before and after

before and after: spool gold

by Grace Bonney

i’m a big fan of re-using leftover industrial materials in any way possible so i’m loving this fantastic before and after from jess at it’s a mad mission. after finding a massive cable spool in a sidewalk trash heap, jess rolled her found spool through her brooklyn neighborhood to a safe crafting location where she pulled out any dangerous bits (like sharp metal staples), cut two layers of egg crate to fit, and staple gunned new fabric on top to create a fun new stool. click here for more information and jess’ directions.

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  • You know what ? I have one spool just like this one that’s been sitting in my garage for months : I knew it had potential , I only lacked the inspiration .So MERCI BEAUCOUP for this post , it is simply fantastic ! i’m off to buy paint and fabric…;-)

  • You know, I hate to go it alone here…but I don’t like the stool. Love the idea behind it, but something isn’t quite working for me.

  • I’ve noticed that a lot of your before and afters show reupholstered chairs and I always get the itch to redo a couple of my own chairs. Do most of the submitters do their own reupholstering? And if so, are there any books or sites that offer how-to instructions and tips?

  • Great way to repurpose. The idea is lovely but there is something off in the scale of the stool. Maybe if it was placed between two large cozy lounge chairs or used as a coffee table, it would look more appropriate. Or if the diameter floor base was a bit smaller than the seat diametert? Anyway, it’s still a very nice project.

  • tiffany

    a large portion of the before/after chairs we show are simple staplegun pieces (cut fabric to size, staple, finish!) but some are custom pieces done by professionals or especially crafty readers.

    we’ve posted links to upholstery tutorials a few times but here they are again:






  • Great idea. They’re doing construction at my local library in Jamaica Plain (Boston) and left a few of those spools lying around and I thought, what could I do with that?

  • Now THAT I really love. The best thing is you could fit the spool to the room, no matter the colour pallette. I’ll definitely try this out, thanks for posting it!!

  • This is brilliant, I love it! Some people are so clever, to see beyond what something is to what something could be.

  • When I was little, about 6, my Mom got one of those out of a dumpster and made it into a nice table for me. Since it was free she didn’t care if I drew all over it which made it even better for me!

  • I’m absolutely in love with this idea! We have tons of spools in the warehouse at work, so I’m going to snag one and make a seat for my dressing table.

  • Huh! Clever.
    Funnily enough, we are using such a spool as a “coffee table” in the outside waiting area at my daughter’s kinder. I always liked it for its quirkiness, but now I’ll look at it in a new way again. Thanks!

  • I actually like the spool before too. It would look awesome as a side table in a modern/rustic environment. Or in a pristine white airy space.

  • I made one this weekend! Mine was bigger though so I am using it as a table. Check out my blog for pictures! I loved this idea. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • OMG now that is COOL
    I seen one of those at a flea-market for $2.00 last year NOW I wish I would have bought it ! LOL

  • we made these in the 1960’s & 70’s .
    we got them free then – our rug was a patchwork of rug samples duct taped together from underneath ,
    our media center was concrete blocks and boards .