How to Make an Upcycled Cable Drum Table Planter

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The Little Veggie Patch Co bookDIY Garden Projects is the Little Veggie Patch Co’s fourth book and is a little different from the others, because instead of focusing solely on gardening it covers a range of practical, DIY projects to make the most of your backyard. It’s in their typical fun, bright and entertaining style with a range of projects ranging from basic products to do with kids to more involved projects for the dedicated DIYer. We are sharing one of the great projects – how to upcycled a cable drum into an outdoor table.

How to make an upcycled Cable Drum Table Planter 

Coming in third of the all-time most versatile recycled products is the cable drum. While its circular nature makes it less applicable to constructions than the pallet or fruit crate, one advantage over its counterparts is that it can be easily transported without machinery or a motor vehicle. And when you have finished rolling it to its resting place, simply tip it onto its side to convert it into a readymade table.
As with most things old and beautiful, they have gradually been replaced by something new and plastic. The wooden wheels, which will always be considered nothing less than works of art, have been phased out in favour of efficient and cost-effective plastics. But the durability of the wooden devices mean a lot are still in circulation today, being  flogged off by wise guys who recognise things of value.
If you do your research you can come across cable drum cities – stacks of different-sized and coloured wheels – where, for a price, you can purchase the drum of your dreams. Perhaps before forking out cash on a cable drum for this activity, call around to some wiring wholesalers and see if you can intercept one before the wise guys come for collection.

THINGS YOU’LL NEED
• cable drum
• circular saw
• sander
• rocks, scoria, offcuts, broken pots
• premium potting mix
• herbs and veggies of your choice
• water

WHAT TO DO

  1. Hunt down and secure the services of a lovely, wooden cable drum. For the purpose of a table, it’ll need to be approximately 800–900 mm (2 ft 7½ in–2 ft 11½ in) in height when laid on its side. Anything smaller can be made into the kids’ table.

2. To avoid constantly hitting the base of the drum as you try to tuck in your chair, you need to trim this with a circular saw. Flip it over and make it a square large enough to SUPPORT the weight of the table. In this case, we cut it down to a 500 mm by 500 mm (1 ft 7½ in by 1 ft 7½ in) square base.

3. Some cable drums will have a hole in the centre, which makes planting simple. Our drum didn’t, so we used a circular saw to cut an opening in the top.
Any cable drum worth its salt will have more than a few splinters waiting to embed themselves in your delicate skin. Take a sander to it and with a little work the wood should look and feel REJUVENATED. A little sanding will also make the wood more receptive if you want to cover it in varnish, which will then help protect the table from the weather.

4. Fill the cable drum with a premium potting mix. Bear in mind that many plants don’t need much more than 300 mm (12 in) of soil to grow. So, feel free to chuck in some rocks, scoria, wooden offcuts or anything else that can fill the space and raise the planting level.
Plant the herbs and veggies of your choice. We find that something LOW MAINTENANCE and perennial is best. Give the plants a good watering in.
5. Pull up a seat and enjoy an afternoon chat with a good mate!
Don’t you LOVE it! The book is jam packed full of goodness like this, well worth a read 
Helen
xx
This is an edited extract from The Little Veggie Patch Co: DIY Garden Projects by Mat Pember and Dillon Seitchick-Reardon, published by Hardie Grant Books RRP$45, available now where all good books are sold.

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64 Comments

  1. heidijg on September 30, 2015 at 7:42 am

    Watching my one year old daughter’s delight as she stood amongst the pea plants opening pods and finding the sweet peas inside.

  2. Sharyn Williams on September 30, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Love this 🙂

  3. Recycled Interiors on September 30, 2015 at 8:19 am

    isn’t it gorgeous

  4. Sharyn Williams on September 30, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Living on acreage we have so much room to do so many projects, time is the factor though lol 🙂

  5. Recycled Interiors on September 30, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Sharyn Williams that is true – this is a great one though!!

  6. Angela Harmer Thurston on September 30, 2015 at 8:42 am

    I need a couple of these! I saw a huge one turned into a big bar table at a pub – looked amazing!

  7. Pete Goodlet on September 30, 2015 at 9:00 am

    How wonderful. My favourite garden memory is being in the veggie garden with my dad. As a busy builder and father of nine it was precious time that I cherished. As we watered and weeded and threw the scraps to the chooks. Simple but beautiful times ❤️

  8. Debbie Edmunds on September 30, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I’ve had mine in the outdoor fernery for years, love it and lasts well. I like it better as it gets more weathered

  9. Ashton Kelly on September 30, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    My mil has this its stunning

  10. Ashley Day on September 30, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Bianca Kennett need a table? Lol

  11. KChap on September 30, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    My fav memory of gardening has to be picking peas at my nan’s! Nan asked me to harvest them for her and I picked away, but probably only ended up passing half along. It was more of a case of “one for me, one for the bucket”. At a young age I only liked the peas themself and there was an empty pods pile beside me. I love them whole now though! And the smell of the tomato plants just fredhly watered beside me comes to mind in this memory too!

  12. Jennifer Herrington on September 30, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Sarah Louie MissMac Mac
    Luke Herrington – i want one!

  13. Bill Arbuckle on September 30, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    That cool as

  14. Kimberley Martin on September 30, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Matt Amato this could be you buddy

  15. Recycled Interiors on September 30, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    they are so cool!

  16. Matt Amato on September 30, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    And I know where the perfect one is!
    It was always your dream though…

  17. Meagan Smith on September 30, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    I’ve just moved to Belair, SA. The soil is terrible but I’m continuing to plant an orchard and veggie garden. Many summer nights coming up in my ‘happy place’.

