Flea Market Flip: Industrial Craft Table Makeover With Copper Pipe Shelving
See how a basic metal table gets a functional + glam makeover.
It’s Flea Market Flip Theme Week on I Heart HGTV! All week, we’ll be sharing our best thrifting tips and makeovers. Come back every day for a new take on upcycling.
I like to joke that all DIY projects take me four hours...plus two years. I can't pass up a promising-if-needy furniture piece, which means I have quite a queue of "diamonds in the rough" that need some polish. So when our Flea Market Flip-inspired week of makeovers rolled around, I already had the perfect thrifted piece on hand: This 1950s, metal-topped table. See how I transformed it into a craft table with built-in industrial storage.
Before the makeover, this table had a lot of good: It's large enough for big projects and it has a nearly-perfect white enamel top. It had some flaws, too, though: The stainless steel legs had rust spots, the drawer was busted, and the wooden base needed a new paint job. Time for a makeover!
Currently I'm loving the combination of copper and deep blue, so I decided to go with metallic legs and hardware and a painted base. I chose a blue-green chalk paint and wax to give the piece a matte finish and used metallic copper spray paint for the legs and hardware.
Since I plan to use this piece as a craft table, I wanted to add some decorative storage. Enter the copper pipe. I decided to add hanging bars on three sides: A removable 12-inch shelf on each side and a longer 24-inch shelf along the back for hanging baskets and bins.
I decided to create two types of shelves: two smaller 12-inch shelves attached to the sides with cup hooks, and the other using a longer 24-inch copper pipe connected with pipe coupling. I painted all the hooks and nails the same bright copper hue — it's optional, but really gives the piece a finished look.
After the paint dried, I decided to add some wallpaper samples I had on hand inside the drawer. I love how the black-and-white, hand-drawn paper coordinates with the black-and-white top.
The 12-inch shelf is connected to the table with 1/2-inch cup hooks, so I can remove it to access tape, yarn, etc.
S-hooks (painted copper) make the copper bar into a place for hanging storage. I used these metal buckets from the dollar bin — so cute!
Leaving the top of the table white creates a neutral backdrop for colorful accessories. And how adorable is this planter, BTW?
What I Learned
Like every good DIY project, this was quite the learning experience. Here are some of the takeaways I learned for future projects, or if you try your hand at a similar piece:
Copper pipe isn't always consistent. First off: Who knew there were so many sizes and shapes of copper pipe and connectors? My head is spinning with possibilities, but it also took awhile to find the right pieces. I also learned (the hard way) to make sure that every piece of pipe fit with its appropriate connector before leaving the store; I found there to be some slight size variation.
Test your paint before you start. I tried a new brand of chalk paint, and despite the advertisement to the contrary, it left some brush strokes. I wish I had tried it on a small piece of wood (or purchased a sample pot) before painting my entire table.
Don't spray paint in your garage. Ha. I know this is self-explanatory, but it was raining and I had a project to finish. Definitely keep it outside — that stuff stinks! And as always, go with thin, even coats and keep the spray paint 5-8 inches from the item to. Make sure to choose one that'a appropriate for use on metal, and if you're going for a copper-pipe look, choose a light copper hue. I found this one at the craft store; my home improvement store only carries the antiqued copper paint.