The hardware store can be a great resource for arts and crafts supplies. Our store is frequently visited around Mardi Gras by the guys who design stages for Mardi Gras balls. We have helped our local celebrity drag queens design props for their performances. But we are not just a resource for these high profile artists. We have a lot of supplies that you can use at home. Supplies you may already know we have include; glue, glue guns, staple guns, wooden and metal rods, tie wire, and paint. However my favorite medium for craft projects is one that may not occur to you in your creative brainstorming; galvanized pipe and fittings.
Galvanized pipe is normally used to transport water or gas through your home. It is a waterproof, metal pipe that comes in diameters ranging from ¼ inch to 2 inchs. Lengths of pipe can be as long as 21 feet, and we can cut them to any size you want. The ends of each pipe are threaded to allow the fastening of fittings. There are a variety of fittings; elbows, couplings, bushings, flanges, and tees. These allow you to connect pipes of different sizes at different angles.
I have personally created a medieval candelabra lamp and a bicycle trailer. There are many possibilities for designing lamps with galvanized pipe. Go the hardware store and sit in front of all the galvanized pipe and fittings like a kid who just poured a box of Legos on the floor. Start playing around with them and see what you come up with. Once you have your design, place light bulbs sockets in the desired spaces and run lamp wire through the pipe. On the other end, connect a plug and wah lah.The electrical work is not difficult and does not require an electrician. If you need help, your hardware store salesperson will be glad to assist.
I get around Midtown by bicycle, and I love landscaping. But it is tough to transport garden soil and lawn equipment on a bike. I went shopping for bicycle trailers, but the ones I found on the market could only haul up to 70 pounds. That’s only one and a half bags of potting soil and a lot of trips to the hardware store. I needed to design a bicycle trailer that could haul a few hundred pounds. I had never designed anything like this before but I thought it was worth a shot. Even if I failed, I knew I would have fun trying. I went to the hardware store and started to construct a frame. As I did, the ideas began flowing. I even came up with a shock absorbing system. By the end of the day, I had a new custom bicycle trailer. With a few tweaks over the next week, it was ready for a test ride. It successfully carried over 300 pounds.
You are not limited to lamps and bike trailers. People have made tables, chairs, curtain rods, shelves, towel bars, and even alcohol dispensers. I suggest Googling “galvanized pipe crafts” to get some ideas. The possibilities are endless. Here are just a few of other peoples’ creations.