Repurposing an Aquarium Stand




About: I am a photographer, a tinker, an electronics technology engineer, and author; I write short stories and poetry for the love of writing. I started writing poetry in high school over thirty years ago where I ...

Every once in a while my wife finds a little project to add to my Honey Do List, and this day it was converting an aquarium stand she found in the waste bin into a stand for her recycling bins. She decided she needed more room in the pantry for other things, and it wasn’t a big job taking less than a day to complete.

Although this is a small project all the steps are the same as in a large project.

Step 1: Planning

Start by planning; make sure the recycling bins will fit the stand in a manner that uses the least amount of space. My wife is short and the light blue recycling bin on top is a little too tall for her as well as the dark blue recycling bin will only fit on the shelf sideways and sticks out.

The dark blue recycling bin will fit on top without sticking out, but the light blue recycling bin will only fit under the top shelf if you remove the bottom shelf. The problem with removing the bottom shelf is the legs lose their stability and the shelf will collapse under any weight or stress.

The only option is to cut out enough space in the lower shelf to fit the light blue recycling bin and still keep the legs strength.

Step 2: Tools

Angle grinder with a cut off blade, to remove the unwanted parts of the lower shelf.

Safety glasses, to protect your eyes.

File, to deburr the cuts.

Steel wool, to remove the gloss from the old paint.

Fast Drying Rust Proof Paint

Drop Sheet, for this I used newspaper.

Step 3: Cut the Shelf

Wearing the safety glasses to protect your eyes; use the angle grinder with a cut off blade to remove the three unwanted bars of the lower shelf.

Remember the carpenters rule, “Measure twice, cut once.”

Make sure you make all the cuts rounded so the ends of the metal have no points or sharp edges that can poke or cut anyone or anything.

Use the file to remove any burrs along your cuts.

Step 4: Check Your Work

Don’t just go straight to painting; make sure the recycling bins will fit the way you want, you do not want to start your project all over again after painting.

Step 5: Prepping

I like steel wool for prepping oddly shaped things like wrought iron and round bars. It fits into places sandpaper won’t fit making it easier to remove the rust and gloss from the paint's surface.

Take your time; make sure you remove all the loose paint, gloss, and rust, from the stand before painting.

Step 6: Painting

If you use spray paint remember to paint outside or in a well ventilated space.

Start by laying down the drop sheet and painting the stand from the bottom working your way down to the top.

Wait until the paint on the bottom is dry and flip the stand right side up, since I used fast drying paint this only took an hour.

Paint the stand from the top making sure you don’t miss any spots.

Step 7: The Finished Stand

Wait at least a full day before using the stand, so the paint is completely dry and the recycling bins won't stick to the stand or remove the paint.



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10 Discussions


7 months ago

Great job, congratulations, keep it up. Thank you very much for sharing

1 reply

1 year ago

I clicked on the link just out of curiosity to find out what the stand was repurposed into, but ended up reading your whole instructable as it was so interesting and clear to read ☺

1 reply

1 year ago

You could put a table top on if you only needed space for one bin.

3 replies
Josehf Murchisonmrsmerwin

Reply 1 year ago

My wife likes to use them as planters by making wooden boxes that fit.

Josehf Murchisonmrsmerwin

Reply 1 year ago

She does that when I'm not looking so I haven had the opportunity to make an Instructable on it.


1 year ago

What a great idea! I may try with an old sewing machine base!

1 reply
Josehf MurchisonSusanL168

Reply 1 year ago

That would be neat, if you do make an Instructable.

I like the wroth iron on the old sewing machines.