DIY Cable Spool Art

Leanna Forsythe
by Leanna Forsythe
2 Materials
4 Hours
Create your own back yard artwork using a recycled wool spool. Paint a fun Grillin and Chillin title and place near your barbeque.


The wood spool is held together with large bolts.  They can be a bit of a challenge to take off, but ours came off with some effort and a couple of wrenches.  Once you remove the bolts the two round ends slide off.
As the sign is for outdoors I used exterior paint.  You can buy exterior paint in sample sizes at Lowe’s.  The sample size gives you more than enough paint for this little project.

Give the spool a rough sanding to remove any splinters or icky substances that maybe on it.  Then give it a wash.  Let it dry well before applying paint.

Apply two coats of background paint in whatever colour you like.  Make sure to paint in the wholes left in the middle.   Let the paint dry well between coats, according to the instructions on the can.


This stencil was made with a Silhouette.  Grillin font is Monotype Corsica font size 600.  The & sign is Bromtello font size 600.  The Chillin, Cafe is Arial Unicode MS size 500.  Of course you don’t need a Silhouette for this, but that is the method I used.
To place the stencils at the correct angle, hang the painted spool  to the fence or wall first. The spools are very heavy so make sure you attach them securely.  For this spool we used  fenced staples for the back of the sign and large screw eyes on the privacy wall supports.  Stainless steel wire was used to suspend the sign.
Place the stencil pieces onto the sign and start to pencil them in lightly.  Starting with the word Grillin,  mark the outline of the G and the N.  Remove the stencil and make sure it is placed like you want.  Adjust the stencil placement if needed, re-pencil in the letters and erase any excess  pencil marks.

As the Chillin and Cafe stencils are curved, place the word Chillin where you like and fold it over the edge to mark the distance from the edge.  Take the the stencil for Cafe and put the C from cafe over the C in chillin and mark the folded end.  Slide the cafe stencil over to the other side of the circle.  Use the folder edge to guide the placement and outline the letters with a pencil.
Painting the letters in is very easy.  For the first coat use a very small artist.  Make the edges of the letters as neatly as possible.  For the second coat use a larger artist brush; fill in the letters in the same direction as you would if you were painting the letters freehand. 
Please stop by my blog for lots more details and other projects. Hope to see you there.

Suggested materials:
  • Wooden Spool   (Recycle Yard)
  • Exterior Paint Sample Sizes   (Lowes)
Leanna Forsythe
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
Join the conversation