Repurposing Junk to Make an Outdoor Side Table

5 Materials
2 Hours

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!

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.


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.


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!

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.


I decided to use up some black waterproof spray paint that was kicking around my house before it too went out of date.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

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.

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. 

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!

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.

If you like'd this project you might like some of the other fun upcycling projects on my blog Upcycle My Stuff - I'd love if you popped by for a visit!

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Kristen Hubert
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  • Lori Lexvold Lori Lexvold on Aug 10, 2020

    Hi Kristen,. Wondering if you have any ideas for repurposing a punch bowl?

    Thank you,


  • RC Leach RC Leach on Aug 17, 2020

    Wow, you did a great job on this project! The table at the other end of the bench is also very interesting! Is it an original creation of yours, as well?


  • Carollynda Carollynda on Aug 06, 2022

    Being one of 2 crazy cat ladies, I have a lot of square buckets from litter. Use them for everything from portable stools, to side tables, container for birdseed, and my printer is currently sitting on one!! The plastic bail handles pop out, and right back in. 🐱🐈️😊

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  • Carey Carey on Oct 11, 2020

    I actually have some black irrigation tubing that turned out to have been cut when unpacked in the store but we lived so far away that it wasn't feasible to return it when we found out that we couldn't use it. I have kept it (just like you : ) ) in case I might need it for patching. This looks like a reasonable way to put it to use! I will have to think about that. as it is, I have a planter, that I have been thinking of using by putting a top on it in order to have a side table. I want one that will be on wheels so that it is easy for me to move! Currently, I purchased a pretty pedestal planter, put a plastic base inside to use to display shells that I picked up on a florida beach (Christmas Memories) placed a glass top on it and now it is holding my beautiful begonia plant! : )

  • Dl.5660408 Dl.5660408 on Aug 07, 2022

    Well done!