Cable spool tables aren’t just statement pieces to add to an indoor or outdoor space; they upcycle material that would otherwise go to waste. And because the spools are already assembled, the heavy lifting (well, metaphorically) is already done for you.
Although many wire spool tables are rusting, they don’t have to be. A little creativity goes a long way toward matching your theme or aesthetic. So if you’ve ever wondered how to make your very own DIY spool table, keep reading!
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10 DIY Plans on a Budget
For most of these plans, a spool was obtained for free
1. Dark Patio Table
The chocolate tones of this cable spool patio table bring out the depth of the wood grain and look amazing against the bright red Adirondack chairs chosen by the makers. To achieve this appearance, break the spool apart into its components and sand all of them. This removes rust from the metal parts, smooths rough nails, and prepares the wood for stain.
It takes multiple coats of Watco Danish Oil in Black Walnut to achieve the beautiful color you see in the photos. You’ll also want to plug the center hole on the top disc with some space wood to prevent items from falling through the table.
Finally, apply a coat of Minwax One Coat Polyurethane, let it dry for 24 hours, and apply 400-grit sandpaper to give a semi-gloss finish to this table. Although you could skip this step, adding feet to the bottom disc of the spool table lifts it from the ground and prevents damage from moisture.
2. Nautical Spool Side Table
This cable spool table has an airy and beach-like feel if you prefer brighter colors. The original crafters used materials they had on hand, which makes it that much better!
Instead of dismantling the spool, paint only the discs (including the bolts) since the barrel will be covered with rope. The specific shade is Benjamin Moore’s Spirit In The Sky, which matched the home’s backdoor, but you could choose a similar oceanic blue.
To achieve the distressed look, let the discs dry before sanding them with a light touch. Apply a little Danish Oil in Dark Walnut with a cloth. Add a dab of hot glue along the bottom edge of the barrel before wrapping your first layer of rope. Choose a rope around the width of a finger or two to remain flexible yet match the theme. Apply glue periodically as you wrap the barrel from top to bottom.
Adding casters adds height and mobility. You might be able to attach casters directly to the spool.
3. Glass-top Spool Table
This next idea combines the rustic cable wire spool with the more modern aesthetic of the glass top. You might not be so lucky that your local hardware store will not only give you the cable reel for your DIY project for free but will also drop it off, but it’s worth a shot.
If your spool is less than perfect, you can, thankfully, choose either side of the cable drum for your tabletop if one is unattractive or hard to work with. First, remove staples, stickers, and rough edges. Then, sand the spool. You can skip the top disc because it will be under the glass.
To add color to the edge of the tabletop easily and without mess, use a paint roller. Once it’s dry, you can create “levelers” from small wooden discs. Secure them with wood screws, which should be inset to ensure only the wood touches the bottom of the glass.
You can purchase the glass itself from a furniture store. A 60-inch topper extends from the edge of a 36-inch cable drum to create space for seats, but you could choose a different size to fit in a small (or large) space.
4. Ombre Spool Patio Table
You’ll love how paint adds a pop of color to the wooden table while the stump seats keep the natural feel when added to the patio or picnic table. In fact, it would be great at a campsite! An electric sander removes rough edges. Cut logs into stools, each of which is just shorter than the barrel of the spool, allowing them to tuck into the table for convenient storage. Sand the edges of the stumps to make them comfortable to sit on.
Choose your colors: the original DIY project uses Plaid Folk Art Outdoor Acrylic Paint in 3 shades of blue. They also used the original planks of the disc as guidance, but if your electrical spool end is flat, you could simply measure to create stripes.
Mixing equal parts paint and water to create a stain, but you could add paint if it is too sheer for your liking. Apply the mixture with a foam brush, starting with the lightest shade, using even strokes in the direction of the wood grain.
Repeat by mixing your second color to apply it to the next wood plank, and finish by repeating with the third color. You can go a true gradient from light to dark or mix the colors for a more whimsical feel. If working with the planks of the spool, you may have an unequal number of planks for each color, but that just adds to the charm!
