How to Up-cycle a Cable Table Drum

Old electric cable drums are natural beauties with their used and rustic look.

There is no two exactly the same as they differ in size, shape, wood, colour…

They look great just as they are or you can sand, paint and varnish them to make them stand out even more.

And if you are more adventurous play with colours, stencils, accessories, etc…

Let’s look what I did with mine.

Difficulty: EASY



Tools required: hoover, sander

Shopping list:

  • Gloves (important) – to protect you against splinters
  • Small and big paint brushes
  • Brown exterior multipurpose paint (to cover the old rustic screws)
  • Exterior wood stain (only if you don’t want to keep the original colour)
  • A5 Decorative Stencil
  • White multipurpose spray
  • Exterior Gloss varnish
  • Rope


Project cost: £60*

(*xcluding tools)

To do list:

  1. Clean your drum with the brush to get rid of the dirt, cobwebs, etc…I used a hoover. With the hoover hose you can access the inside of the drum.
  2. Sand it. More time you spend sanding the better result and smoother finish. Give it a brush to get rid of dust.
  3. Apply wood stain. Read instructions how many coats are required.
  4. Paint the rustic metal screws with a small brush.
  5. When all paints completely dry position your stencil and make sure you cover all the area around it. Spray the stencil from about 30cm distance.
  6. Once dry remove the stencil carefully and carry on around.
  7. Varnish your drum. Again, you may need several coats.
  8. Decorate with a rope.


  • Do NOT paint over stencil with a paint brush. I did it and had to re-do it all – disaster!
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