The cable spool rescued from the trash

I love working with cable spools. I rescue them from the dumpster at my employer since we are an electronics manufacturer. The big ones I make into tables.


But I had collected all these small ones and wasn’t sure what I wanted to create with them. Then it came to me (most likely it woke me up at 3 am!); I could make a 2 tiered farmhouse tray!


Step 1.) Sanding.
I decided I wanted to stain this one, so I needed to remove the paint and also since it’s plywood, smooth it out so the surface was not as rough. Power sanders will make this job much easier and faster.


Step 2.) Cover up the cardboard core.
I decided to use a rustic rope. You could also mod podge some pretty paper over it as well! The rope is easily attached with hot glue. I placed the glue about 2-3x per rotation. Be sure you are placing the rope flush with the row beneath it before gluing.

Step 3.) If using a stain, apply pre-stain wood conditioner.
This hydrates the wood and allows the stain to look more even.

Step 4.) Apply the stain.
Once the pre-stain conditioner is dry, choose a stain and apply it. You may prefer more than one coat.

Step 5.) Apply a finish. 
There are several to choose from, (polyurethane, varnish, lacquer, shallac etc) but I prefer clear lacquer. The clear lacquer protects the surface the most and gives a smooth, shiny finish. I recently discovered a new brand of clear lacquer finish called CrystaLac. It provides the same great finish as your typical name brand lacquers in the home improvement store, but with NO smelly fumes! The one I used is called polyurethane, but it has the same effect as a clear lacquer. You can buy it online, although I bought it in a vintage store in VA from a local distributor.

Step 6.) Attach the “sides”
Most 2 tiered trays have some sort of lip on it, so I chose some copper strapping, found in the plumbing section of the local home improvement store. I prefer copper for the pop of color rather than stainless steel. It comes in rolls of varying lengths, and I used the 3/4″ width. You will need tin snips to cut the strapping down to size.

Unroll the coil and wrap it around the spool. Then cut it down to size, BUT leave a little extra to ensure you don’t cut yourself short. Once you start screwing it in flush against the spool, you may find you measured inaccurately. Make your final trim when you get to the last screw.

Install the screws throughout the spool so that it is snug. Be sure with each screw to pull the strapping in tight so you don’t have bowing. I used gutter screws because it has a nice finished head instead of the less aesthetic silver screws.

Step 7.) Attach a handle
I chose this one from Hobby Lobby. I wanted to save surface area by going up.


Step 8.) Style it!
There’s a lot of creative ideas for this one. Since this is not food safe, I wouldn’t recommend using it as a cupcake stand. (unless you used wax paper) However, use it in your kitchen for coffee mugs and sugar bowl, or use it to hold your collection of small vintage beauties! This farmhouse tray is available now in my shop!

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