How to build a screen for plumbing and sheet metal tubes

October 5, 2017Blog Standard

Construction of a plumbing and sheet metal pipe screen is a simple way to provide privacy in an outdoor space. Such a screen can be made of a single panel or several in a line, connected to poles to form a barrier. The screen can be made of new materials; however, by reusing reclaimed materials or scrap items, you can save money and create a screen that already has a weathered look and character.


  1. Cut four equal lengths of pipe. Dry fit the tubes, using bent parts. Check if the frame is square by measuring the diagonals. If the distance between opposing angles is equal, all angles are 90 degrees. Secure the tubes and accessories. The method will depend on the type of pipe used. PVC primer and cement pieces; Screw the fittings and threaded metal tubes. Connect copper pipes easily using quick-connect or push-to-connect fittings. This will create the screen frame.
  2. Measure the approximate distance between the inside edges of the pipes along the frame. Length and width will be the same measure. Adjust the measurement to reflect any difference you prefer between the metal and the frame. This will affect how much wire you need to secure the panels. A larger gap requires more cable.
  3. Mark measurements on sheet metal panels. Cut panels to proper size using shears or scissors. Run the debarring tool on the edge to remove any fragments. Alternatively, order the custom-cut panels or have a hardware store cut the metal.
  4. Drill holes along the top and bottom edges of the spaced panels. The size of the matrix and thus the holes – depends on the material that is used to attach the panels to the structure. For example, using a thin wire will allow you to drill smaller diameter holes. Thin wire is also easier to handle. Opt for smaller holes if you want to conceal holes or create fewer opportunities to see through the screen.
  5. Attach the panel to the frame. Place frame on floor or work surface. Run one end of a piece of wire through the hole in the top left of the panel, then around the frame. Twist the short end of the wire over and around itself to secure, using your fingers or forceps. Continue to weave the free end of the thread through the panel and over the frame in the same direction, from the same side each time, as if you are sewing together. Keep the thread taut and measure to check that they maintain the same gap between the panel and the frame as you work. Cut off any excess length and twist the wire over itself to ensure once you reach the end of the panel. Repeat along the bottom edge.

Tips & Warnings

  • As an alternative to knitting one of long wire, use several smaller wires to attach the panel to the structure in each individual hole. For a more secure panel, you can also connect the sides of the panels, using the same methods to ensure the top and bottom edges.
  • Wear gloves when working with sheet metal, such as sharp edges.

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