The DIY Upcycle That Turns An Old Satellite Dish Into A Stunning Backyard Feature

You see those old satellite dishes, now nothing more than spider condos or pigeon perches? Well, it turns out they're not just relics of the past but hidden gems just waiting for a spark of ingenuity. This article sees that very same dish that once captured signals become the star of your outdoor gatherings, reborn as a DIY fire pit. A few tweaks here and there — stripping the dish down, giving it a new stand, a splash of paint, adding logs, and there you have it, the centerpiece for your backyard.

Now, you may wonder why a satellite dish is an excellent candidate for creating a DIY fire pit. Its parabolic design is perfect for cradling those chunks of wood, while its metal shell now helps radiate heat to warm the faces of friends gathered around. Plus, using a satellite dish cuts all that headache of planning and designing synonymous with traditional stone fire pits. 

This DIY cranks up the cool factor of repurposing old or unwanted items to a 10. And the cherry on top? It's dead simple to pull off, easy on your wallet, and in less than 60 minutes, you can call it complete. In fact, a can of heat-resistant spray like the Bar-B-Que Black, Rust-Oleum Specialty Flat High Heat Spray Paint, available for $6.98 at Walmart, could be the only expense for this undertaking. However, given the compact size of this portable fire pit, it's just right for intimate gatherings. 

How to upcycle an old satellite dish into a backyard fire pit

This quest to create a DIY fire pit in your backyard kicks off by gathering the essentials: an old satellite dish you've got lying around, heat-resistant spray paint, bolts, soapy water, and a metallic stand. A cool idea for the stand is to hunt down an old steel mesh side table — it doesn't just add rustic character but also does the job. Garage sales are a treasure trove for this gem.

With the supplies sorted, get to work. Begin by stripping the parabolic of the feedhorn and any mounting gear with whatever you've got in your toolbox — a spanner, wrench, or pliers. Satellite dishes can get grimy over time, so a solid scrub with a soapy-water-drenched towel is due to ensure paint sticks and won't bail on you later. Once the bowl is squeaky clean and dry, flip it on the metallic stand, concave side up. Next, get drilling, evenly spacing holes aligned nicely with the stand. Insert the bolts and get them tight with washers and nuts from beneath.

Now, hit your creation with high-heat spray paint. These products are formulated to handle the heat, shielding against rust while also keeping your creation looking snazzy. Let the painted surfaces dry for about 12 hours. You can now top the dish with a grill rack, load it with appropriately sized logs, and strike a match. And just like that, you've given your backyard a warm, flickering centerpiece.

Precautions and additional hacks for your DIY fire pit

Sure, you want your DIY fire pit to be the star of the show in your backyard. But let's not forget about keeping it away from anything eager to catch fire — think bushes and low-hanging tree foliage. For a rusty satellite dish, a once-over with sandpaper or a metal brush will suffice. Also, don't hold back on the heat-resistant paint. Slap on several coats for added protection, letting each dry for about a minute.

DIYs means dealing with personal safety hazards. For example, messing with metal and power tools like drills can lead to cuts. Plus, those VOC-laden paint fumes are no friends to your internal organs when inhaled. So, glove up and paint in an area with plenty of airflow. Concerned about your DIY firepit throwing out embers and sparks? A neat cylinder of a steel mesh screen around the dish's edge does the trick. 

If you're scratching your head over a stand, here's a nifty fire pit idea: repurposing an old tire rim into your dish base. Simply set the dish's parabola on the rim, then trim a fridge rack into a size that fits over your dish. Leave a couple of wires sticking out longer to hook the dish to the rack. In the same vein, don't bolt the rim and dish together — that's unless you fancy a mini workout with the rim's weight every time you empty the dish. Alternatively, prop the dish on cans or stones.