How to DIY a Stylish Modern Round Coffee Table on a Budget! 

I’ve been eyeing a designer fluted coffee table for quite some time, but I just couldn’t handle the price tag of buying one retail. I mean, does anyone want to pay those designer prices? When I came across a giant electrical spool, I knew right away it was the perfect starting point for my own DIY version!

It’s not always easy to build a coffee table, but it can be so rewarding when you take the time to create something beautiful. Whether you’re a DIY beginner or a more experienced builder, this project is sure to give you a sense of accomplishment and pride. Plus, who doesn’t love the satisfaction of having a one-of-a-kind piece of new furniture in their home? And the best part is that I used glue to put it all together, so it’s a really simple project!

Come check out this easy way I found to turn someone else’s trash into the perfect coffee table. I’m proud of this stylish modern round coffee table, and I know you can do it too!

a modern look DIY coffee table in a living room

How do I get free wooden spools?

In my case, I found the wooden spool I used for this beautiful coffee table for free out of someone’s trash pile! You know what they say: one person’s trash is another person’s perfect DIY! I was SO excited about it. You could contact your local electrical companies and contractors or search online on places like Facebook Marketplace or Offerup. I have actually seen a few listings for them recently on Marketplace! You could also stop by a job site where you see they are running cable and ask what they do with their spools. They might give them to you on the spot just to get rid of them!

Now that you know you need one to fulfill your own DIY coffee table dreams, keep your eyes open. You never know what you can find by being brave and asking around. You might even be able to find one at a thrift store that specializes in reusing and recycling old items. Good luck with your search!

What can I make with a wooden spool?

Spools can be used inside or outside your home as side tables, chairs, or even a bookcase. The possibilities for making them into custom pieces of furniture are endless! I think a spool’s shape and size make it a perfect candidate for a DIY coffee table, but I know I am biased. Pinterest has so many ideas for cool things you can make, so check them out if you need more ideas than this gorgeous fluted table I am about to show you! 

With a smaller spool, I made this DIY fluted side table. I wanted it to be similar to the coffee table I made but not identical.

DIY fluted side table

Is it Easy to Build a DIY Coffee Table?

This homemade coffee table was pretty easy. Because I had a good base to start from, I didn’t have to build the bones of my furniture, I just had to add pieces to change the look of it. So that is something to consider when choosing from all the different ways there are to DIY furniture: from scratch is always a bit trickier. Let me tell you how I did mine, starting with a tools list and what materials I used.  

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Materials to Build a DIY Coffee Table
Tools Required

Step 1: Get the spool ready

The first step I had to do was remove the bolts that were holding the spool together so that it would sit flat on the floor when it was finished. Once I removed the bolts, the whole thing came apart, which was good because I had to cut down the inside boards to adjust the height. Out came the power tools! I cut the boards down with my miter saw. Once I had the inside boards out and cut to the height I wanted, the spool needed to be put back together.

One more thing I would do here before you begin assembly: add some chair slides to the bottom piece. Then you can move it easily without wrecking your flooring! I forgot to do this until my table was almost fully assembled and it was heavy and difficult. Please learn from my mistake and do this now.

Step 2: Put it back together 

preparing the electrical spool for the DIY coffee table

To put the spool back together, I used my trusty Loctite Power Grab Ultimate Crystal Clear Construction Adhesive to glue the boards into their grooves (you could also use wood glue for this). I couldn’t put the bolts back in because I wanted the bottom to be totally flat, not wobbly! With Loctite I know it will stand the test of time. This adhesive dries crystal clear and has a zero-second grab, so no need for any bracing or nails! It really is my favorite. I glued the boards in and then the top on too! I did put painter’s tape around the top of the boards while I put the top back on, just to make sure they stayed in a perfect circle while I lifted the heavy top onto it. Now my table was the right height, sturdy, and ready to be modernized. 

Step 3: Add the half round pieces

My plan for turning this into a modern-looking DIY coffee table that any designer living room would be proud of involved hiding the fact that it was a spool at all! I did this by adding pieces of half round trim all the way around the outside edge. You can find these at your local hardware store. They came in 8ft pieces that I cut to size.

If you’re wondering if this step was tedious, it was! I needed to cut so many of these half rounds to size. I used the miter saw again, and I made a stop block to make sure that each piece of trim was the same size. This technique is a great way to measure without actually using a measuring tape on each piece and to avoid the half rounds being slightly different lengths. Cutting all the pieces you need for your cut list at the same time is the way to go.

Then, I put all my newly cut rounds onto the table! I used just the Loctite Power Grab. The reason I felt comfortable using just this glue and no clamps is its zero-second instant grab. It is designed just for projects like this! I made a line of glue along the top and bottom of the table and put the rounds on, one at a time. 

adding a half round trim to a DIY coffee table

For the boards that weren’t quite straight, I used my pin nailer for the top and bottom to really make them stay. If you run into this issue, make sure you straighten those boards out or it will throw off the whole pattern! A pin nail here and there is still a pretty straightforward installation. That’s exactly 176 half rounds attached in total, by the way! The last one fit perfectly, I didn’t have to cut it at all. Phew. 

Step 4: Add the top

Once I had all the half rounds attached it was time to add the plywood coffee table top. I stepped out of my comfort zone and used my router for the first time to make it! I used it with a circle jig to get a perfectly round shape. And you know what? It really wasn’t that hard! Conquering this fear was the most exciting part of this whole project for me. I learned that it’s a good idea to move the router in one direction only and not back and forth, to prevent kickback. 

Once the top was cut, I used my orbital sander with 120 grit sandpaper, then ran over it again with 220 grit to smooth and finish it.

Plywood is added to the top of the coffee table

I added edgebanding to the plywood top to cover up its unfinished raw edges. If you haven’t heard me talk about edgebanding before, you’re going to now! It’s a really thin strip of wood with dry wood glue on the back. You just iron it on and the heated wood glue sticks to the surface of your project piece! When it was all applied I then used a trimmer to smooth out the edgebanding along the top and bottom edges of the plywood. Then I gave it a light sand by hand, just to make sure everything was smooth. 

Once that was all finished it was time to secure the top of the table using my favorite Loctite adhesive once again. No wood screws, no nails…just the adhesive. Isn’t that amazing?

How do I make my DIY coffee table look modern?

The stain you use will help to make your coffee table look more modern. I put some wood conditioner on first, and then stained the entire table including the half rounds and top plywood piece using a combination of Weathered Oak and Early American (the same stain colors I used on my mantel), and then I added a sealer on top of the table and on the base of the table. 

What you put on your newly stained table makes a difference too! Find the perfect mix of accessories to give your coffee table a really modern vibe. Use stylish coasters and modern centerpieces that are sure to give your coffee table a fresh and contemporary look.

I couldn’t be happier with my results! Can you believe I took this old wooden spool and created a brand new designer modern coffee table dupe? The best thing is that I was able to keep this out of the landfill and give it a second chance. And it was such an easy build and and it looks great with the fireplace surround and mantel we built in our living room. It’s big enough to play board games on and serve food on too! It’s so satisfying to make your own functional and beautiful furniture.

Don’t forget to check out more Loctite products for your next home improvement or restoration project!  

What do you think of the final look? Let me know in the comments or tag me @designingparkside with your before and after DIY coffee table ideas!

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