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Best cable drum ideas: inspiration for upcycling wooden cable reels

Wooden cable drums can be easily be upcycled into beautiful and unique pieces of furniture - here are some of our favourites for inspiration

Wooden cable drums and reels are crying out to be upcycled, but don’t let your imagination stop with with an ordinary table –  from seats to planters, children’s play stations to kitchen islands and even decking, the sky really is the limit.


Whether you’re planning to give a salvaged cable reel a simple lick of paint or cut it up for ambitious DIY projects your imagination really can run wild – and let’s face it they deserve so much more than languishing in landfill.

If you plan on painting them you can use many different types of paints – acrylic, oil or chalk furniture paint – available from high street retailers including B&QHomebase and Wilko.

Here is a more detailed guide on  how to paint furniture ,which will guide you through painting a cable drum perfectly. Want to go for a shabby-chic vibe? Here’s how to get the distressed furniture look

We scoured Instagram to find our favourite cable drums upcycles to get you inspired:

Best cable drum ideas

Cable drum bookshelves

Quite simply a home can never have too many books! Whether you keep the cable drum rustic or give it a lick of paint, a cable drum bookshelf makes a great addition to any room. This creation was made by makeoldnewinsta and you can find more upcycling ideas and tutorials on their website

Cable drum console tables

Yes, really! Cable drums can make fabulous console tables. Cut in half and apply a little varnish, oil or paint, and voila, you have a pair of quirky console tables perfect for hallways, living rooms or even bedside tables. This rustic console table  was created by reclaimedbyjames who sells a lot of his creations. You can also follow him on Facebook, at ReclaimedbyJames.

Cable drum clock

A large clock makes a great focal point for a country kitchen or over a living room mantelpiece  – and one cable drum can let you do both! Simply saw the top and bottoms off and add varnish or paint of your choice.  Then attach a clock movement, available from many different retailers, and Bob’s your uncle – you have a pair of handsome clocks for virtually nothing!

The clock above was made by artist Carolyn Trafford and you can check out her art at

The clock below is another creation by makeoldnewinsta and you can find more upcycling ideas and tutorials on their website

Cable drum garden seats

This project requires some woodwork skills  but with basic tools, knowhow and imagination you can create a totally unique garden bench at the fraction of the price of a ready-made one. This bench was created by desirable_wood_crafts, a reclaimed bespoke woodwork and carpentry business. You can also take a look at their work on their website

Cable drum garden bar

Every garden needs somewhere to stash the drink for those long summer evenings, particularly if you love throwing barbecues and parties. Give your alcohol and mixers a snazzy summer home. This bar was created by silvia.iacovelli, who loves giving fresh life to retired furniture – check out her Etsy shop Creatipedia

Cable drum garden planter

Planters are a perfect way of adding colour to patios and decking, but nice ones can be expensive. This charming upcycled cable drum is simple to do and will add cheerful colour to all areas. This one was created by Rawr Furniture Co, who specialise in sustainable handmade rustic industrial furniture take a look at their Etsy shop RawrFurnitureCo as well.

Cable drum children’s play station

Keep the little ones entertained with a crafty upcycled play station. Cable drums are the perfect height for children, and they even offer storage underneath for everything from animal farms to model cars and fairy toadstools.  This fabulous one was created by pippilearns

Cable drum decking

Yes, you did read that right – you can create decking from cable drums, and if you are having trouble envisaging it, just look at the beautiful image above for inspiration! This decking was created by mid_sussex_wood_recycling, a non-for-profit wood recycling organisation

Want to give it a go? Here’s how to install decking

Cable drum table

It might be the obvious cable drum upcycle but is still one of the most effective, useful and beautiful.  Top tip: If you plan to place a lamp or any other electrical appliance on your finished cable drum table you can run your cables through the hollow middle to keep wires out of sight.

This beautiful coffee table was created by boho_byproducts 

Where can you buy cable drums?

Best cable drum ideas: inspiration for upcycling wooden cable reels

You can often buy cable drums on Ebay  and Facebook Marketplace


Show us your upcycles

Have you upcycled a cable drum? Share your pictures with us on Instagram using the hashtag #YHScabledrumideas