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Before the kitchen became a stainless-steel-and-granite showpiece, the cook's room was a ­hardworking, faraway place, full of steam and heat and exposed pipes. One way to evoke that Victorian-era look—short of bringing the plumbing out of the wall again—is to put your pipes on display with a copper pot rack.

Using everyday plumbing parts, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva assembled this cookware holder in just a couple of hours. Push-together tees and elbows took away the need for messy soldering, and brass polish made the copper shine like a new penny. Read on to see how to make your own custom-sized pot rack from off-the-shelf plumbing supplies.

Step 1

How to Make a Pot Rack

Photo by Don Penny/Time Inc. Digital Studio

Common copper plumbing pipe shines up easily for an elegant hanging grid.

Step 2

Cut the Pipe Sections

Photo by Anthony Tieuli; David Carmack

Create a diagram of your pot rack design, including detailed measurements for each section of pipe. Where each pipe attaches to a connector, be sure to subtract the size of the connectors—½ inch for a tee and ¾ inch for an elbow—from the length of the pipe section.

Include in the diagram five tees for mounting the pot rack on the wall: one at each corner 2 inches from the elbows on the vertical sides and one in the middle of the center rail. Make a cut list from the drawing. Using a tubing cutter, cut all the pipe sections to length.

Step 3

Assemble the Pieces

Photo by Anthony Tieuli and David Carmack

Lay out the pieces of the rack on a flat surface. Place the tees and elbows in line with the pipes, but don't attach them yet—once connected, they can't be pulled apart. Check that the pot rack is even and square, accounting for ½ inch of pipe inside each connection and ¾ inch on each side of the corners. Assemble the rack by pushing the pipes into the connectors as far as they will go.

Step 4

Assemble the Mounting Flanges

Photo by Anthony Tieuli and David Carmack

Screw a threaded male adaptor into each floor flange. Using a tubing cutter, cut five sections of 1½-inch pipe. Drop each section into a male adaptor.

Using a drill/driver outfitted and ⅛-inch bit, drill a hole through one side of each adapter-pipe pair. Drive a ½-inch self-tapping screw into each hole to lock each pair together.

Step 5

Secure the Pot Rack to the Wall

Photo by Anthony Tieuli and David Carmack

Push a flange assembly onto each mounting tee, facing the back of the rack. Using a drill/driver and No. 10 screws, mount the each flange on the wall through a stud or into a wall anchor.