D.I.Y. copper ladder

Nick, Team member
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D.I.Y. copper ladder

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Project Overview

Everyone needs more hanging space in the bathroom, particularly when it comes to your towels. This easy-to-follow guide shows you all the steps and some handy hints to make your own stylish copper ladder to hang your bath towels on. Continue to step-by-step instructions
man smoothing a metal edge
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How to smooth metal edges

When you cut metal with a hacksaw or an angle grinder, you are sometimes left with burrs on the face of the cut. A quick way to clean these up is to rub the metal along a hard, rough surface like a brick or a concrete slab. A metal file will do a better job, but this works well.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Mark the copper pipe to size
2 Cut the copper pipe
3 Clean copper pipe ends
4 Attach the T-pieces
5 Flare the ends of the 80mm pipe
6 Paint the wall fittings
7 Glue the pipe to the wall fitting
8 Complete your vertical ladder segments
9 Glue the rungs into the vertical pipe
10 Attach the second vertical
11 Attach the wall assemblies to the ladder
12 Polish the ladder
13 Install the ladder
  • Step 1. Mark the copper pipe to size

    Once you’ve decided on the size of the copper ladder for your bathroom, mark out the lengths on the copper pipe. For this project, we cut our copper to 500mm x five for the ladder rungs, 300mm x eight for the ladder verticals, 150mm x four for the top and bottom ends and 80mm x four for wall offsets.

  • Step 2. Cut the copper pipe

    You can use a hacksaw to cut your pipe for your lengths but the pipe cutter makes a cleaner cut without burrs. Clamp the pipe cutter onto the pipe and rotate it around the pipe. Tighten the cutter and repeat until the pipe is cut. 

  • Step 3. Clean copper pipe ends

    Use a metal cleaner and soft cloth to clean the ends of your copper pipe. This will make sure that the fittings stick to them.

  • Step 4. Attach the T-pieces

    To attach the T-pieces, apply a two-part epoxy adhesive to the ends of your 300mm ladder verticals. Attach the T-junctions at each end and wipe off any excess glue. You’ll need to do this step for all eight of the ladder verticals.

  • Step 5. Flare the ends of the 80mm pipe

    To make sure the pipe sits securely in the wall fittings, you will have to flare the ends of the 80mm pipe. Use a flare kit and a hammer and flare the four ends of your wall offsets.

  • Step 6. Paint the wall fittings

    We’re painting the wall fittings black to give the copper ladder a more industrial look. Before painting the fittings, spray them with an etch primer. This will make sure the paint sticks to the fitting. Then let the primer dry before spraying the fittings with the black paint.

  • Step 7. Glue the pipe to the wall fitting

    When attaching your wall fittings to the pipe, a good tip is to make a hole in a disposable cup. Place the pipe into the wall fitting, then push the pipe through the hole in the upside-down cup. Apply the glue to the end of the pipe, stick the fitting on the end of the flared pipe, then let the fitting rest on the top of the cup. The glue should dry while it stands upright in the cup. You’ll need to do this for all four wall fittings.

  • Step 8. Complete your vertical ladder segments

    To complete your verticals, attach the four 150mm pipes to the ends of the verticals with the two-part epoxy glue. Then attach the elbow fittings into these ends with glue as well. Make sure the pipe is sitting straight at 90° and that the screw holes stay horizontal, so later you can easily attach it to the wall.

  • Step 9. Glue the rungs into the vertical pipe

    Glue and insert the 500mm horizontal rungs into the T-pieces of one of the vertical pipes. Make sure the ladder stays flat against your workbench while you do this. Wipe away any excess glue.

  • Step 10. Attach the second vertical

    A good tip is to start at one end of the ladder and attach the rungs as you move down by applying glue into the T-junction on the vertical. When they’re all in, push together all of the joints to make sure they stay parallel.

  • Step 11. Attach the wall assemblies to the ladder

    Now it’s time to attach the four wall assemblies to your ladder. Glue the ends and carefully insert them into the elbow pieces. Make sure that they all sit at a 90° angle to the vertical ladder lengths. 

  • Step 12. Polish the ladder

    Before installing the ladder, give it a good clean with a metal polish and a soft cloth so it will look great when you install it.

  • Step 13. Install the ladder

    To attach the ladder to the wall, simply screw some wall anchors into your wall. Then use a drill to attach the ladder making sure the ladder is square. 

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Adjustable square
  • Flaring tool
  • Gloves
  • Hacksaw
  • Hammer
  • Pipe cutter
  • Tape measure and marker
  • Work bench

Materials

  • 1.5m x .75 inch copper pipes x 5
  • .75 inch T-pieces x 10
  • .75 inch elbow fittings x 4
  • 19mm round flanges x 4
  • Black enamel paint
  • Etch primer
  • 240 grit sandpaper
  • Metal cleaner
  • Metal polish
  • Rags
  • Two-part epoxy adhesive
  • Wall anchors x 8
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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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