A Little Confession

I think I need to just come straight out and say that the last post I wrote was really just a way of easing into a discussion of the merits of random things I love. Well, I love fiber drums.

If you have never heard of a fiber drum before, you are not alone. I really “saw” my first fiber drum in the attic of our shop, left there by a long-ago jewelry store. I mean first saw it in the same way that you think you have never heard a word before, and then you see it everywhere, and hear it in the casual conversations of kindergarteners.

Basically, a fiber drum is an overgrown toilet paper tube (mine are 50 gallon), with some darling galvanized trim bands. In our town, you see them in the bulk foods sections of grocery stores (although the sides are usually sheathed in a poly-wrap announcing tremendous savings. Anyway, I became a little fixated on the fiber drum and purchased two off e-bay. I should mention that this was only after seriously considering picking up free drums at some warehouse in Seattle, or finding something to do with an entire truckload of three-gallon drums. My good husband steered me in the low level of commitment direction, and I just bought two.
The drums arrived at my door, with just a shipping label stuck on the side, a sort of come-as-you-are-party for heavyweight cardboard. We lugged them into our small apartment, where I spent a week or two admiring them in different places. We then covered them in wallpaper paste, followed by fabric of unknown fiber content. The end result was two huge red and white checked cylinders.

Since that time the drums have been all over our house, serving a variety of purposes and never growing weary of love and good works. The cutest thing they ever did was serve as the legs of an over-sized desk. My husband busted out the jigsaw and rounded the corners of an old door to sit across the top. The end result was actually quite art deco in some strange way. However, when we got a couch (!) in that apartment, there was no longer room for the glorious desk, and we had to disassemble it into a laundry hamper and a storage facility for the landing. Currently one still serves in the laundry room, while the other looks sporty in the living room beside a funny chair. Now that we actually have room and have a need for a desk again, I find myself thinking that we may be blossoming into a four drum family.

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17 thoughts on “A Little Confession

  1. Seriously! A 50 gallon, red & white checked toilet paper tube? I’m gonna need a little help with the visual….

  2. yes, i had to google it as well. this is definitely the most…interesting post so far. :)

    your husband is very flexible to accept such a large item as your fixation. i’ve tried to stick with smaller obsessions just so they aren’t in the way. but then again, legs of a desk and laundry hampers are pretty invaluable. maybe i just need more versatile fixations.

  3. Sounds like those old spools that people used to have in their college apartments some years back. I still see some on the side of the road when wires are being installed underground, but I haven’t exactly thought of a good use for them. Portable labtop table? I suppose the possibilities are endless. At some point though a toilet paper tube could become a periscope to an inventive boy, but a fiber drum could bring new dimensions to creativity.

  4. We have a lovely old drum from the interior of a washing machine sitting in our backyard. It’s roughly the same size and shape, and any earwigs would come free. Interested?

  5. Having gone w/ out a couch (among other things) for the first few years of our marriage, I appreciate ideas such as this…economical, and creative..(it reminds me of the furniture Edith Schaeffer talks about making w/ her husband in the early years of their marriage…which withstood at least his lifetime.)

    We need a BIG table right now to help w/ school at home…and are in the process of “thinking” up ideas…

    Looking forward to reading (and seeing:))more from you!

  6. Ben asked if you would let us know before you do another review like this. He would like to invest in the Fiber Drum Industry before the sales skyrocket. 😉

    I would like to know if you have any genius ideas for creating storage space where there is none (as that is my current dilemma). Thanks for the great ideas!

  7. Hi to all!
    Valerie, I will post pictures as soon as I can, but I am not moving very fast right now, so be patient.
    Angie – those are the little beauties! Mine are the taller kind- table height actually.
    Abra – I know exactly what you mean about the storage problem. We lived in three apartments before we started renting the house we are in now, and all of them had insufficient storage. I remember telling my husband that I felt like I was playing Tetris all the time just trying to fit us in. One thing that helped us out for quite a while was a make-shift closet of gorilla shelves. We put two of them side by side (in our bedroom, because that was where they fit). I bought some of those magnetic curtain rods, and hung a curtain across the front. The sides you could cover with almost anything, but I cut down some bamboo blinds to cover it up. It was actually pretty cute, and the best part was that it fit those big rubber-maid bins. In our house it was referred to as “the craft room”, since it was full of fabric, the sewing machine, yarn, paints, wrapping supplies, and event my kitchen-aid that was too tall for the kitchen counter. Maybe not genius, but it worked for us.

  8. Playing tetris! I like that a lot, too! ~A much more fun way to think of shuffling around all that stuff we don’t need at the moment but can’t throw out! :)

  9. i just googled “gorilla shelves.” i guess we have a translation problem somewhere between idaho and texas. now that i know what you’re talking about, i love those things. have them all over my house. i just saw one used in a dining room in a design magazine! “industrial chic” and all that. now that i know what a fiber drum is, they look pretty handy too. i would put bolts of fabric upright in one.

  10. Oh, say, I’ve lately enjoyed making a mini version of your decorative fiber drum. We keep most of our toys in the play room proper, but the little one needs a few nearby in the family room, too; and I’ve found that an old formula can covered in the gorgeous La Bella Vita oilcloth makes a sweet small container for equally small toys.

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