DIY: Upcycled cable drum coffee table

Before we get in to the nitty gritty, check out this link. That, my friends is cable drum table on sale (!!!!) for £255.55. To me, that’s an expensive coffee table. It’s not that I’m tight, I’ve just always been sensible with money (and I don’t really like parting with it!) – so if there’s a chance I can do something on the cheap, I’m gonna do it.

In all honesty, I think our table is better than that £255.55 table (maybe I’m biased… 😉 ) but not only that – now every time someone compliments our table, we get to tell them that it was born from our own hard work and creativity. It brings me so much joy and satisfaction to know that we did this ourselves. So I wanted to share our process with you a) so you can make your own if it interests you but more importantly, b) to show you that creating something for your home can be SO much cheaper, surprisingly easy and brilliantly fulfilling.

Step 1: Obtain the goods

Facebook market. The genie that grants the wishes to our DIY dreams. I found a guy with a number of cable drum tops in amazing condition 20 minutes from our house – perfect. Not only is this how we found our cable drum but recently we got 12 wonderful pallets for our DIY outdoor seating (I’ll post about this one day) for free!

Cable drum obtained ✓

Total cost so far = £20

Step 2: Make a cable drum smoothie

You need to make sure there’s no rough bits of wood that are going to stick out and ladder your tights/scratch your pets/hurt your bubbas. Time to make your table smoother than a baby’s bum. We used an electric sander – borrowed from Jack’s dad – and I’m sure that if you needed to borrow one, a simple shout on Facebook would sort you out. However, you can buy a hand sander for about £5 online (I’m not sure how effective these are) or for a larger investment, you can get a decent electric sander for £40.

Once you’ve got your sander, take your drum outside and sand until smooth. This takes around 20 minutes.

Step 3: Giving your drum a make-over

Once your drum is lovely and smooth – and assuming you want to change it’s colour – you need to choose a wood stain. This is of course, absolutely optional! Lots of the tables I’ve seen online are kept their natural colour and instead are varnished to give it a shinier, finished look. We wanted a dark table as our flooring is quite light so we went for a Dark Oak finish. We added 2 coats. Prices vary but you’re probably looking at about £10 for a large tin.

A little piece of advice – it takes a while to dry so you’ll want to leave your table somewhere overnight where it won’t get knocked.

Total cost so far = £30

Step 4: Shiny happy table

Once your table is coloured fabulous, protect it! Varnish will not only protect the colour but give it a glossy, shiny finish. How shiny you want your table is up to you – I didn’t want ours to be toooooo shiny so look in to the different options. Price wise, you can get varnish for about a tenner.

Total cost so far = £40

Step 5: Leg day

It’s been a journey. You’ve gotten it to where it is today – now it’s time to let your table stand on it’s own four feet… But what legs do you want your table to stand on? At first, we wanted wheels so it was easily manoeuvrable. We both had the exact same wheels in mind – 200mm swivel-brake iron castor wheels to be precise. They’re gorgeous, rustic…but £40 each (or thereabouts). There was no way I was going to pay £160 for 4 wheels even though they would’ve looked looooovely (see here).

So we went for these cute ‘hair pin’ legs instead. £36 for 4 and easily attached with nails/a drill.

Final total cost = £76 😀

Not only do we have a super funky handmade coffee table now – the process of making it together was so much fun. We’ve saved a hell of a lot of money and made memories in the process. Total win win!

If you’ve upcycled anything – big or small – tell me about it in the comments!

Love, Siân x


  1. Valerie Coombe
    29th July 2018 / 3:35 pm

    It’s lovely Sian and Jack.. you could go into business xx

    • lovesian
      29th July 2018 / 8:05 pm

      Thanks Val! Maybe one day we will 😛xx

  2. Brendan Scott
    31st July 2018 / 9:55 pm

    I’ve always wanted to make a pallet bed really like the look of them 😊🛌

    • lovesian
      31st July 2018 / 10:10 pm

      Yeah I love them! There’s literally so much you can do with them. Although they’re a bit of a pain in the ass to paint!! xx

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