Thursday, September 2, 2021

DIY Cable Spool Cat Scratching Post


DIY Cable Spool Cat Scratching Post
Stenciled Cable Spool

I'm that person who can't pass up an abandoned cable spool.  When I saw this little spool, I knew it wanted to go home with me.  So, I adopted it, spiffed it up, and gave it a new life.  Here's how to turn a cable spool into a cat scratching post or mini table for your porch or patio.  

recycled cable spool
Recycled Cable Spool

Step 1: Pick up a small spool anywhere wires or cables are used or sold.  I found this one at a big box home improvement store.

cable spool taken apart for refinishing
Spool Parts Ready for Prepping

Step 2: Separate the parts in preparation for sanding, painting, and finishing the wood.  All I had to do was unscrew the top bolts to release the three sections.

sanding a cable spool
Sanding the Spool

Step 3: Sand the spool's top and bottom wood sections.

Step 4: Decide how you want to treat the wood.  I chose to lightly torch the wood to accent the grain and give it nice warm tones without stain.

wood sealant
Sealing the Wood - Spar Urethane

Step 5: Seal the wood and cardboard spool parts with an indoor/outdoor Spar Urethane.  I used a spray application to make it quick and easy (and fast-drying).  

medallion stencil
Boho Medallion Stencil

Step 6: Decorate the spool top if desired.  I happened to have the perfect sized stencil (Boho Medallion) on hand for another project.  I chose to use a charcoal colored chalk spray paint that was a lovely balance to the natural wood (and a match with the metal spool bolts).  

sisal rope wrapped around a cable spool
Sisal Rope Wound Around Spool

Step 7: Reassemble the spool.  Wrap sisal rope around the cylinder.  It took a little bit more than 50-feet of 3/8" sisal.  

completed DIY Cable Spool Cat Scratching Post
Recycled Cable Spool (After)

This was a really enjoyable DIY project.  Though I imagine using this recycled spool as a scratching post for my rescue cats, I can also see using it as a small end table on my porch.  I'm picturing it as a coffee table situated next to my Adirondack chair, or as a sweet little piece of furniture for the catio I'm building.

Who says it has to have only one use?  How do you envision it?  I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Love the cat scratching post idea, but your end result is so pretty it really should be on display. Although.... who says your darling cats don't deserve something pretty as well as practical. :)

  2. Well, my darling cats do like nice things. They tend to use my leather sofa as their current scratching post. I'm perhaps a little late in having provided them with a viable alternative. You live and learn.

  3. Your kitties are blessed with a wonderful mommy for sure! What a gorgeous cat scratching end table. I knew the minute I saw the picture that I would use it as an end table too. After all, my grandkitties think every end table is a cat scratching post regardless. I'm sure you have the most fabulous catio anywhere. I love all of you diy cat furniture, but this may be my favorite yet, simply because I could use it too. Absolutely beautiful Diana!

    1. Thank you! I do try to give my beautiful fur babies gifts of hand and heart. To a feline, all of the world looks like a scratching post. I guess they are just doing what they are hardwired to do. I need to be a bit smarter in providing them more attractive options than my furniture and stair posts.

  4. Big fan of cable spools since college days when I had several in different sizes for tables. This one is beautiful and I love that your cat gets to scratch it!

    1. We are very simpatico in our tastes it seems. Hard not to love a good cable spool.

  5. This does look like a fun DIY project. You are very talented and inventive! Love it as a cat scratching post and I am sure your cats really enjoy it, they are well looked after :) I could certainly see it as a small table as it is very beautiful.

    1. Thanks! My cats are so worth it. They make a house a home.

  6. I’m embarrassed to admit that I never knew there was such a think as a cable spool! I love how you were inspired to transform this simple, utilitarian, pedestrian item into something with an elegant yet rustic/BoHo-chic aesthetic and a much more valuable purpose!

    1. Well I'm glad, then, to have introduced you to cable spools. Lots of people have quite a thing for them (typically as patio tables). When I purchased my country property here, there was a large cable spool being used as an outdoor work station (even hooked up with an electrical outlet). It's still in use for woodworking projects. Rustication... who knew how popular this style would become?

  7. Diana, your artistic side is coming through loud and clear. This is a beautiful project and I know even I could do something like this. I love the stenciling that you chose. This is a really nice accent piece and I'm sure the cats will love it too! Nicely done!

    1. Thank you. I know you could very easily do this (or anything you set your mind to do). Go for it!

  8. So creative! What a beautiful job you did with that. I love it as a cat stool, but as you said, what a lovely end-table, especially on a front porch or patio, or a room where rustic decor is the theme. Love this idea.

    1. Especially good for a rustic mountain cabin setting like mine (or a funky boho cottage).


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