See how this old dusty fish tank was transformed into a stylish at-home bar for just £70

It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘drinking like a fish’...
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  • We all know the feeling of when clutter starts piling up, untouched for years in your spare room, loft or garage. One woman decided to combat that feeling, and transformed an old fish tank into a statement piece for just £70.

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    Paula Bradey, 37, from Motherwell, had her daughter’s fish tank cabinet in her shed for over two years – but was suddenly hit with an idea to upcycle it in an amazing transformation.

    ‘We had tried to sell it with no success and also give it to friends, but still after all that time it lay in there,’ Paula told Ideal Home. ‘It was starting to bug me every time I was in the shed, unused and getting in my way.’

    fishtank

    Image credit: Paula Bradley

    Paula told us she was no stranger to thrifty upcycling: ‘I upcycled a swing before and so I knew I enjoyed this kind of thing and I love DIY,’ she said.

    ‘I always loved the idea of a little garden bar so I thought how can I make this into one?

    ‘I bought two cans of outdoor furniture spray. The shade was bramble (close to willow, the colour of my fence and shed),’ Paula revealed.

    ‘I measured the width and height I wanted and got a piece of wood cut at B&Q (hard plywood). This was so I could attach it on the back, as the cabinet didn’t have a back.

    Fishtank

    Image credit: Paula Bradley

    ‘Next, I knew I needed a lid, as the plastic one that was on the tank wasn’t practical. I measured it and managed to find a shelf the exact measurements I needed on Amazon,’ she added.

    Once sanded down and cleaned, she then sprayed it with furniture paint before attaching the cabinet to the plywood with brackets – spraying them the same colour.

    And what bar isn’t complete without snacks? ‘I bought some hooks and attached them with command strips that I cut up. Then I used a hole punch to make the holes in the peanuts/snack bags to hang on the hooks,’ she said. ‘I have an 11 year old daughter and she loves the snacks and also loves to stock it up for us.’

    Fishtank bar

    Image credit: Paula Bradley

    Once screwing bar optics to the plywood, Paula used a staple gun to attach strips of anti-slip mat under the lid, so the bar top didn’t slide off while in use.

    Paula added some finishing touches like an ice-bucket, light and even a sign made out of blackboard paper saying: ‘Tanked up est. May 21’ – and is thrilled with the finished product.

    ‘The longest thing was waiting for it to dry,’ she said. ‘But overall it only took me a few hours and I’ve used it so much already. I plan on adding some castors with wheels so I can move it around easier but it’s actually not too heavy so it’s not a huge issue,’ she added.

    home bar makeover

    Image credit: Paula Bradley

    Overall, it cost Paula around £70 to make; she bought two cans of furniture spray for £18, a shelf for £12 and bar optics for £22 all from Amazon.

    The plywood was £18 from B&Q, bar snacks ranged between 25p and £1 from Home Bargains, and the blackboard paper and anti-slip mats were already lying around.

    Related: See how a DIY fan gave her Primark bar cart a stylish monochrome makeover

    Naturally, Paula is “delighted” with her brand new garden bar – and we can see why. Who needs the pub when you can bring it to you?

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