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An old milk can recycle into an outdoor end table!

Aug 15 2016 -
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My mom recently has been working on her beautiful new deck, adding seating and flowers etc. She picked up four red Adirondack chairs and then commented, “I really need just one little end table!” My brain immediately started turning and it didn’t take it long to land on this old milk can. My mom had mentioned a couple of years ago that she really wanted one of the old milk cans she was sure were lying about the farm. I found one out in the woods one day but it was in such bad shape I didn’t even haul it back to the house. Fast forward another year when I went to grab a big screen I had spotted between our wood shed and our completely caved in old granary. (I used the screen to build a screen door for our “wood shed” under our staircase.) I peaked in the old granary for good measure thinking I might be able to salvage a shelf that’s still in there when I saw it: an old milk can! And it looked awesome! So I carefully went in there to grab it (trying not to fall through the floor and also trying really hard not to hit my head on any of the roof that had fallen in!) The minute I got to the milk can I realized that it was (not surprisingly) 1/4 full of some kind of liquid. I eyed it for a minute, gave it a little sniff and realized it must have been anti freeze… or something – YUCK! So, without any thought I just tipped it over and dumped it out. To this day I’m not over the horror that came out of it. Honestly, I’m not squeamish, I have never been squeamish, but I just wasn’t prepared for what gushed to my feet: At least forty very dead, and freakishly well preserved, field mice all tangled together. *shudders….* Eeeeeeeewwwwwwww. I literally proceeded to throw the milk can in the bushes on its top (so it wouldn’t fill with rain water) and ran away from it.

Tutorial on how to convert an old milk can into an outdoor end table for your back yard or deck, diy, wood working, tips, tutorials

Fast forward over a year later and I went to fetch it, carefully sniffing and trying to decide what to do about getting it rinsed out. I dumped a good portion of mineral spirits in the can and did lots of swishing and then proceeded to hose the whole thing down in the back yard for probably much longer then it needed. Honestly I’m still shuddering, that was SO gross. Anyway, on to creating an end table out of an old milk can. If you do a search on Pinterest I am by far NOT the first person to do this!

Tutorial on how to convert an old milk can into an outdoor end table for your back yard or deck, diy, wood working, tips, tutorials

I grabbed some leftover plywood for my base and drew a circle to the size I wanted the top to be using a pen and a piece of string. Then I cut that out with my jigsaw. Next step was to cut a much smaller circle that would sit inside the opening of the milk can to help hold the table top in place. I just screwed them together, putting the smaller circle in the center of the larger circle.

Tutorial on how to convert an old milk can into an outdoor end table for your back yard or deck, diy, wood working, tips, tutorialsTutorial on how to convert an old milk can into an outdoor end table for your back yard or deck, diy, wood working, tips, tutorials

My mom has always wanted some barn wood from my grandparents’ (her parents) old barn so I thought this would be a perfect project for barn wood. I laid a piece down in the center and screwed it to the table top then cut it off and just kept going until the top was covered. Then I took my jigsaw and cut the barn wood off in a circle around the whole thing, letting it hang over like a lip a little bit. (I did all of this with the mind that it would be rustic and not at all perfect.) I lightly sanded everything (top and bottom and all of the edges) to make sure no one would get splinters. I then grabbed some white outdoor acrylic paint I had on hand and painted all of the raw edges and the edges of the plywood so there was no “new” looking wood showing. I also did just a light white dry brush over all of it so the white edges weren’t so stark. I also did a very heavy coat of outdoor polyurethane over the entire thing.

Tutorial on how to convert an old milk can into an outdoor end table for your back yard or deck, diy, wood working, tips, tutorials

And that’s it guys! It only took me about an hour and a half to put together, an easy project that I think really added some character to her deck! The 555 is my Grandparents’ old milk number so this was once a working milk can as they owned a dairy farm throughout my mom’s childhood. She still talks about her dad getting up at 4:30 every morning to milk the cows. 🙂

Tutorial on how to convert an old milk can into an outdoor end table for your back yard or deck, diy, wood working, tips, tutorials
Tutorial on how to convert an old milk can into an outdoor end table for your back yard or deck, diy, wood working, tips, tutorials
Tutorial on how to convert an old milk can into an outdoor end table for your back yard or deck, diy, wood working, tips, tutorials
Tutorial on how to convert an old milk can into an outdoor end table for your back yard or deck, diy, wood working, tips, tutorials
Tutorial on how to convert an old milk can into an outdoor end table for your back yard or deck, diy, wood working, tips, tutorials
Tutorial on how to convert an old milk can into an outdoor end table for your back yard or deck, diy, wood working, tips, tutorials
Tutorial on how to convert an old milk can into an outdoor end table for your back yard or deck, diy, wood working, tips, tutorialsMilk can upcycled wood working diy do it yourself tutorial into an outdoor outside end table backyard deck barn wood furniture country farm

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40 Comments

  1. Carol Dammer
    August 16, 2016 at 12:53 am

    So very nice….nice memories…thank you for sharing.

