Everybody has a mom, even Man Podger David. No, he wasn’t brought down on a crafty alien spaceship, though sometimes his projects are out of this world! That was a horrible joke, by the way. David’s gift for Mother’s Day is a DIY vase collection made out of PVC pipe, so even though my joke was bad, it was completely true. Here’s how he did it.
I’m getting a lot of requests for Mother’s Day themed items at my Etsy store. So I had Mother’s Day on the brain when I visited Home Depot recently. I found myself, as I often do, in front of all the PVC piping thinking “there must be something I can make out of this!” There are so many great shapes and sizes and it’s all so affordable, but I’ve never been able to come up with anything. And it suddenly dawned on me that I could use the various pipes to make vases. And then I thought, why not wrap the pipes in old photos and make a fun, nostalgic centerpiece for a Mom’s Day celebration? For a total cost was about $12.
PVC Pipes of various widths
PVC Caps to fit the pipes
PVC Pipe Cement
Outdoor Mod Podge
Wooden Base (mine is from Michaels)
Glue (I used E-6000)
Laser copies of old photos
Foam Brush (not pictured)
Forstner Bit and drill (optional)
1) I cut the PVC pipes into various lengths – just eyeballing what I thought was good. I used a miter saw, but any saw will cut through the plastic.
2) Next up (following the manufacturer’s instructions) I used the PVC cement to glue the caps to the pipes and set them aside to dry.
3) I then gathered and scanned some old family photos. I resized each photo to fit a specific pipe – I needed it to be tall enough and wide enough to wrap around its designated pipe. I also played a little bit with the tint of each picture to provide some contrast.
4) I printed the photos out onto plain paper using a laser printer. The laser is key – I knew I was going to soak the images in water and inkjet ink will run. Kinkos or Staples can make a laser copy for you if you need.
5) I dropped the image in some water and, while it soaked, I coated the outside of the PVC pipe with Outdoor Mod Podge. I then removed the image from the water and gently ran my fingers down it to remove excess water and then applied it to the pipe using my fingers to smooth out bubbles etc. I added a little more Mod Podge to seal where the ends of the paper overlapped. I did that for each pipe and then set them aside to dry.
6) This next step is totally optional. I used two Forstner bits to drill holes in the wood base. If you don t have a drill press you can skip this.
7) I gave the photo-tubes a sealing coat of Outdoor Mod Podge and, when that was dry trimmed away any excess paper from the tops and bottoms.
8) Next I glued the tubes to the base using E-6000. (NOTE: If you didn’t drill the holes in step 6 then just glue the pipes directly to the base. I checked and it will work – my suggestion is that you cluster the pipes closer together so they touch each other to provide a little extra stability.) After everything has had time to fully dry (24 hours) fill the pipes with water and insert your flowers.
3 Some further thoughts 1) I think next time I will paint the tops of the PVC pipes for a more finished look. 2) It occurred to me that this could become a very adaptable thing. If you used a thicker base and drilled deeper holes you could skip gluing the tubes in place and just let the base hold them. Then you could then decorate other tubes with colorful graphics or fabric or what have you and, when you wanted to, swap out the tubes to suit your mood. I hope you enjoy my DIY vases.