Eco-DIY: recycle a washing machine drum into a cool ottoman

by EcoStreet on February 25, 2008

in EcoDIY

Washing machine drums are interesting looking pieces of equipment, but what are they good for once your washing machine has spun its last cycle? Well, quite a number of things. I’ve seen them used as planters, made into gorgeous glowing tables,and now esprit cabane has made one into a very stylish ottoman on wheels, with full instructions.


Can you think of anything else you can make with an old washing machine drum? Suggestions in comments please.

drum ottoman [esprit cabane]

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe February 25, 2008 at 8:21 pm

The obvious one would be a bin.
Maybe the base for a big lava lamp?
A totally recycled coat rack base?
I’m not very creative. T_T
I may use the drum once ours has died.
Thanks. 😀


Sarah Jane February 25, 2008 at 11:41 pm

use it for one of those rolling composters, if you positioned it just right inside of an outside sheath, the small holes would be nearly perfect for the finer compost to fall thru as it breaks down.


a wet tumbler for rocks, jewelry, etc. again- would have to be inside a larger, solid core.


sheepincognito February 26, 2008 at 12:58 am

a planter?
storage for stuffed animals?
storage for live animals?
mounted to the wall to store gadgets, gizmos, books, yarn, shoes, gloves, whatever?
glass on top for a table?


jamesly February 26, 2008 at 2:17 am

we had a dryer that died and i would crawl into the drum and have someone roll me around in it. it was quite fun.


beth February 26, 2008 at 2:30 am

i could see that as a modern shelf, or a few of them could make the base of a table. a storage bin is a good idea especially if you have children with lots of toys. if you get a nice metal screen at the bottom it could be a ceiling light fixture (if it has holes in the base, which i assume it does). if you line it with… i forget which fabric it is… but you can line it an use it as a pot holder. if you have a few, you can put bords on them and make them a shelf, assuming there sturdy.
i dont know much about them because i’ve never looked at one carefully. an end table if you find a nice piece of wood or rock to fit ontop. maybe if its not to heavy, a dirty clothes bin if you make a bottom.
actually the options are endless if you add a few more things to it.


tuhad February 26, 2008 at 4:04 am

My sister’s 4-wheelin club has 3 or 4 of the washer tubs-they use them for firepits while camping.


Annie February 26, 2008 at 4:35 am

How about very cute toy bins under the foot stool top? Divide into quarters with two pieces of wood and hang on the wall for cute shelves. Stack them and cut an opening on side, and they can hold winter hats, mittens, backpacks and purses — one for each child/person in the family — littlest kid on the bottom! (be sure and make them safe with wood or something around the cut edge) Keep swim toys for the pool neat and cleaned up. A fountain for the pool when not in use.


Melody February 26, 2008 at 5:46 am

We used to use them as bonfire pits.


Fred March 4, 2008 at 12:57 am

I took 25 front-loading drums, and made a nice 5.5 meters-high lamp in my stairs, using a Christmas lamp. See

I used other 21 drums (top-loading) to figure 3 big Boosters for a rocket in my garden… I’ll post some photos if someone is interested.


dManz March 16, 2008 at 11:24 pm

It looks like it would be a killer cheese grater!


Jaco Van Zyl June 10, 2008 at 7:57 pm

I have exactly the same drum as the one pictured above. When my machine broke, i turned my drum into a barbeque and have used it now for a couple of years and it’s still going. All i did was cut the top lip off and bought a round grill from riversway leisure which fits perfectly on top. As a stand i just turned the bit on which the belt runs upside down and screwed it in. Would love to show you a picture, it’s absolutely brilliant, the best stainless steel bbq i ever had.


EnviroGadget June 15, 2008 at 1:27 pm

You could easily use that ottoman for storage too. Since the drum is hollow, with some minor adjustments, you could use it for storing children’s toys or even something like towels.


cathy June 18, 2008 at 12:26 pm

I have seen these used as braziers/devices for having fires while camping which do not burn the ground eg at festival


nora August 1, 2008 at 9:33 pm

I would appreciate very much if you could show how to recicle and make ecological devices for poor people like peasants. For example a stove, or a mill to transport water from a water source to the fields, a compost device, a solar stove, etc. Things that help people live ecologically and also cheap


boojuice October 20, 2008 at 9:53 am

we had one as a lapidary machine for a while with a hand crank when i was growing up but you would have to ask my dad for details as i was too wee! i like the ottoman idea – green ideas without compromising style is the way forward – makes being green lose its hairshirt approach.


festi January 29, 2009 at 11:35 pm

hi, we use one at all the festivals as a fire pit. it is great, we put a grill on the top and do all our cooking on it. u can also stick bread for toasting to the outside of it!


Maria E. Reilly November 30, 2009 at 6:32 pm

I’m having a problem seeing your blog layout via the newest release of Opera. Looks fine in IE and Firefox however.


Administrator December 5, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Thanks for the heads up about Opera. We’ll check it out.


ted July 26, 2010 at 10:40 am

very nice use of an old washing machine drum, and looks so slick and shiny


Debs August 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm

We too use the drums for BBQ firepits ! they really are the best Firepit you’ll ever own !
They have removable legs on the bottom so they are off the ground !
We sell them now, with a grill and a Protective bag, so you can use it at home or take it with you on your travels !


Alastair September 12, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I think these are a great idea and I’m sure there are many other things out there which can be used for alternative purposes once they are no longer needed for their original use, such as oil drums turned into bbq’s, vehicle parts turned into sculptures, baths turned into huge plant pots for conservation areas etc


CEW October 30, 2011 at 5:35 pm

A fire pit…The design of the drum (metalic w/holes) will oxygenate fire wood exceptionally well and provide radiant heat for 360 degrees…Such a portable pit would be great for camping, backyard use, etc.


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