Cable spools – you’ve undoubtedly seen them numerous times and thought they looked fascinating, if not amusing.
Despite the fact that they aren’t as versatile as wooden pallets, they may be recycled and resurrected in many different applications, like making coffee tables, side tables, garden benches, etc.
I’ve had a chance to own one of these exciting pieces of industrial cable spools for five years now.
I bought this from the roadside at a dirt-low price and haven’t considered converting it into something useful for quite some time – it laid unnoticed in my garage for months, gathering a whole lot of dust and dirt that I used to remove once a year when we cleaned up for Christmas.
Only recently, I got the idea to recycle it. So, I finished it with milk paint, and it looks so darn new and good.
Here in this blog post, I will show you how I did it and give some useful insights to get a great-looking coffee table from an old cable spool.
If you’re thinking of making a coffee table or side table from a cable spool at an extremely low price, here you will find some brilliant ideas to get you started.
But before I start, let me tell you why you should use a wooden spool for your table in the first place.
Why Use a Cable Spool Coffee Table?
First of all, making a DIY coffee table out of a cable spool is very simple – because its shape and design will do all the work. You merely need to pick the symmetrical circular pieces together and refinish them a bit.
The circle within the middle gap may be customized, covered, or used for books, indoor plants, candles, or decorations, depending on your preference.
And without spending huge amounts of money on the project, you could have an exclusive piece of furniture in your home in no time.
Below you can find a fantastic video tutorial where they tell you how to build an outdoor table out of discarded wooden cable coil.
The legs of the table are made of an old sewing machine. If you want, you can keep the original part as it is to make the project super easy.
How to Finish a Wooden Spool Table – 3 Easy Steps
Once we have learned why and how to make a spool table, let us see how we can prepare and finish it to look better.
The steps I have shared here are what I followed. If you want, you can make changes and do it your way. So, let’s get to the tutorial part here.
Step 1. Start by Preparing the Cable Spool
I started by checking for any sharp objects, screws, nuts, or nails that might be sticking out of the wood. There were a few staples, but they weren’t too bad. I removed some of them and have left the others that were not very harmful.
Then, I compared which face end would be more appealing for the tabletop – they usually aren’t identical.
One face end had an industrial stamping, a company logo, and some stickers, so I chose that to be on the top and decided not to sand it. Actually, it also helped me save lots of time if I were to remove all of those.
On the other end, along with the rest of the spool, I decided to sand down to make the surface smooth. I wanted a rustic appearance and a more antiqued look, so I used only fine-grit sandpaper to roughen it up to accept the paint well.
Step 2. Choose the Finish for Cable Spool Table
It’s always best to pick the right finish for the wood before you start painting or staining it. For my projects, I always take some time to think and decide what kind of look I’m going for with the project and where the piece will be placed.
This time I needed a natural wood distressed look with a bit of color. So, I chose to finish it with Milk Paint.
When you want to give your wood item a professional-looking finish makeover, milk paints are the go-to choice for furnituremakers, designers, and DIYers because of their tremendous flexibility.
They come in a range of different color options and have the ability to produce a wide range of appearances and finishes, which is one of their greatest features.
If you want to go with the milk paint for any of your wood furniture projects, I recommend getting a convenient sample bundle of various colors because it’s available at a bulk discounted price and will help you choose the right color for your project.
If you do not want to use milk paint, you can go with other options like chalk paint, enamel paint, latex paint, or even a natural wood stain with extremely low VOCs.
Step 3. Apply the Paint to Your Wooden Spool Table
Once you have chosen the paint, it’s time to apply it to the wood.
Since I used milk paint, I applied one thin coat on the old raw wood with a paintbrush. I coated all the surfaces but not the top ones.
Once the first coat was dry to the touch, I added a second layer. And after the paint was completely dry, I distressed the edges with sandpaper to give it a more worn-out look.
I also distressed the wooden top a little bit by randomly sanding some spots. And finally, I placed a 15mm thick circled glass top on my table to add a layer of protection.
For me, the entire process was easy and quick. And the results I got were impressive – I am still happy with them when I see my coffee table in my living room.
Electric Wire Spool Table – Decorating Tips and Ideas
If you want to keep it a simple, clean, and modern-looking coffee table, go with milk paint and a clear glass top, as I have.
But if you want to be on a bit creative side, there are endless other possibilities with upcycling, building, and decorating a coffee table with a wooden spool.
Like, you can decoupage the top or paint it with colorful acrylic paints to make a practical and fun surface for kids.
You can even use finishes like polyurethane or epoxy for your tabletop for a durable, shiny, and waterproof finish. Just make sure you do the work in a well-ventilated area, and wear gloves and a mask for safety.
You can also make the surface of your table more interesting by adding beer bottle caps, tiles, mosaics, or even fabric to the top. All these pieces are great when arranged in a patterned mosaic or geometric design.
For added texture, you can also nail on some wooden trim around the edges of your table. This will help to keep the edges of your spool from being destroyed by daily use.
If you are skilled in woodworking and have hand saws (or electric saws) in your garage storage, you can cut the entire spool into half or quarters.
Then use a wire spool table as a plant stand by simply placing it beside the wall and adding a plant pot to the top. See in the picture below how the creator created a stand with the help of some jigsaw cuts.
Nevertheless, you can also use this table as a workplace for your home office. No one would come and disturb you while you are working on your laptop around the corner. Plus, it can fit any corner of your house with its compact size.
The bottom of the spool can also be used creatively for adding some books, and if you want, you can keep the side closed by adding some plywood. It makes a great storage space for things like gadgets, board games, and other household items.
As a last tip, you can add the wheels to the bottom of your rustic spool table to make it more mobile. It will be helpful if you want to use it in different rooms or want to change its location occasionally.
The Bottom Line
Those were great ideas for decorating and repurposing an old cable spool into a beautiful, unique table.
And I hope this article inspired you to think beyond the obvious and develop your own creative ideas for upcycling a wooden spool.
The good thing is you can use this table in any room for any purpose, like – making a side table, or nightstand, building a chair, or creating an outdoor bar. Your family and friends will definitely love the idea.
Do you have any other great ideas for decorating and repurposing a cable spool table? I would love to hear from you via my contact page.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.