  2. September 1, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    What a sweet story and cute side table. The milkcan makes the perfect base. Also love those red chairs on either side. Lovely and lively summer spot. Thanks so much for linking to Friday’s Furniture Fix. Susie from The Chelsea Project

  3. November 15, 2016 at 2:01 am

    Love your milk can side table. I have a milk can in my entry way, just might have to make a side table out of it. What a lovely story and great undertaking. After all those mice, I might have left it.
    Bev

  4. November 29, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Great idea – and great instructions! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party!

  5. December 13, 2016 at 6:03 am

    This is such a fabulous project! I absolutely love your creativity! Thank you so much for sharing with us at Dishing It & Digging It.

    • December 13, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      Thank you so much Angie!

  6. December 14, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    First of all, this is my first time here and I love your blog. Like, LOVE it.
    I am so sorry about your grandma’s but they would be so proud of you and what you are doing is so heartwarming.
    They need more people like you and Joe in the world.

    Second, I have a milk can JUST like this that I blogged about and painted over this past fall. And now I need to make it into a table.

    Adding you to my Bloglovin’ feed because your blog stands out from the rest. Thank you for that, by the way.

    • December 15, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      Oh Kari, you just made my whole week! Thank you so much for your kind comments 🙂 My mom, so far, loves her table though she won’t be using it now until spring lol it has about 2 feet of snow on it! But, I was amazed at how cute it turned out 🙂

  7. December 29, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Okay, so that is definitely a gross story! But I love that your mom’s new table has such memories. It’s so rustic and unique. Fantastic job! Thanks so much for linking again at the #happynowlinkup!

  8. December 29, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    What a GREAT idea! It is the perfect table to tuck between chairs! Thank you for sharing this cleverness at Tuesdays with a Twist! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  9. January 4, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing this step-by-step process! I love how your little table turned out! Thanks for sharing!

  10. January 5, 2017 at 12:37 am

    This turned out so well! I have an old milk can from my grandmother in my dining room. You may have inspired me to do the same. Thanks so much for sharing at Merry Monday!

    • January 5, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Thank you so much Angela!

  11. January 5, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Congratulations on being featured this week on Your Inspired Design. Thank you for sharing your talent. Your Inspired Design is open every Thursday so we hope to see you again.

  12. January 12, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    This is so neat!

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!
    Jess recently posted…Shine by Jodi Picoult book reviewMy Profile

  13. January 18, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Love this idea. Now if it would get warm so I can put one up on my porch. Thanks for sharing with us at Family Joy Blog Link Up Party this week. Glad you joined us.

    • January 18, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      Thanks Charlene! I feel absolutely the same way, can’t wait to lose all of this snow so we can enjoy our deck again!

  14. January 19, 2017 at 12:56 am

    You are brave to have gone back to get the can after finding it that way! I don’t think I could have. The table turned out great and how special that it’s a piece of your mother’s childhood. Thanks for sharing at Snickerdoodle. Pinning to my Upcycle & Restoration Board.

  15. January 20, 2017 at 2:44 am

    Great idea! The can looks wonderful on your moms patio! The mice would have given me the heebie jeebies!

    • January 20, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks Pam! I still shudder when I think of it lol!

  16. January 26, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Oh my gosh I would of jumped out of my skin. My cat is a good hunter & I just about die when he catches a field mouse. Today he brought in a rat through the dog door. At least it was dead. But, it freaked me out. Lol thanks for joining us at the Inspiration Spotlight party. Shared

    • January 26, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      Hey Theres, yeah I’m really not over lol now, anytime now I see a bucket outside (or anything like that) I creep up on it very suspiciously! Thanks for coming by 🙂

  17. February 21, 2017 at 2:54 am

    This is a totally wonderful idea!
    Menaka Bharathi – Bloggers Pit Stop Crew recently posted…Never Be Too Busy To Be Kind – #HappySunday – 7 #LinkPartyMy Profile

  18. March 17, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Great re-purpose and upcycle! It looks super pretty. Visiting from Creative Collection party.

  19. July 7, 2017 at 5:44 am

    The milk can is very well done and so fitting for the farm setting. Your Mom must really love it. Its perfect with her gorgeous red chairs.

  20. July 11, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    I love your “Milk Table” Tarah it is gorgeous 🙂

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