Making a Bench from leftover Spindles

diy Spindle Stool/Bench

Several weeks ago, my youngest brother showed up on my front doorstep with 2 doors, lots of indoor shutters, a little bit of beadboard and over 40 spindles (sometimes called balusters).  He had been cleaning out his garage and thought I might be able to put his treasures to good use. So, in exchange for babysitting my niece, I received goodies to make a ton of projects.

Progress on my pile of goodies has been pathetically slow.  Other than these 4 spindles, I have used one shutter.

Upcycled and Recycled Mortise and Shutter Shelves

The shutter was used for this set of mortise shelves.  You can find that project here.

Bed tray diy, Reclaimed Wood tray, Beach decor, Serving tray diy

The last time I had 4 spindles, I made a bed tray, but one can only use so many bed trays.  But a bench…you can definitely have more than one bench…for seating, a plant stand, for reaching those high cabinets in your kitchen, as a side table, at the end of a bed, under a window, make it longer and it’s a coffee table.  A bench it is!

diy Spindle Stool

These spindles had tons of coats of paint on them, but why they ended up with this funky red/rust color is beyond me.

I wanted the total length for each of my legs to be 16″.  When measuring spindles make sure you line up the decorative part of the spindle and go from there.  Depending on where the spindle was situated on the stairway determines how long the spindle was…sometimes they are off by 4 or 5 Spindle Stool

If you want your legs to be straight down you can skip this step.  I wanted a slight bend outward so I made a 5 degree cut.  Just take a little notch out, making sure you leave the length intact.

diy Spindle Stool

To hold the legs in place cut a 1 x 4  piece of scrap wood 11 inches long and mark where your spindles will go.

Use a drill to cut out the hole you just marked.  If you don’t have a large enough drill bit, you can cut the hole with a jigsaw.

diy Spindle Stool

With a hand held sander round off the bottom part of your legs. Once again, leave the length intact and just round off the edges.

diy Spindle Stool

Insert the leg into the wooden piece you just cut. Line up the top of the spindle with the top of the board.  If you did miter the ends of the spindle, make sure the legs are facing the same way. Use wood glue and nails to secure.

diy Spindle Stool

Legs were painted with charcoal chalk paint.  In my day, the color used to be called black. 🙂

diy Spindle Stool

To give a chippy paint finish, sanded off the legs to reveal some of the many colors hiding below. The top spindle (above) is finished with a coat of dark wax.

diy Spindle Stool

Two pieces of scrap 1 x 6 x 21″ were cut for the top.  It wasn’t quite wide enough, so I added another 1 inch width of scrap wood  to the center.  Once the boards were lined up, a finishing nailer attached the top to the legs.  

diy Spindle Stool

The edge of the bench was finished with 1×2 pine, mitered at the corners.

For added strength, used screws from the bottom, to attach the legs to the top of the bench.


Top was finished with a coat of black paint, followed by a layer of teal then splotches of white.  A handheld sander smoothed out all the edges and revealed all the layers of paint.

diy Spindle Stool/Bench

A coat of dark wax, painted on and rubbed off with a rag, was all that was need to finish off the bench.

diy Spindle Stool/Bench

diy Spindle Stool/Bench


diy Spindle Stool/Bench

diy Spindle Stool/Bench

diy Spindle Stool/Bench

Four spindles down and about 40 to go.  Anybody have any great ideas of what to do with a ton of spindles?

Shared at Think and Make Thursday, Handmade Hangout Party, Creativity Unleashed,

Friday Furniture Fix, Frugal Fridays, Painted Drawer,  Five Star Frugal,

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Wow us Wednesday, Vintage Inspiration Party,


  • Heather says:

    Love how this guy turned out. The dark wax over the ‘charcoal’ paint is rich! The distressed top is just yummy…Thanks for sharing.

  • chris aka monkey says:

    i just love the finish on that awesome bench…. spindles are country design styles favorite thing in the world check her out for tons of spindle thingys xx

  • gail says:

    beautiful job Joan. Finishing the edges really pulls this little bench together.


  • Gail says:

    Depends on the size and length. How about a quilt hanger, flag hanger, jewelry holder, ties, scarves, how about on the bottom of baskets, buckets. You could make a cake stand with legs. Legs for an animals dish. Use to raise a bed up higher? Great for holding up plants that need some help. Great to hold numbers for your house. Great for between shelves. Add a round base to either end and wrap extra fabric, paper, lace, rope etc. around it. I want some. Ha ha.

  • You never cease to amaze me with your projects – you are so talented! Christy at Confessions of A Serial DIYer made a gorgeous wind chime from old spindles you might want to check out.

  • Youngest Brother says:

    Baltimore row house spindles done proud. I have more stuff in exchange for babysitting. I really wanted to slice the spindles and make a picture frame. The spindles also make me think of the family piano chair tripod.

  • How fun! And great tutorial on working with spindle legs, didn’t know about the size difference. I used some spindles from a chair to make a chalkboard, or rather, decorate it. This lady has some fun spindle ideas:

  • Every time I come here , which is often, I am amazed by what you create. I can only aspire to your level. Thanks for the inspiration.