Cable reel play table

I’m a big fan of skips and the treasures they can hold. I’m always amazed by the things people sometime throw away. 

I’m okay with it if it’s genuine rubbish, beyond repair or just too far gone to rescue, but some things are still in perfect working order or just need a bit of TLC or are crying out to be upcycled.

I also get that people just don’t realise the potential of some things. My fondness for skips has rubbed off on my friends too, I’m sure they all think I’m a tad crazy, but I often get calls, texts and even knocks on the door telling me about skip finds! So far I’ve salvaged chairs, a vintage sideboard, 1930’s doors, pallets and cable reels. My fab friend Jo rescued this cable reel for me last year and I’ve been waiting to find the right use for it ever since.

When I got the opportunity to work on some upcycling for The Nest Cafe near my home in Gateshead I got a little giddy at the prospect. I’ll be posting about the whole project soon but just wanted to show one of my favourite things I created for it to whet your appetite.


A fairly standard cable reel, it does have a solid wooden centre piece though, some of them just have cardboard so make sure you check the condition before you do any skip rescuing!

I sanded it all down, took away any rough edges as it was going to be used in the toddler play area.

I then painted it in RustOleum chalkboard paint in black so I could create the little city scape easily and make an extra play area for the children to draw on.


The play area itself has a fake grass floor so I used a piece of the off cuts for the top. I used a simple PVA glue as it was what was to hand but you could use floor adhesive or spray glue just to give it a bit of a hold.

I left it over night with some handy heavy objects to make sure it stuck.  An alternative use for a Logik microwave and a snail!

I cut the edges with a Stanley knife, using the wooden top as the template. To make sure it was really toddler proof I used my staple gun round the edges.

It’s actually a really solid table with a good sturdy base, great for adventurous climbing toddlers!

I may need to make more of these.



8 thoughts on “Cable reel play table

  1. I never would have guessed that a cable reel could make the perfect play table for kids. It is a creative idea to line the floor and the table with fake grass. I bet kids love it. I’ll have to find out where I can purchase cable reels.

    1. Thanks for reading! You can find them in salvage yards or often on free sites such as freegle or sometimes local Facebook groups. Do you have the equivalent free sites in Australia?

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