Make our children's toadstool book seat

Transform a cable drum into a whimsical toadstool book nook in no time at all…

We spotted this cable drum dumped in a skip outside an office that was being renovated and knew straight away it was too good to pass up. With a coat of paint and little fabric and foam we transformed it into a fun reading area with added storage.


Shopping list:

- cable drum

- sand paper 

- damp cloth 

- tape measure 

- wooden dowel, from a selection at B&Q 

- saw

- PSB ergonomic drill, £100, Bosch 

- screws 

- MDF, from a selection at B&Q 

- pencil 

- PST 18 LI jigsaw, £89.99, Bosch 

- white spray paint 

- 4” thick upholstery foam, from a selection at Dunelm 

- knife 

- 2m quilt wadding 

- scissors 

- staple gun 

- 2m red fabric, from a selection at Dunelm 

- white felt sheets, 50p each, Hobbycraft 

- pins 

- sewing machine and thread

- red paint

- paint brush



1. Begin by preparing the cable drum. Ours was in great condition but we still gave it a wipe all over with a damp cloth and sanded away any burrs or rough edges to ensure our project had a smooth, clean finish.

2. With the cable drum sat flat on one end, measure the distance between the top and bottom circles of the drum. Saw five rods from a length of wooden dowel, each as long as the measurement you just took. Sand the cut edges
of each rod to ensure they are smooth.

3. Measure the circumference of the drum and mark five equally spaced points around it – this is where the five lengths of dowel will be positioned, in between the base and the top of the drum. Place each rod where you want it to stand, and use a pencil to mark the placement on the inside of the drum top and bottom. Remove the rods, then drill pilot holes through the centre of each mark. Put the rods back into position and screw down into each one through the pilot holes – this should hold them in position.

4. Lay a sheet of MDF out and place the drum down on top of it. Draw around it, use a jigsaw to cut out the MDF circle, then place
it to one side. Colour the drum all over with white spray paint – apply three coats, ensuring the rods are painted all the way around.

5. While the paint dries, create the seat pad. Place the MDF circle onto a large piece of upholstery foam and draw around it. Use a knife to carefully cut out the circle, then glue it onto the MDF. If your foam sheet is smaller than the MDF circle, combine several smaller pieces to make up the shape.

6. Lay a length of quilt wadding out flat and place the seat pad onto it, foam-side-down. Cut around it, leaving a 7” border of wadding all around. Pull one side of the wadding up around the foam and onto the
MDF backing, then use a staple gun to secure
it. Do the same on the opposite side of the
seat pad, pulling it taut. Repeat, pulling and stapling, until the wadding is wrapped and secured around the entire edge of the seat
pad, enclosing the foam within.

7. Lay a length of red fabric out flat and place the seat pad onto it, wadding-side-down. Once again cut around it, leaving a 7” border, then place the seat pad to one side.
Cut several small circles from sheets of white felt and pin these onto the red fabric to create spots. Machine top stitch around the edge of each one to secure them in position. Lay the finished fabric out (right side down) and, as in step 6, use a staple gun to wrap and secure it around the seat pad.

8. Use red paint to colour the top edge of the drum. Once that has dried, place the seat pad on top of the drum and use screws to hold it in position, working up into the MDF base of the seat pad from the underside of
the top of the drum.


Image credit: Lizzie Orme

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