I was visiting my parents recently when I happened to glance over and see this beside their garage…
Hmmm, a cruddy old brake fluid drum, how fascinating, right? Well, yes, I mean, it is cruddy and old and whilst I had probably looked at it a hundred times before for some reason that day I really saw it for the first time.
You see, my nursery lamp (shown here temporarily sitting on picnic baskets)…
…is too tall for a regular side table yet too short to stand on the floor and I figure my brain was subconsciously scouring for a solution when the proportions of the drum jumped up and slapped me square across the face.
I took some quick measurements and sure enough, proportions…tick!
Appearance…ummm, not so tick.
Luckily that is easily fixed! The fact it was tin gave me some immediate inspiration so I followed my instinct and began an experiment to create a pressed metal look.
Firstly, I gathered my supplies….
One meter of plastic table runner lace (if you’re in Australia I got mine from Spotlight though it should be readily available from most haberdashery stores and is super cheap).
A can of gloss enamel spraypaint (I chose ivory for a vintage cream look).
Strong craft glue (I used PVA).
Something to use as feet (I decided on these vintage castors I already had).
And the process….
To begin with, I made sure the drum was empty and gave it a thorough all-over clean. Next, I turned it upside down because I wanted the bottom to become the top and played around with the positioning of the plastic lace. Because the lace in its original form was too wide for the drum I created one new decorative edge at the right width by trimming around the pattern in the existing design with scissors.
Next, I wrapped it around the drum to work out where it would meet and trimmed it so it would neatly overlap just a little. To adhere it to the drum I applied a reasonably generous amount of glue all over the drum’s sides (using a paint brush) then I rolled my lace into position. I applied some additional glue to the ends to ensure they were well bonded to the drum.
I also added lace to the top of the drum (to hide a number which was pressed into the tin. I would probably have left it plain otherwise).
In the above photo you can see a faint outline where there was a slightly raised sphere though it’s far less obvious in person.
Once the glue was thoroughly dry and I was satisfied the lace was well adhered I gave the entire drum three coats of gloss enamel spray paint.
This was the moment of truth – it was either gonna look okay or like someone had just stuck some plastic lace to a crappy old tin drum….
Well, whilst beauty is subjective I gotta say that to me it actually looked kinda cool!
This project was purely experimental so I was pretty pleased with the result. Obviously, it’s a reasonably unconventional (or, as I prefer to think, ‘innovative’) makeover, and certainly not to everyone’s taste though it was fun to push the boundaries a bit.
Plastic lace and a brake fluid drum hey? Who woulda thought….