How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman

Old spools like this one are fairly common at antique shops and tag sales. I found this one at the Brimfield flea market last year. It says “Bethlehem Strand”, and probably held wire rope made at the now defunct Bethlehem Steel in Pennsylvania. I’m going to give it new life by turning it into a rustic ottoman. The top will be removable so it can double as a coffee table.

Fun fact: Bethlehem Steel was established in 1904 and was America’s second largest steel producer and the largest shipbuilder. The company manufactured steel for many notable landmarks like Madison Square Garden, Alcatraz, the Hoover Dam, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Instructions

How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman

I’ve cut out a piece of plywood to fit on top of the spool, and cut out holes where the bolts are. This way the top can easily be removed so I can use it as a coffee table.

Place the plywood on the foam and trace around it.

How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman

Use a serrated knife to cut the foam. It’s OK if the sides don’t look even because it will be covered with padding.

Place the foam on the padding, and the plywood on top.

How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
Cotton Upholstery Batting Product Guide

Leave enough padding so it can be wrapped around to the back of the plywood.

Cut off any extra.

How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman

Start by stapling in four places on the edges.

Place a staple between two of the staples, then fill in the rest.

How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
Cotton Upholstery Batting Product Guide
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman

Cut off the extra padding.

Lay the décor fabric face down, then place the plywood on top padding side down. Leave enough fabric around the edges to wrap around to the back.

How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman

Staple the fabric to the plywood the same way as the padding. Do your best to create smooth sides, though it won’t be perfect because of the curved shape.

Cut off any extra fabric.

How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman

If you want to make the back look more finished, you can use dust cover fabric. Cut it into a circle, fold under the edges, and staple.

I’m not doing this because you won’t be able to see the back, so I don’t really care what it looks like.

How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman

I’m adding wheels to the bottom so it’ll be easy to move around.

Place the castors where you want on the bottom of the spool. Mark the holes for the screws.

How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman

Drill pilot holes on the marks for each castor, then screw them in place.

How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman

I’ll be wrapping the middle with twine to add another decorative element.

Use hot glue to secure the end of the twine. Glue in several places the first time the twine is wrapped around.

Continue to wind the twine around the spool (at this point you’ll be glad it’s on wheels!). Wrap the twine until the spool is full.

How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman

When it is finally full, hot glue the end.

Place the upholstered top on the spool so the holes snap over the bolts.

The spool ottoman/coffee table is finished!

How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman

I left this spool unfinished, but you can certainly add a clear finish before adding twine if you want.

How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
How to Make an Upholstered Spool Ottoman
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