Coffee Table DIY

Remember WAYYY back in the day (like 2012/2013) when all you could see on Pinterest were awesome coffee tables that looked like this:

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It showed everything from low ones to high ones, skinny to large, pedestal to non-pedestal, built-in bookcase to non….well you catch my drift. They were everywhere. And when something like that is in my face hourly (as seemed to be the case that day) I figured I could do it myself. Shocker.

First obstacle – finding an electrical cable spool. Not really something you can run to Wal Mart for. The ones that I had seen around were insanely huge ones that have just finished supplying an entire home with cable. Not exactly what I was looking for. Next thought, we have friends in every trade it seems, who’s an electrician? Nada. Thumbs down. Oh but hey, the bf is on the road working and maybe he’ll know! And that is when I hit the jackpot. When 15 days were up he was home with the goods.


I was impressed. It was actually in pretty decent shape to begin with so it didn’t take much prep. This next part try to use your imagination, I didn’t snap any photo’s. I had to take a hammer and hammer down some of the nails as they were sticking out a bit, then I sanded it down with a low grit to get some of the grease and grime off. I ended up sanding the nails too, as some of them were being ridiculous and not cooperating with my overall vision. Once I finished up with that I took the palm sander and put a high grit piece on and went to town on the spool until it felt nice and smooth. My father in law does wood work and knows a whole lot about furniture and building and stains so I ended up calling him to see whether I should condition the wood before putting some stain on. The reason for this was because it was pine wood and it tends to suck the stain up pretty quickly but not very evenly. I used this:


I used two coats of that for good measure (of course following the instructions) and then went to town with Minwax Stain in Early American. Here’s what 1 coat looked like:


Here’s 2 coats:


And finally 3:


I used MinWax Polyurethane in Clear Satin to finish it off – I tried the spray can instead of brushing it on and used the whole thing. Next time I think I would brush, I ended up re-sealing it with Annie Sloan clear wax 6 months down the line or so and it seemed to have lasted longer as a finish. We put some casters on the bottom so we could easily move it around and parked it in our living room.

Such an easy and quick DIY if you can get you hands on a spool, and also super convenient when you have to move furniture to vacuum and need to get all those leftover snacks your kids seem to have left behind…or maybe that’s just our house.

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  • Jody
    May 12

    This is beautiful. I want a coffee table and not a run of the mill one. I was thinking two side by side. On castor’s they could be moved when we have movie night. Then people could set their drinks and popcorn bowels on them. I am so lucky. My nephew who lives with us has access to PALLETS my new obsession. I will show him this and see if he knows where I can get some. Good job turning a work article into a functional attractive work of art for the house. Thinking a few of these next to lawn chairs may not be a bad idea either. Could paint them bright cheerful colors. Oh dear. As my son says I see the wheels turning in mom’s head.

  • Brenda
    May 31

    Absolutely beautiful! What size spool is this? There are so many sizes. In the lot where I would get one I can’t tell what size is the approximate size I should get.
    Thank you!!

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