I recently rented an apartment and didn’t quite know what to do with the bedroom. I like modern furniture, but can’t tolerate the price. It seems that high cost and low quality are traveling together in stores; I have a solution for that.
After several projects, I discovered lengths of PVC pipe and five-gallon PVC buckets in my garage. I stared at each of them until they presented me with an idea. While watching an old science fiction show, I gave one idea a shot. A boy I knew was about to turn 10 and he was a diehard sci-fi fan like me; he always wanted a futuristic looking bedroom. I decided to start with a dresser; not an everyday model.
When I presented it to him on his birthday, his parents loved it. A couple of months later I saw it again; he had made a few modifications. That kid will be making sci-fi movies one day. I hope to see one of my designs on a set; but l digress. Let’s get back to it.
This design is extremely flexible; you can modify it to fit any room in the house, including the garage. Use different widths of PVC to create unique storage spaces. See the notes area for different ideas.
You will need:
- · PVC pipe in different large diameters such as 6″, 12″ or 24″.
- · PVC buckets also work well; remove the handles and set the lids aside.
- · PVC cement
- · Hacksaw and blades for working with PVC
- · Measuring and marking tools
- · PVC or wood frame; make a frame with spaces that fit your pipes
- · Plywood sheets that you can cut holes in (see notes)
- · Connectors to attach pipes to the frames if desired.
- · Paint or stain as desired
- · Canvas cloth- use as heavy as you can get, preferably 16 oz.
- · Fabric or contact cement to create the tambour-inspired drawers
- · MDF
- · Small finishing nails and construction glue
- · Drawer pulls
- · Drill and small bits
- · Construction adhesive
I talked to my friends (the boy’s parents) and explained what I wanted to do for his birthday. They loved the idea; he had talked about having a sci-fi looking bedroom but weren’t successful at finding furniture that looked “cool enough” in his eyes. He had drawn pictures with dresser drawers with round shapes set into see-through frames.
I gathered all my PVC pipe lengths and took out three sections of 24″ pipe (free from a construction site, with permission), 16″ pipe and 12″ pipe. I also had a few orange, green, red and white PVC buckets.
I removed the handles from the buckets and set the lids aside. All the pipes were cut to the same lengths of the buckets- this is the drawer depth.
I decided my frame would be five feet wide and four feet high; it would resemble a sort-of wall. I made a frame out of clear PVC pipe and clear cement. The sections were wide enough for the 24″ pipe to fit into snugly; these would need no fasteners to keep them in place.
I make plywood backs for each of the pipes and glued them inside. For the drawers, I cut two half-circles (using the same measurements I used for the plywood backs). I measured each pipe individually. For the smallest of the pipes, this was not necessary. Of course, it can be done.
I cut two more half circles that were glued flush with the flat side. The curved side was 3/8″ smaller than the larger circle. The tambour slats were cut from ¼” MDF and contact glued to canvas cut to size. Small finishing nails were then used to hold the slats in place while the construction adhesive dried.
Remember to use contact cement on the canvas and MDF; construction adhesive for wood-to-wood surfaces.
I inserted each new drawer into the pipes to ensure a good fit.
The drawer lids were used as a template to create drawer fronts for the buckets. I made additional drawer fronts for each of the large pipes. These were attached to the drawers themselves. For the smaller pipes, PVC pipe caps that fit over then ends of the pipe worked fine.
Modern-looking drawer pulls were attached to all the drawers, including the smaller pipe caps.
All the pipes were set in place. It looked interesting; a clear frame with different sized pipes created a unique look. Smaller pipes were on top and became progressively larger toward the bottom, just like a regular dresser.
I had some clear Plexiglas that I welded to the top and sides so that he could set items on top. The sides look cool; they are colored Plexiglas sheets. I felt I didn’t really need to put a bottom sheet on it. The end pipe caps created feet for the frame that work fine.
His parents and I decided to paint the drawers to match the boy’s favorite colors. When we unveiled the final product on his birthday, he was elated. He had something no one else among his friends or classes had.
This entire project cost well under $300; most was spent on clear PVC and fittings, cements, MDF and hardware (as well as a set of hacksaw blades). Most of the PVC pipes and buckets came from other projects and a couple of construction sites. I asked for any leftover pipe ends and they were given to me.
This idea can be used anywhere. Use this idea to create storage space in places such as:
- · Narrow areas
- · RV’s
- · Kid’s rooms
- · Garage
- · Storage shed
- · Pantry
- · Mud Room for shoes, athletic equipment and so forth
You can save a bundle by using plain white PVC instead of clear. There are different colored PVC pipes available for furniture projects as well. Most fittings and pipe can be found at your local DIY store.
- · Utilize an old wine rack and use PVC pipe that provides the closest fit in the spaces. You can also fill the different spaces with different widths of PVC for unique storage. Use PVC pipe caps to enclose the storage and prevent items from falling out.
- · Build a wine rack with the squares set on point (diamond shape) and fill with PVC pipe(s) as above.
- · Permanently attach the pipes to the racks, or use bolts and wing nuts to make moving easier. Just put the lids on PVC buckets or PVC pipe caps on the storage bins. For dresser drawers, tape around the drawers and carry the drawer as a packed unit.
- · For those who love miniatures, make a rack with small sized PVC pipes and caps for pencils, pens and other desk equipment. You or the recipient will be sure to love it.
- · Instead of making a PVC or wooden rack, cut holes in two sheets of at least ½” plywood. Use 2-by-2 wood to create the frame and insert the pipes or buckets.
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse forms of crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects and more.