5. Stacked Wire Spool Table
If you have access to cable spools in multiple sizes, you can stack them to create a taller table that’s better for a dining room or counter-height chairs, even if they’re smaller spools. After sanding, apply a whitewash with a pickling stain, which allows the spool’s original stamp to remain visible.
Secure the spools to each other with wood screws once their centers are lined up. Next, attach rope to the edges of the discs with hot glue. You can go over the rope with a staple gun for additional security. Top it off with a glass table topper.
The chairs were wooden bar stools from a thrift store sanded and painted with a fun blue chalk paint. A sanding block adds the final touches to the chairs.
6. Industrial Spool Table
This table is one of the most natural-looking of those on our list. It looks perfect with just a plant or vine as a centerpiece (and it doesn’t have to be real!).
Use a power sander with a light touch to remove splinters and sharp edges while retaining the rustic aesthetic. Dust the table and clear any debris from the shaft of the spool to prevent any unwanted surprises while using the furniture.
Then, you’re ready to apply General Finishes Exterior 450 to protect it from the elements and clean it up easily with water. Don’t worry if it looks like milk because it dries clear while enhancing the natural wood grain.
Measure the diameter if you want to cut plexiglass for the top with a hand-cutting tool for plastic. Hold a piece of string the length of the spool’s diameter at the center point of your plexiglass and mark its outer edge before cutting. Sand the edges of the plexiglass smooth after cutting before placing it on top of your table.
Finish off the sitting area with seats that are slightly shorter than your spool. A large spool lets you choose taller chairs.
7. Farmhouse-style Wood Table
This is the second of the cable spool table ideas that use whitewash pickling stain. You can use an upcycled spool from your local power company or purchase a spool from the hardware store if your plans include using chairs of a specific height or if you want to use the finished product as a coffee table.
Sand your spool before applying whitewash with a stain brush. Stain just a few boards at a time before wiping away excess product and moving on to the next section.
Let the spool dry completely before flipping it and completing the other side. Once dry, apply two liberal coats of urethane to every surface, which seals the table.
Farmhouse-inspired decor such as a metal tray and pitcher complete the look of this patio table. Plus, a tray covers the hardware and hole in the center.
8. Colorful Spool Picnic Table
You’ll just love how the cylindrical spool also inspires the curved wooden seating to create a picnic table. The upholstery and umbrella you choose still create a truly one-of-a-kind table.
Because you’re making a table with seats, you’ll need a Sawzall, at least 6 feet of 2x4s per bench, camping foam or padding, and vinyl tablecloths.
Start by flipping the table upside down and cutting the outer ring from the bottom disc. You’ll make four benches, so you can cut the ring into quarters, but you don’t want to make cuts besides those and the inner ring.
Sand the tops of the benches before turning them upside down. Determine the height of your bench based on the spool height. Then, cut four pieces of wood for each spool for the legs. You’ll cross two pieces to make X-shaped legs, and you want the feet of the legs to be set wider than the seat, so the edges touching the bottom of the bench will be angled. Secure them with screws from multiple angles, and secure the center of the crosses with screws. You can also add a bar between the crosses for additional stability.
If your table is a bit short, create legs with blocks of wood by screwing them to the bottom disc at equal distances from one another. Painting your table and bench legs to your preference.
Trace the bench tops on the padding before cutting them out. If you want, the padding can be slightly larger than the bench to soften the edges. Trace the bench on the back of the tablecloths with an extra six inches from the edge and wrap the tablecloths around the padding. Fold the edges into pleats to make the cover look neat, then tack them to the backs of the benches.
Top it off with an umbrella in the table hole.
9. Pallet and Spool Picnic Table
Although we don’t have instructions for this round picnic table made from a spool and pallet, it can still serve as inspiration. One disc serves as the tabletop, while the pallet becomes the connector between the table and the permanent circle bench.
10. Colorful Electrical Spool Table
Finally, we have this bold table. Choose several colors of paint, including bright colors. Start by sanding the spool, then paint the top of your table, using one color per board. Lightly sand the top of the table to distress it before sealing with a clear coat.
Find the perfect stools, and you’re ready to use your wire stool table to entertain!