Cable Reels……16 Great Ideas For Their Transformation

Cable Reels

Cable Reels Are Not Just Overgrown Cotton Bobbins


There are so many ways of upcycling cable reels,,,,I hope this post will inspire you to create your own innovative designs.

Here are a few pros and cons when it comes to cable reel furniture…..


  • The wood has been treated with preservative, which penetrates deep into the fibres, so the reel will not rot.

  • Although reels  may have been treated with insect repellent and anti-fungal products, any harmful properties will have been washed away over time by the weather.

  • Larger reels are very heavy, which is a major deterrent to burglars.


  • The wood may be very rough, so it is hard work sanding it down

  • You may come across protruding or buried nails which will rip your sanding block to pieces

Where to find your cable reels

Cable reels come in a wide range of sizes and are made of  cardboard, wood or plastic……but where can you find them?

  • Utility companies who are laying electric and water services.

  • Local recycling centres

  • Local tradespeople….electricians, plumbers, builders and telephone contractors

  • Electrical retail stores

  • Local council depots

  • Online auction sites

So here are some ideas. Wherever possible I have given a link to the source material, where you will often find instructions on how to make the artefact. I have tried to find a broad range of uses for a cable reel…..not just tables.

Multi Storey Car Park



















Etsy Beerhill Woodwork

Chair with Book Storage

Play Table


















Magic Garden

Dog Bed and Table

















Horse Swing

TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects

Tic Tac Table




Bedroom Table












Book Shelves



Corner Shelves

Pinterest Steve Rouse



Duck House with Storage








Table and Four Stools
















Table and Five  Stools


One or Two Tips and Tricks

Preparing the Cable Reel


  • Check the reel for any protruding nails and remove them

  • Sand down the reel using a power sander if possible using a coarse grade of grit. Save any lettering as this will give your reel character and reinforce its original purpose.

  • Brush off any sawdust so you have a nice clean surface


    Now bring the surface to life using a wax polish, such as Briwax, which comes in a wide range of colours. Briwax will find its way into all those nooks and crannies…….your scruffy old cable reel will be transformed.

Creating a Flat Surface for the Table top

Some cable reels come with protruding nuts, which may scratch little fingers and overturn objects placed on the table.

To deal with this problem, cut a circle out of a piece of ply.  The ply should be

thicker than the amount that the nut/bolt protrudes. Cut a circular tabletop and place on top of the other piece of ply which acts as a packer.






Let your creativity run riot with a cable reel!

Take a look at other posts I have written about recycling……

15 Great Whiskey Barrel Furniture Projects

Pallet Furniture – 15 Great Great Projects To Make Yourself

Do share your thoughts on this post