DIY upcycling around your home exterior
Upcycle with The Exeter Daily

Upcycling - What Is It?

Similar to recycling, ‘upcycling’ is “the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful”. Where recycling breaks down materials and creates something still destined for the trash, upcycling creates something with more value than the original piece - think of a cement block becoming a planter, or, say, an old cable spool becoming a new table? Truth be told, if you’ve ever dabbled in DIY projects, you’re probably already an experienced ‘upcycler’.

Why Cable Spools?

Totally all wooden DIY spool examples
Wooden spools WireTech World

Cable spools, sometimes called cable reels or wooden cable reels, are perfect for DIY upcycling projects. Why? Well, cable spools are incredibly versatile: made of wood, they can easily be deconstructed or added to, and you can’t go wrong with either the natural look or painting. The spools are made of classic shapes - two larger, round disks and one column - that can be used to create plenty of new kinds of furniture. Plus, cable spools come in many shapes and sizes, depending on what you’re looking for, and they can also be cut to fit your space. All in all, cable spools, which would ordinarily end up in the recycling bin, are perfect ‘blank slates’ for your upcoming ‘upcycling’ project.

Upcycling Project Showcase: the Cable Spool DIY

DIY wooden spool table for your home's exterior
Spool table Homesteading

If you’re making improvements to your interior design or outdoor deck or porch, cable spools make great pieces of furniture that can be customized to fit your own needs and style. Many homeowners choose to let the natural wood shine through, but there are also plenty of ways to upcycle an old spool for a fresh new look and a brand new life. Use some of these methods on your next upcycling project and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box!


Pretty light blue spool table for a home's exterior
DIY spool designs GraceAdkins

If you’re into bright colors, wooden spools can easily be sanded and painted to match a recent paint job or style of decor. Bright colors work well, and you can incorporate different mediums (such as thick rope or tiles) for a personalized touch.


Even interior upcycling ideas for wooden spools
Interior design ScrapHacker

Sometimes using a quality wood finish showcases the simplistic beauty of the cable spool instead of being covered by paint, as in this cable spool table. This homeowner used minimal reinforcements to create a simple, gorgeous, versatile indoor table.

Glass Tabletop

Have a seat at youe new favorite DIY table
White chair Upcycled Wonders

Instead of using the rougher wooden spool top as the tabletop, this homeowner opted to create a sleek, glass-topped table that still allows the beauty of the wood beneath to shine through. Perfect for indoors or out!

Outdoor Planter

Gardening tips for DIY landscaping planters
Upcycled spool planter Pinterest

Taking a different approach to upcycling, the spool here is turned on its side and shelves have been added to create space for potted plants of all types. The wooden material is the perfect addition to this garden!

Book/Magazine Rack

Custom made book rack from wooden spools
DIY book table The Shop at Forty

By adding a few slim dowels to the cable spool, this homeowner created the perfect rustic ‘bookcase’ to fill an empty corner or place near your favorite armchair. The print on the top of the spool adds to its charm.

Adding Wheels

Wine rack for all the classy upcycling wine-o's
DIY wine rack The DIY Network

Another take on a wine rack, adding wheels to this spool allows it to be moved as needed to keep the wine and glasses with arm's reach. With a polished top for setting down wine glasses, what a perfect addition to any dinner or party.

Unique Seating

DIY custom seating arrangement for a home interior
Unique seat Adam Haroff

This rocking chair is the perfect example of how upcycling creates new, innovative furniture out of old pieces. While you can still see its origins as a cable spool, the uniqueness of this chair is sure to add style to any living room!

Stylish Summer Table

DIY patio furniture for exterior home use
Spool umbrella table Upcycled Wonders

Patios aren’t complete without a porch umbrella, and this DIY project allows you to enjoy your landscaping without baking in the summer heat. Perfect for sitting by the pool, too!

Join the conversation