Introduction: Upcycled Cable Spool Ottoman With Storage

About: My love of making things started young, with a mom who was always coming up with projects and a dad whose tool collection still gives me envy. I got my love of bright colors from mom and my love of working wi…

Some of our favorite projects are made from taking old materials and giving them a new life as something else. And that’s exactly the case with this project. You may remember our Cable Spool Pallet Bench, where we made a bench out of a large, industrial cable spool. Well today, we bring you the companion piece, using the leftover materials from the spool along with an old outdoor pillow: meet our new Cable Spool Storage Ottoman!

It's so nice to work on a project when you literally don't have to buy anything new for it, and we're thrilled that it all worked out (especially the cushion top!). It may be easier to buy what you need to build something, but it's way more fun to push your creativity and make it happen with what you've got.

We combined the extra pieces of the spool (i.e. the core) with some scrap plywood and an old outdoor pillow that's literally been collecting dust to create this awesome ottoman.

So find yourself a cable spool, grab the materials below, and let’s build this thing together!


(Amazon links = affiliate links):

Old cable spool (find on side of road, Marketplace or Craigslist)

Old outdoor cushion

Scrap plywood

Pneumatic nail gun -

Wood glue -

Staple gun -

Clamps -

Jigsaw -

Miter saw -

Belt sander -

Power drill -

Stain (we used Driftwood) -

Spar urethane -

Scissors -

Socket Wrench -

Measuring tape -

Sandpaper -

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Step 1: Disassemble Spool

First up, you need to disassemble that giant cable spool! Depending on the size of your spool, this might be a two person job—one person on one side and your partner on the other side.

Gather the following materials: cable spool, painter’s tape, socket wrench, adjustable wrench.

Follow these steps:

1. Remove the bolts on the cable spool with a ratcheting socket wrench.

Note: You may need someone on the other side holding another wrench for traction.

2. Pull out all of the long bolts that are holding the cable spool together.

3. Separate the two sides of the spool from the middle, and set the middle planks aside. A swift kick will do the trick. ;)

Step 2: Cut 4 Circles Out of Wood

When you disassembled your spool, you probably learned that the only thing holding the panels for the core in place was tension and a few long bolts. Because of this, you’ll need to create an inside support structure for the ottoman, plus a lid for the top.

Gather the following materials: scrap plywood, jigsaw, power sander, measuring tape,

Follow these steps:

1. Determine inside circumference of the spool core, as well as the outside circumference of the spool core.

2. Use a jigsaw to cut 4 circles in total out of scrap plywood:

- One circle out of thin plywood that matches the outside circumference of the ottoman

- Three circles out of 3/4” plywood that match the inside circumference of the core (one for the bottom of the ottoman, one for the inset on the lid on the ottoman and the last one for the top support of the ottoman).

3. Cut out the center of one of the 3/4” thick circles, creating a 1” wide ring.

Note: This will provide a way to attach the side panels at the top and provide support for the lid.

4. Sand all circles until smooth

Step 3: Attach Side Panels to Wood Circles

Now it’s time to create the body of your ottoman!

Grab the following materials: one 3/4” wood circle, wood ring, all side panels, nail gun, wood glue, power saw, feet (if desired)

Follow these steps:

1. Cut panels to the right height using a power saw. Ours were 16” high.

2. Place solid wood circle down on a flat surface, and place the wood ring on top.

Note: this is to position the wood ring at the right height to accept the lid.

3. Attach one panel at a time to the wood ring, using a nail gun.

4. Add wood glue in the crevice every few panels.

5. Once all panels are secured to the ring, flip the unit over on top of the solid circle and use a nail gun to attach all panels to the solid wood circle.

6. Add glue to the crevice.

7. Flip the ottoman back over so it is upside down.

8. Add feet, if desired, to keep the ottoman from resting directly on the ground.

Step 4: Stain and Seal Ottoman

Now that the body of your ottoman is built, you should stain and seal it!

Gather the following materials: stain of your choice, Spar Urethane, two rags, sandpaper

Follow these steps:

1. Sand the outside of your ottoman. We just hand sanded so as to keep all of the cool markings.

2. Wipe away all dust from sanding.

3. Apply stain to the outside of the unit using a rag or brush. Be sure to stain in the direction of the grain.

Note: Follow the instructions on your particular stain for drying and re-coating times.

4. Seal the outside of the ottoman, including the bottom, with Spar Urethane. We like this product because it holds up to outdoor use.

5. Let dry.

Step 5: Make Removable Top

It wouldn’t be an ottoman without a nice, cushy top! We made ours removable so we could store things inside the ottoman. Luckily, this is super easy to build! Our outdoor pillow had poly stuffing, rather than foam, so those are the steps we will show. if you need to know how to create a cushion with foam, you can loosely follow our instructions on How to Make a Bench Cushion.

Gather the following materials: old lounge cushion, thin plywood circle, 3/4” plywood circle, staple gun, wood glue, clamps.

Follow these steps:

1. Remove all stuffing from your outdoor pillow.

2. Cut the back of the pillow cover open.

Note: If you want to have a tuft in the center, drill a hole in the middle of your plywood before you insert it into the fabric so you have a hole to pull the thread through.

3. Insert thin plywood circle into fabric.

4. Re-insert stuffing until you have the desired fullness in your cushion.

5. If you opted to have a tuft, pull the thread through before you begin the next step.

6. Flip the cushion over and staple the fabric to the thin plywood board.

Note: Be mindful to keep the same tension as you move around the circle, or you will have a lumpy cushion top. If you need to make adjustments, you can easily remove staples and then reattach where needed.

7. Once you are happy with the cushion, cut away all excess fabric.

8. Liberally apply wood glue to the wood circle and around the edges of the stapled fabric.

9. Press the larger (3/4” wood circle on to the bottom of the cushion).

10. Clamp and let cure overnight.

Step 6: Enjoy!

Et voila! Once you put that top on, you will have a Cable Spool Ottoman with Storage! Now you can truly kick up your feet and relax.

If you liked this project, please head over to for more tips, tutorials, back stories and more. And if you’re interested in checking out more of our tutorials, check out our Instructables profile or head over to our YouTube channel.

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