Trash to Treasure

Max McMurdo gives new life to bulk packages by transforming them into multipurpose storage seats

By Max McMurdo

1 industrial-size plastic container with four defined corners (any 6-plus gallon bin from, say, a restaurant
or wholesaler will work)
1 small sheet of plywood roughly 3½ ft x 3½ ft (ideally recycled—local building sites are a good resource)
1 16 in. x 16 in. piece of used fabric, like an old T-shirt
1 old cushion or piece of upholstery foam
1 box of 6 mm staples

drill, jigsaw, sanding block, staple gun

1. Rinse container inside and out. Draw a line around the circumference of the container at the point where the side walls end and the top begins to taper.

2. Drill a pilot hole in the top section of the drum to prevent splitting, then carefully cut along the line. Save the separated top for step 4.

3. Sand the top opening to create a smooth edge.

4. Place separated top onto the plywood (as far to one edge as possible) and trace the circumference to determine the size of the stool bench. Saw and sand edges.

5. Lay the fabric face down, making sure it’s slightly larger than the foam. Place foam on fabric and plywood on the top, like a sandwich. Starting with the corners, pull fabric tight and use staple gun to affix fabric to plywood.

6. To get dimensions for the interior dividers, measure diagonally across the top and bottom of the container, then trace the line between these points along the outside of the drum. Size plywood pieces accordingly. (I tend to oversize and sand to fit.)

7. Cut a slot in the top half of one divider and in the bottom half of the other. Make sure each slot is slightly wider than the thickness of wood. Fit the pieces together and place inside the drum.

8. Top with the fabric cushion and the stool is complete. I use mine as a receptacle for storing cleaning products in the bathroom, separating wine bottles for recycling, or hiding away toys, dog bones, or old magazines.

The founder of UK design company Reestore (, Max McMurdo takes everyday, landfill-bound objects and turns them into charming yet functional furniture and accessories.

Issue 25

Sign up for Plenty's Weekly Newsletter