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Repurposing Junk to make an Outdoor Side Table

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This tutorial was written by Charlie Miller, a freelance blogger based in Vancouver, Canada.

I love repurposing junk. I like taking strange items and finding a way to use them instead of throwing them away….its a bit of an obsession if I’m honest.

Like most people I accumulate junk and I have a particular problem for hanging on to things that I’m not actually using anymore.  These items sit around in piles in the garage until I get fed up with walking around them or stub my toe on them and finally say to myself ‘it is time to make this into something or get rid of it!’ 

Sometimes my creations are a bit more out there than others.

This ‘tutorial’ is more like an inspirational story. It is the story of how I used some random unused junk items taking up space in my house (that someone else probably would have binned!) and turned them in to something I actually needed – an outdoor side table!

repurposing junk - huge paint tub

Materials Used for My Outdoor Side Table made from Junk:

repurposing junk - old garden hose

What I used:

  • an old 5 gallon paint tub (still a quarter full of expired paint!) 
  • an old garden hose (full of holes!)
  • a random piece of wood (left over from a failed attempt to grow edible mushrooms on a log (sigh!)).
  • a collection of half full spray paint cans and glue leftover from other projects.

So here is the story of how I made my outdoor side table. I hope it will inspire you to take a look around your own garage or loft and spark some ideas for repurposing your own junk.

Step 1: Cleaning My Junk

repurposing junk - cleaning old paint tub

The first thing I did was clean off the outside of my giant paint tub. I didn’t take the old crusty paint out from inside, I just left it in their to provide some weight for the bottom of my table.

Step 2: Junk upon Junk

gorilla glue for gluing hose to paint tub

Mostly because I didn’t want to throw it out, and partially because I thought it might look interesting, I decided to wrap my broken hose around the paint tub and glue it in place.

I used some leftover gorilla glue – it was messy, but it worked!

repurposing junk - hose wrapped round paint tub

If you were doing something similar and you wanted to disguise the fact that the base is a paint tub you could add more decoration like a thick rope for the part not covered by the hose.  And the handle could be cut off with some pin snips or bolt/cable cutters. 

I actually left the hose nozzle on because I liked the ode to its original use but that could easily be cut off as well.

Step 3: Using up Spray Paint

spray paint - outdoor side table

I decided to use up some black waterproof spray paint that was kicking around my house before it too went out of date. I used it to spray the hose covered paint tub black.

The waterproof bit is important – if my leftover spray paint hadn’t been waterproof I couldn’t have put this table on my patio like I wanted to.

One quick spray painting tip that avoided some mess for me is that I used a cardboard box with a cut out to do my spray painting in outside. This was so that I didn’t get black spray paint all over my grass!

My son then played with the box as though it was a cave afterward! He does have a thing about playing with cardboard!

repurposing junk - cardboard cave

Step 4: Creating the Table Top

Next, I placed my old wood slab on top of it along with a random left over square tile from a bathroom renovation – just to give it a solid base.

I used my leftover glue – mostly gorilla glue, but there were some dredges of some others, to glue the bathroom tile to the lid of the paint tub and then to glue the wooden slice on top.

The wood slice is a totally random bit of junk to have isn’t it?! I’ll explain.

I actually got a local tradesmen to cut it for me specially for a mushroom growing technique I thought would be great for being a bit more self-sufficient.

It didn’t work…which is a whole other story…but the wooden slice was still attractive so I knew it would get used for something eventually – which is why I hung on to it.

Outdoor side Table in less than an hour!

repurposing junk - outdoor side table

This whole project took me less than an hour to complete (minus the drying time for the spray paint).

As I said above, I didn’t remove the old paint from inside the tub. It is actually working as a weight to keep the table stable.  If your tub is empty put in some rocks or other junk items you want to hide to make it more sturdy. 

repurposing junk - outdoor side table

You don’t need to seal the lid as these lids are designed to stay on securely so inside your tub would be a great place to hide your spare set of keys…as long as your tub isn’t full of paint like mine!

Other ideas for Repurposing Junk

Now I don’t expect you to have the same junk items as me lying around – it was a pretty random collection! – but I hope it gives you some ideas for how to start looking at repurposing junk from your own home and seeing those unused items around your house in a different way.

I could have bought a side table fairly cheaply online. But this way, I got what I wanted (a side table), I cleared some space, and I didn’t send my junk to landfill. It’s also a bit of a talking point too!

There are loads of ways of repurposing junk out there. Lots of junk and bric a brac that we don’t use can easily be repurposed as planters for example. Old clothing can be turned into rugs, and large pieces of plywood or pallets can be used to make your own wall art.

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repurposing junk - diy outdoor side table
repurposing junk to make an outdoor side table

Repurposing Junk to make an Outdoor Side Table

Active Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 hour 1 minute
Difficulty: Easy

How to make an outdoor side table by creatively using the junk left around your yard or garage.

Materials

  • Old 5 gallon paint tub
  •  Piece of wood
  • Spray paint
  • Glue
  • Broken Garden Hose

Instructions

  1. Clean empty paint tub or other large container you have lying around.
  2. Wrap broken hose around the base of the tub and glue in place.
  3. Spray paint the base black
  4. Use a large thick tile, slice of wood or large tray to form the table top - glue in place.

Check out these other posts from Upcycle My Stuff for some more inspiration:

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