How to Bend PVC & Make Incredible Shapes




Introduction: How to Bend PVC & Make Incredible Shapes

About: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check out my site @

I was recently working on a project where I needed to bend pvc pipes into smooth, round shapes. After some trial and error I found an easy way to get great results.

Step 1: Testing

First of all, cut your pipe to size, I used a variation of different sized pipes for this test. I found that if you heat up the pipe only with a heat gun from the outside it's hard to get a smooth curve, and you easily get kinks. Plus, you can only heat up a small section at a time. What I needed to do was find a way to heat up the pipe from the inside out.

Step 2: Tape the End

Duck tape on the end makes a nice block and then I measured out how much sand fit inside the pipe. I used regular sand that I had on hand and then I heat it up in a pot until it was pretty hot.

Step 3: Filling the Pipe

I filled the pipe almost to the top, maybe with two inch empty space, and taped it shut.

Let the pipe rest for a few minutes to heat up thoroughly. Then with gloved hands you can start bending and manipulating the pipes. You can either do this freehand, or bend around something, like a jig or something round to get a precise shape.

Step 4: Different Pipes

Once I held the shape for a little while, I poured out the sand, and there you go!

I tried this technique with a couple of different sized pipes. The larger pipes took longer to heat up and were a little harder to bend, however it's still possible to get slight curves. The thinner pipes however become very maluable and easy to bend into all sorts of crazy shapes!

Step 5: Conclusion - Watch the Video

For a much better perspective, make sure to watch the video that goes over the steps, and to see how easily the different pipes bend.

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99 Discussions


Love this. just would like a better estimate on temp of the sand rather 'pretty hot'. If someone thought 'surely it's hot enough', and then it's not, have to start over.

I LOVE this idea!! SO clever. But it made me think: would this work with maybe better using boiling water instead (especially with the bigger pipe?) I don't know if I would trust duct tape with it, but maybe a cap glued on at least the bottom end. I know you would have to cut the cap off after, but that might solve the bigger pipe issue? But seriously - hats off!!

1 reply

I was thinking the same thing. But what about trying the boiling water with sand, like a mud. Since it will be thicker, it would stay hotter longer. But then you would have the excess weight, probably making it harder to handle. Nevermind,lol


9 months ago

Fill the pipe with BBs if sand residue is a proble,

4 replies

I think I have more sand around than I do BBs. You can buy play sand at Lowe's for $4-5/80lbs. Play sand has already been filtered of rocks,pebbles, and the like. Very clean. Heats up fast.

Sand residue can usually be blown out with a compressor, or a hair dryer.

BBs sounds good - but would't it cost a fortune?

If making only 1 or 2 bends, yes, but if you are making a lot of them, then no it amortizes out vs the time cleaning out the tube after each bend.

that's really neat! I was a Pipefitter for 39 years and during that time I installed miles upon miles of pipe. This was one product that we never bent,(plastic). God knows how much steel pipe & tubing I've bent. And, this goes on the same principal in bending steel pipe. You have to fill it up with packed sand before you bend a tight radius.

5 replies

Well Mr. kwhit, baybe you can tell me why all steel pipe is 21 feet long and PVC is 20 feet long? Something I have never been able to find out.-mike

Well, that's just the way it is. There's lots of therories, shipping size etc,, it's up for grabs With the steel pipe it's no guarantee that it will be 21'. That's just the average length they can be shorter & lots of times they were. Same/same with plastic pipe.

The majority of steel pipe for water and air was produced in 21 - 0 lengths because the height from were the basement to the second floor on most construction was 21 feet for residential building. PVC pipe came much later prominately in the 1970s, at that time the pvc pipe was also used commmmercially in industrial applications. It did not matter in industrial applications and the mills like an even number. Just my $0.02.


That is a first, and makes some sense. If the pipe was ran with no fittings and elbows.

So why is it still made in 21 foot lenghts?

Mike, that's just the way it is. But, with steel pipe you can't actually go by that 21 foot length either. I've unloaded large bundles of pipe that were of varying lengths when a shipment came into the shop. Most of the time they were 21" but sometimes they weren'tIt all depends on how the were cut when them came down the hotbed.

Rather than hold the final shape for awhile until it sets, dip the pvc in a bucket of cold water, maybe the 5 gallon size. A bigger project might need cold water from a spray bottle or a garden hose.


Question 6 months ago

Would this work using sea sand. I have a bag I bought for use in a sandpit.

On the larger pipe, you can use a heat gun on the outside of the pipe while the sand heats the inside. You should be able to get a better bend out of it. Careful of the fumes. Do it in a well ventilated area.