  18. Annette Pearce on September 30, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Brings back memories. Had one on the front verandah painted orange…in the ’70s

  19. Michelle Standing on September 30, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Where at mum

  20. Emma Steendam on October 1, 2015 at 7:10 am

    Naomi Harrington didn’t you make a cable drum coffee table?

  21. Naomi Harrington on October 1, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Yeah! I like the idea of having a garden in the middle U0001f44dU0001f3fc

  22. Mary Edmunds on October 1, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Tayla. Now please.

  23. Sharyn Williams on October 1, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Recycled Interiors my favourite garden memory – seeing my children in the garden as they learn so much from being outdoors, looking for worms/bugs, getting their hands dirty digging in the soil, making mud pies, seeing how a seed grows and produces yummy food for us to eat, harvesting fresh food and eating it as soon as it is picked, playing with their ducks/chickens in the garden etc – being outdoors in the garden gives our family hours of enjoying and fun and memories 🙂

  24. Sharyn W on October 1, 2015 at 10:04 am

    my favourite garden memory – seeing my children in the garden as they learn so much from being outdoors, looking for worms/bugs, getting their hands dirty digging in the soil, making mud pies, seeing how a seed grows and produces yummy food for us to eat, harvesting fresh food and eating it as soon as it is picked, picking and smelling flowers, playing with their ducks/chickens in the garden etc – being outdoors in the garden gives our family hours of enjoying and fun and memories 🙂

  25. Cate Pearce on October 1, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Oh, I’ve just started looked for an old wooden cable reel to use as a coffee table outside! Hoping I get lucky in a salvage yard.

  26. Jacinta Loney on October 1, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Sheldon John Clark James U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602 even wearing a panama ffs U0001f602

  27. Gypsy Betts on October 1, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Wicked idea! I wonder why the crates are made sideways?

  28. Ami on October 1, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    My favourite garden memory is picking fresh veggies from mums garden. We would always go nuts over picking and shelling the fresh peas, sitting on the grass next to the veggie garden and eating them all straight away. Poor dad would always end up with packets peas as there were never any fresh ones left for him. U0001f602

  29. Patricia Anderson on October 1, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    I would add some height to that table

  30. Amanda Pilkington on October 2, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Todd Pilkington here’s a comp for you!

  31. Recycled Interiors on October 2, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Wonderful! Love it there

  32. Recycled Interiors on October 2, 2015 at 10:10 am

    That is beautiful x

  33. Recycled Interiors on October 2, 2015 at 10:10 am

    I would love one!

  34. Cate Pearce on October 2, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Will let you know if I find some, Helen U0001f60a

  35. Annette Pearce on October 2, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Telstra used to have them.Years ago they were quite common but I dont know if they still use them.

  36. Kimberley Mullen on October 2, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Sue McDonnell & Tash Richie Attiwill this is where my random pic come from x

  37. Shelly Spencer on October 2, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    How funny we were only talking it abt it today.xx thank you for such a great day xx

  38. Gabrielle Tonkin on October 2, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Always lovely seeing your beautiful face Shell. If I see the guy who owns the big wheely thingy I’ll ask if he wants to get rid of it.xx

  39. Louisa Castle on October 2, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    Narelle Petersen Julia Furneaux. Love these ideas ❤️

  40. Shelly Spencer on October 3, 2015 at 7:15 am

    That would be wonderful my darlind.hv a nice morning catchingvuo with your friendvover a cuppa

  41. Heather S on October 3, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    My favorite garden memory is pulling weeds and picking berries with my Grandma 🙂

  42. Bliss Jones on October 4, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Love this! What a great idea! U0001f44fU0001f44fWhere can you get cable drums from?

  43. David Denny on October 4, 2015 at 10:03 am

    That’s awesome… I’m on to it.

  44. Recycled Interiors on October 4, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Bliss I would suggest salvage yards ☺

  45. Bliss Jones on October 4, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Ok thanks for that! U0001f609U0001f60a

  46. Recycled Interiors on October 4, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    I really want some!

  47. Bliss Jones on October 5, 2015 at 7:01 am

    Me too! And Kicking myself for not picking up a small one left on the side of the road for kerb side pick up, by the time I was going back past short time later it was gone! U0001f62d

  48. Recycled_Interiors on October 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Heather S beautiful Heather

  49. Recycled_Interiors on October 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    great advice!

  50. Recycled_Interiors on October 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    thank you Cate Pearce

  51. Recycled_Interiors on October 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    @Ami that is just the most beautiful memory, thank you for sharing

  52. Recycled_Interiors on October 7, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    definitely and would love to see what you do

  53. Recycled_Interiors on October 7, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Sharyn W oh that is wonderful, such an important thing to teach children

  54. Recycled_Interiors on October 7, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Sharyn Williams that is just wonderful! thank you for sharing

  55. Recycled_Interiors on October 7, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    @KChap wonderful memories, so important to spend time with grandparents and learn from them

  56. Recycled_Interiors on October 7, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    isn’t it fantastic!

  57. Recycled_Interiors on October 7, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Pete Goodlet that is beautiful Pete

  58. Recycled_Interiors on October 7, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    heidijg so much lovely!

  59. Recycled_Interiors on October 10, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Heather S can you please email me at helene@adam.com.au to collect your prize!

  60. Michelle Roger on October 28, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Not the best pic but I nabbed one a while back and took the easy out of some paint on top and whacking some plants on top. It’s now my outside coffee table. And a pop of colour in my bland rental backyard.

  61. Denis Keane on July 29, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Jobs on! Monica Kane U0001f44dU0001f3fd
    We have one.

  62. Lynette Wynne on July 29, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Would love to get my hands on a couple of these!

  63. Monica Kane on July 29, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Let’s do it!!

  64. Recycled Interiors & The Sustainable Home Hub on July 30, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    me too have seen them at the salvage yards

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