After an extensive iteration of closet ideas and costing…. we decided to build out own with tools we had and skills we’ve learnt over the years. It’s a fairly simple concept, but it takes a couple days to complete after purchasing all the parts. So I’m gunna show you how we did ours, and maybe it will give you the confidence to do it and maybe, just maybe, it’ll go quick for you. So, keep in mind, this option/design still cost a few hundred dollars by the time we got all the parts. It might cost more if you need tools as well. But, to buy a modular closet from Ikea or equivalent cost upwards of 500-700$!
Step1: Get a plan done. Grab your measuring tape, a pencil and measure twice. You can see in the photo we had a loose sketch of the concept – shelves and rod. From there I could create a list of parts. This is key, especially with plumbing parts and a big box retailer involved. You can waste hours in the hardware store, so have a plan, get in, get out… once…
Second thing to do it, set out all your parts and prepare to mock up the design. Some people call this a dry fit, like you would do in plumbing cold and hot water pipes.
Next, pull together all your tools. This is basically a plumbing job, for closet design. Trust me, it will be rad… so get together your plumbing tools for copper pipe.
Now, before you go cutting pipe, start marking up the closet area. Set down a nice size work cloth… you don’t want to burn holes into your flooring when you solder/weld this up. Get out the stud finder, green tape or a pencil and mark out the studs for mounting. This rod will take a fair load once all your clothes are hung, so if you can’t find a stud, use butterfly ancors in combination with screw in drywall ancors for the base plate.
Now mount the base plate. For this step we measured a hanger width, then added a shirt and measured the width, then added a couple inches so we could add doors at a later date. Check height and width of clothing and ensure everything will fit.
With the wall base plate all installed, you can measure out your width for the closet bar. The pipe fittings require a certain amount of space to fit properly. So this mock up or dry fit is crucial before you make any major cuts of the pipe. Ensure this second base plate hits a stud (roof joist in our case). This one is critical to have a in a stud, I don’t think this plate can handle the load as well as the sheer weight on the 90 degree wall plate… anyway… find a stud.
Once your confident with the width of the hanger bar, you have a stud all lined up and things sit level, mark out the pipe and cut your first rod.
For this pipe tool, you twist, turn tight, twist a few times, turn tighter, twist, tighten and so on. Eventually the pipe will be cut. Make sure the blade doesn’t wander, so get that first turn nice and straight.
Voila! Dry fit, done. This basically has taken half a day or so. Now, before any victory dances are done, mark all the joints with a jiffy marker, then take it all down, then go get a coffee or tea… up next… you need to solder/weld the pipe together!
This is a bit tedious, but satisfying when it’s done right. Lightly sand (scouring pads work well) with sand paper every where you have a joint in the pipe. Get inside and outside surfaces in the entire area. Once all areas are complete, you can move into the solder flux.
Put on gloves. Load up a Q-tip with flux…
…. spread the flux on all the joints you just sanded. This is critical, this is what prepares the metal the accept the solder and create a weld. So use it liberally and cover the entire area.
Dry fit back together with all your lines, lined up. Get some pliers that lock, or use allen keys to hold the metal plate to prevent you burning your fingers, it’s gunna get hot…. real hot.. Now, turn on your blow torch and focus the middle to tip of the flame over the joint. Once the metal starts to change color and the flux has been all sucked up into the joint, apply the solder directly on the joint and wait for the metal to “suck” it up creating a bond.
It doesn’t hurt to buy a couple extra pieces if you have never done this before. Just give it a try, once you get it to successfully work once…. you can just repeat Once you do the connections for both base plates, re-install the wall “sheer” base plate, insert your length of pipe and then screw in your second base plate. It might be hard to wedge the pipe in if both base plates are in place…
Next use paint thinner, or rubbing alcohol to clean the pipes and joints. This will make sure no flux or acid is present.
This next step in optional, but as a self proclaimed car guy… I had the polish… so… why not. Polish the copper to a bright vivid yellow/orange.
And, voila! One side completed! Just some shelves to get in… then repeat on the other side of the loft/attic area.
Here it is all loaded up with clothes…. not bad!
Next the shelves. Stay in touch to check it out! It will also use copper pipe and base plates for construction.