Practical DIY No 3: Spool Stool

I don’t know why we called it that, because this DIY is not a stool at all. It’s an end table. I’ll be honest, it didn’t turn out as lovely as I’d hoped but good enough to keep.

I should mention that we moved three months ago after living in our first home for twelve years and we donated nearly half of our old furniture. Keeping in mind that I do not want to purchase items just to fill a house, it’s been a slow-go at decorating and adding a personal touch to our new spaces.

One new space that we didn’t have at our old house was a dedicated homeschool room. In the new homeschool room I’ve been careful to pick furniture that would suit the needs of two children and two grades worth of school curriculum. I also wanted this room to be a creative space. We do a lot of hands-on activities, including a good bit of needle and thread art. I have a chair that needed an end table so I thought it would be fun to have one that looked like a spool of thread. Insert my idea for the Spool Stool (End Table).

Problem: I needed an end table that I wanted to look like a spool of thread. Solution: wire spool + 2 round boards + 1-2×4 and screws + some plastic bags + yarn + wood stain = Spool End Table.

I immediately thought about all of those cute empty spool tables I’ve seen online, so I began scouting the hardware stores for empty spools. Since we had just moved, we were frequenting the hardware stores often. What I learned is that it’s really hard to get an empty spool. Most hardware stores won’t just give you an empty spool and if they did, many are plastic or already broken before they are empty.

However, ask enough times and someone will finally say yes and that’s what happened. When that man put our spool in the buggy we did a little happy dance and then high-tailed it out of there before someone could stop us and tell me to put it back. I’d like to think the kids were excited for the same reason, but I think they were just cheering because it meant we didn’t have to go to the wire aisle every time we went to the hardware store and flag down an employee. They know their mother is weird.

Anyway, we used the empty spool in our house as foot stool for a little while (hence Spool Stool) because the original spool ends had holes and bolts in the wood that prove less than ideal to place your cups and plates on. The more we used it, the less thrilled I was about keeping it so I decided to take it apart and see what pieces I could use.

New ends bought from Lowe’s. One stained, one unfinished.

I bought two round pieces of wood at Lowe’s (under $10 each) to replace the spool ends and wrapped the center funnel with plastic bags for thickness, then yarn to create the center. I’d originally tried rope before the yarn to have it double as a scratching post for the cats, but the rope didn’t look like thread.

I needed to reattach the original spool cylinder middle to the new ends without drilling a screw through the top. I cut a piece of 2×4 to fit in the cylinder, centered it and attached it to the underside of each end.
And then ran a screw through each side of the cylinder into the 2×4.
Use a level to insure that the top and bottom pieces are aligned before attaching the second end.
Wrapped with plastic bags for some extra bulk. Ended up taking off the rope that is seen in this pic.
Wrapped with yarn using a hot glue gun sparingly to keep the yarn in place. It didn’t need much. The largest skein I could find at Walmart (250 yards) wrapped it 3 solid times.

Now that the bolts are out of the original ends, I’m going to search for a wire basket that will fit under one of them. I plan to stain and attach it as a flip top to create another end table for our living room that will double as storage. So it turns out that my spool might be used to create two pieces of furniture!


Not the easiest DIY, but the stool is the perfect height and I may end up with two pieces of furniture and save a little money by not buying new. I did search for the spool for quite some time, but I would have spent just as much or more time trying to find two pieces of furniture to fit my exact needs.

How far have you gone to make a DIY?

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