Monday, March 7, 2016

DIY Copper Trellis Tutorial

Are you ready for Spring?  I know I am!  We had an easy Winter here in Michigan, but I'm still excited for the warm days of Spring.  I'm most excited about being able to get back in the yard and garden.  I made this copper trellis last Winter and had it out in the yard last Summer.  It's an easy project and can make a huge impact in your landscaping.  This is the perfect project to make now during the last couple of weeks of Winter as you wait for Spring!

Supplies you will need:
A.  (7) 5' long 1/2 diameter copper pipes
B.  (24) copper tees; 1/2" size
C.  (4) end caps; 1/2" size
D.  (4) 45 degree connectors; 1/2" size
E.  (2) 90 degree connectors; 1/2" size
F.  Gorilla Glue
G.  Pipe or tube cutter (make sure you buy one designed for copper or brass)
H.  Permanent marker
I.  Tape measure

OK, now you can get to work cutting your copper pipes!  Here's what you need:

- (14) 10" long pieces
- (16) 1" long pieces
- (8) 20" long pieces
- (4) 12" long pieces
- (2) 10.5" long pieces

Use your tape measure and permanent marker to mark where you will need to cut.  The pipe cutter takes a bit getting used to, but once you do, it's very easy to use.

Now, the fun part!  Make sure to wear gloves to protect your hands when you glue your pipe together.  Trust me, the Gorilla Glue is strong stuff - you do not want it on your skin!

Gather 4 of the 10" pipe lengths and 8 copper tees.  Glue one tee to each end.  Squeeze glue to the inside of the tees, and insert pipe.   Use a flat surface so that the tees are lined up on each side. 

Next, gather 4 of the 1" pieces.  Glue to the inside of 2 of the copper tees and pipe units.  See photo below:

Place the 2 pipe units without the 1" pieces standing upright on a flat surface.  Take the 2 units with the 1" pieces and place perpendicular to the other units.  Glue together at 4 connection points.

This photo explains what I'm talking about a little better.  The 1" pieces disappear between the 2 tee pieces.

Repeat this entire process two more times until you have a total of 3 units that look just like the photo above. 

Let pieces dry for several hours or overnight.

Now, take 4 of the 20" long pieces and glue to one of the units you made earlier. 

Glue another unit on top of the 20" pipes and then glue on 4 more 20" pieces. 

Glue the final unit to the top of the (4) 20" pieces.  Glue 4 more of the 1" pieces to the very top.

Almost done!  Glue a 45 degree connector piece to each of the 1" pieces at the top.  Glue the 45 degree connector so that it is facing the center of the trellis.

Take one of the 90 degree connector pieces and glue a 10" piece to each side.

Glue to two of the 45 degree connector pieces on the trellis located at opposite corners.

Take the other 90 degree connector piece and glue a 10.5" piece to each side.  Glue this to the 2 remaining 45 connector pieces on the trellis.

Glue an end cap to each end of the 12" long pipe pieces.  Place the trellis on its side and glue each of the 12" pieces to the bottom the trellis.  Let dry overnight before using.

Here is a shot of the trellis after I finished it but before anything was growing on it:

Here are a few completed photos.  Like I mentioned, it was Winter when I made this, so I was thrilled when the weather warmed up and I was able to put the trellis to good use in our landscaping.  I found the perfect spot in our front yard and planted Morning Glories at the base of the trellis.

The Morning Glories seemed to love the trellis - they grew like crazy!

By August, the trellis was almost completely covered in vines.  I think it's so pretty and I loved how it looked in our front landscape.  I think I'll be putting it in the same spot this year.

I have a few other recommendations for what to grow on the trellis.  Clematis (A) is one of my favorite perennial vines.  There are so many beautiful varieties.  I'm thinking this copper trellis could be a very elegant and pretty alternative to a traditional tomato cage (B).  Hyacinth Bean (C) is one of my very favorite annual vines!  It grows quickly and the flower spikes are gorgeous.  The flowers dry into pods with seeds.  You can easily dry the seeds and then grow again the following year.

I've shared this post with Marty at her Inspire Me Tuesday Party.


  1. Alissa,
    You put so much effort into these lovely DIY posts. The photography is breathtaking. You are an expert and inspiration on so many creative fronts. Thank you for sharing your talents. --Tammy

  2. I LOVE this. One of my very first pins on Pinterest was a copper trellis. :) I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with an Easter gift for my mom and sister. I usually do a perennial or mixed pot, but I'm TOTALLY making them each one of these. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. This is so great, Alissa! Hope y'all had a wonderful Easter. :)

  4. This is a neat project. I love copper you've given me some ideas for smaller trellis options, thank you! Great tips and instruction too, what a great structure for those morning glories.

    Carole @ Garden Up Green.

  5. What a beautiful, graceful structure! Your directions and photos are clear and easy to follow, and I'm very grateful for the gluing instructions! I'm going to make this for my new garden in my new house - thanks for sharing!

  6. Thank you! The end caps go on the very bottom of the four legs - they finish off the bottom so no dirt gets up in the legs. Have fun making this!


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