle it as normal.
FYI: If there are a few smudges already, that’s OK. Don’t try to clean your pipes with lemon and salt before sealing it. For whatever reason it seems to react with the sealer, and in a day or two your copper pipes will turn brown right under all that sealant! Good thing I tested this first! If you want to try a different copper cleaner, be sure to test it first, and let the glaze spray set for a full day.
Step 2: Mark and Cut Pipes To Size
If you did not have your pipes cut by a Home Depot associate when you purchased them, you will need to mark and cut your pipes to the appropriate sizes following the cut list below.
A pipe cutter is inexpensive and easy to use.
Pipe Cut List (cut in order)
- (4) 60 in. cabana upright posts
- (5) 36 in. frame pieces
- (4) 30 in. frame pieces
- (4) 10 in. frame pieces
- (4) 1½ in. cabana post pieces
Step 3: Assemble Canopy Frame
Before you start, note that not all pipe pieces should be glued. Pay close attention to what requires glue, and what does not.
Attach T-joints to either side of three 36 in. frame pieces, use a dab of all-purpose glue.
Insure all your T-fittings are level with the work surface before the glue begins to set.
Next you will be adding the 30 in. frame pieces and 10 in. pieces to those three pipes you just assembled. But before you do, move the entire assembly to the outdoor space where your cabana will live.
Place the three pipes with T-fittings you just glued parallel on the ground. You will horizontally attach one 30 in. pipe frame piece in between each of those three on either side, and the 10 in. pipe on the outside corners of those three. Use a dab of glue to hold each of these pieces together. If you need to, use a hammer to help the joints fit tightly together.
The assembly on the top and bottom should essentially be:
10 in. — T-fitting — 30 in. — T-fitting — 30 in. — T-fitting –10 in.
Place an outdoor curtain panel on each of the 10 in. end pieces that are sticking out.
Step 4: Assemble Upright Cabana Pipes
These pipe posts will eventually stand upright, but for now you will assemble and attach them to the frame as it sits on the ground. No glue should be used during this stage of the assembly.
Place an elbow joint on each of the 10 in. end pipes that also contain a curtain panel. Then attach the 1½ in. pipe piece, next a T-fitting, and finally the 60 in. upright post. Do this at all four corners.
Step 5: Prepare Wooden Cabana Posts
You will need to cut your 4 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft. lumber into exact quarters. A Home Depot associate can make the cuts for you at the time of purchase, if you’d like.
All four legs should be cut to 24 in., however it is more important that all legs are exactly the same length as each other, so if each one needs to be slightly less than 24 in. to accommodate for the saw blade, that is fine.
Start by drilling ⅞ in. holes in the top of each wooden leg using a spade drill bit. Sink the bit the lowest it will go (approximately 5 in.).
Sand your four legs smooth, and round out any edges. Then paint or stain it, and seal.
At this point you have the option to use 4 in. x 4 in. post anchors to secure your wood posts to a deck, then skip to Step 7. Or continue with the next steps to make your base free floating, but sturdy.
Step 6: Build The Cabana Support Base
Cut your 2 in. x 4 in. x 96 in. lumber into two 78 in. pieces, and drill pocket holes in either end. Then attach with screws at the top and mid section of two 4 in. x 4 in. posts.
Cut the final 2 in. x 4 in. x 96 in. lumber into two 34 in. pieces, and drill pocket holes in either end.
As before, attach with screws to the sides of the final 4 in. x 4 in. posts to create an open ended rectangular “fence” around your seating.
Paint or stain it to match your posts, then you’re ready to lift and insert the cabana portion into your newly built support base.
Step 7: Erect Your Cabana and Enjoy!
Pour a bit of all-purpose glue into the four holes of the wooden posts.
You’ll need a few extra hands for this. Have each person hold a corner post (the long 60 in. pipes), and lift them upright. The cabana canopy will pivot as you pull the posts into an upright position. Lower each corner into the drilled holes of the wooden posts.
You will attach your final two copper pipes, but first put two curtain panels on each of the 36 in. pipes.
Locate the open T-fittings, twist them outward, and insert one side of your pipe, then pivot to insert the other.
Do the same on the other end of your cabana, and your cabana is complete!
You can enjoy it with an couple lounge chairs, or with your outdoor sofa beneath…
…or even a bistro set beneath!
However you choose to enjoy your DIY Mini Cabana, no doubt you’ll love being able to entertain, lounge, or enjoy a private moment for many summers to come!
Read more about Ursula’s DIY Copper Cabana on her blog.
Ursula Carmona is a stay-at-home wife to an intelligent handsome (albeit handy-less) man, and a homeschooling mom to their three fantastic girls. She writes about DIY projects, organization and raising a family on her blog, Home Made by Carmona.
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