Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-015

Sometimes, when I least expect it, a project will just appear to me out of a dumpster.  I wasn’t looking…well, I must have looked at some point…but I definitely wasn’t looking on purpose.  I was on my way to one of my favorite stores…no, not the shoe store…the Home Depot, when I spot this great wire spool just peeking out of the top of a dumpster.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman

Actually they had quite a few, they must have been doing some major rewiring, but all I wanted was one.  I had never worked with a wire spool before, but I know it has been done.

Was the coast clear?  I do have some dignity. I don’t mind fishing something out of a dumpster just as long as no one sees me.

Not a soul around, that baby is mine.

Now onto Home Depot where I’m really surprised they don’t know me by name.

As for the wire spool, it has been sitting in the garage for a few weeks now.  The time has come for a transformation.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-001

I gathered up a few supplies I had around the house that I thought I could use to construct the ottoman. A 4×4 for the feet, the wooden back of an old picture frame whose glass had broken and some leftover mdf from the sides of the mismatched metal file cabinets.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-002

The feet were made from four, 3 inch pieces of the 4×4.  The 4 corners were trimmed with a chop saw then sanded smooth.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-003

The feet were positioned on the bottom of the spool then screwed on from the inside of the spool.

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For structure, I used 1 inch strips of mdf and the back of the picture frame nailed all around the outside of the spool. You may want to get these even closer than I have here… I found out when I pulled the fabric taut, that you can see a bit of the edges on the bottom.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-005

For the feet, I used 2 coats of a dark walnut Varathane…polyurethane and stain in one application. I use this stuff all the time, it dries really quickly and it cleans up with water (no more stiff brushes).  For a smooth finish, use a fine steel wool or sandpaper in between coats.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-006

For the top, I used a 2 inch piece of foam. Turn your spool over to use the top of the wire spool as a pattern.

By the way, the feet still only have one coat of the Varathane in all these pics.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-008

While the spool was still upside down, I also used it as a pattern to cut out the fabric for the top of the ottoman.  This time the fabric was about an inch wider than the spool for a nice seam allowance.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-009

The foam was cut out and the top edge trimmed just a bit so it doesn’t have a hard edge.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-010

The ottoman was wrapped with quilt batting and that was tacked into place with a stapler.

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Cut another piece of fabric a few inches taller than your ottoman and a couple inches longer than the circumference.

With the wrong side out , pin the fabric into place exactly how tight you’ll want the fabric on the ottoman. These pins will be your sewing line.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-012

Do the same with the top…wrong side out, pin exactly where you want to sew.

When all the pins are in place, take the cover off the ottoman and sew.  I sewed the side seam first, followed by the top circle.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-013

After sewing, turn your fabric right side out, and pull back over the spool. Staple from the bottom.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-014

This wire spool was 2 feet in diameter  so it would make a great coffee table for a small space or for a family with toddlers…no pointy edges.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-015

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-016

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman-017

Feel free to have fun with your fabric.  I loved this fabric as soon as I saw it.  It has a nice weight since it’s upholstery fabric, it’s neutral enough to go in any room in the house and at $3.50 a yard, a great price.  Actually, it had me at $3.50 a yard.

Hard to believe this wire spool had dumpster origins, but now I kind of wish I had retrieved more than one.

Upcycled Wire Spool Ottoman

For another junky ottoman idea, make sure you check out these two made from discarded fruit crates.

Upcycled Fruit Crate Ottomans

Upcycled Fruit Crate Ottomans

Shared at Inspire me Tuesday, Wow us Wednesdays,

Talk of the Town, DIY Like a Boss, The DIY Collective,

Brag Worthy Thursday, Handmade Hangout,

Link Party Palooza, Funky Junk Party Junk,

Share it One More Time, DIY Sunday Showcase,

Bewitchin Projects, Amaze me Monday,

Metamorphosis Monday, Be Inspired,

Trash 2 Treasure, Two Uses Tuesday


  • GLENN STADON says:


  • susan says:

    your skill set and cleverness inspire me, wish I was handy with power tools instead of being petrified. I think, given what a neat piece you have made, you should either, stencil a design on that puppy or go and find a wonderful, bold and colorful graphic fabric to make that ottoman a disign statement.
    You did such a great job creating it, but, it is kind of ho-hum in the visual department. Hope you know this is just my opinion and not an insult.

    • Joan says:

      I know exactly what you mean about being ho hum but sometimes I just need a base piece…something that I can put other things on without it demanding all the attention. You probably can’t tell from the pictures, but the fabric actually has a decent amount of texture. And hey, if I get bored with it, it would be super easy to make another cover.

  • Karen says:

    This is amazing! I wish you had dug one out of the dumpster for me. Very clever way to cover it and mark your sewing lines. Very impressed.

  • Christine says:

    Beautiful ottoman! What a great upcycle using the spool.

  • I’m the same way about dumpster diving, always looking over my shoulder first for any weird looks. Your ottoman turned out great! Excellent tutorial.

  • Very creative how you did the sides and the feet. It would also be nice with some lettering on it, but I like it just as it is!

  • angie says:

    love how you made the ottoman so very inspiring. It looks great and I believe I may just give it a try as well.
    come see us at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

  • What a great idea Joan! I have had a couple of these spools before but have made them into art pieces. I love this… will have to keep this in mind for the next one I pick up 🙂 Thanks for linking it up at the Bewitchin’ Projects Block Party last week. Hugs, Lisa