9 Things to Know About Using Pole-Wrap for Home Hacks, DIYs, and More

updated Jan 31, 2024
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Everything You Need to Know About 2022's Trendiest DIY Material: Pole Wrap
Credit: Photo: Home Depot; Design: Apartment Therapy

Furniture with luxe-looking architectural details is rising in popularity these days, as you’ve probably noticed if you’ve done any recent shopping for home decor. That detail can include everything from curved shapes to textured doors and drawers — but one particular favorite fancy-looking architectural touch is fluted wood. And while that sounds awfully fancy, intrepid DIYers have discovered that it’s actually pretty easy to add fluted wood details to furniture using Pole-Wrap.

Pole-Wrap, a fluted wood sheet traditionally used to decorate (what else?) poles, has become a favorite ingredient for DIYers who are looking to flip a piece of furniture or do a small home upgrade. The texture it provides can make Pole-Wrap suit a range of styles, form mid-century to cottage and virtually everything in between.

If you’re feeling pole-wrap curious, here’s everything you need to know about using this cool material for your next DIY.

What is Pole-Wrap?

Pole-Wrap was invented by Laurie Coleman, founder and co-owner of Pole-Wrap, Inc., in 1994, but it’s become a common catchall term among DIYers for sheets of fluted wood column covers, much like Kleenex and X-acto are almost synonymous with tissues and utility knives.

The material itself is preceded by its close cousin tambour, which you might recognize from the 1970s and ’80s. (Hello, roll-top desks and kitchen appliance garages!)

The difference between tambour and column covers like Pole-Wrap? The former looks like half-dowels placed next to one another on a sheet, and the latter is completely flat. “We found that a lower-profile slat was more attractive and pleasing to the eye,” Coleman says.

Coleman invented Pole-Wrap, as the name suggests, to cover an unsightly support pole in her basement. “We didn’t want a big box around the pole as it takes up too much space,” she says. “We went in in search of a decorative wood material that would be flexible and wrap around the pole.”

Credit: Petra Ford

What Is Pole-Wrap Used for?

Because of its flexibility, Pole-Wrap has a newfound fame for wrapping around tables, drawers, table legs, and more. “It’s such a great material and is very versatile,” YouTube DIYer Katie Bookser says. “I’ve used it for table legs, door fronts, vases — the possibilities are endless.”

In fact, Apartment Therapy has posted 12 Pole-Wrap projects this year, and the material was used to transform everything from backsplashes to bathroom vanities to beat-up furniture. It’s no surprise, then, that Lowe’s has seen column wraps gain popularity this year, as confirmed by store spokesperson Stephanie Moody.

Why DIY with Pole-Wrap?

As indicated above, Pole-Wrap is flexible — both literally and figuratively. It can bend, it covers lots of surfaces easily, and, Coleman adds, its veneer readily soaks up stain, and it’s moisture-resistant.

Where to Buy Pole-Wrap

You can buy Pole-Wrap and other column covers at most major home improvement stores, like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ace Hardware. It’s priced between $70 and $270, depending on sizing. Bookser and furniture flipper Michelle McRae — a frequent user of Pole-Wrap in her projects — mostly buys it from Home Depot.

“It does tend to come in and out of stock quickly,” Bookser says. Her best advice is to type in your zip code online to check if the material is in stock, then schedule an in-store pickup if it is. McRae says she’s also seen the material available from online re-sale sites like eBay. You might also have luck buying other DIYers’ project leftovers on sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

How Big is Pole-Wrap?

The trademarked Pole-Wrap brand comes in sizes of 12 x 96, 16 x 96, 12 x 48, 16 x 48, and 48 x 48 inches. You can find iterations similar to the medium sheets on Amazon, too, and a similar tiny $20 version from IKEA.

“It is a bit pricey, but I also find that depending on the size of my project, I can get multiple uses out of one roll,” Bookser says. “That makes it feel more economic to me.”

What Colors Does Pole-Wrap Come in?

As of now, Pole-Wrap-brand column covers come in the blonde-ish MDF offering and three other wood-toned offerings (maple, cherry, and oak), but that doesn’t mean you can’t paint the MDF a more out-of-the-box color! While there are many great projects that leave the wrap au natural or use a simple stain, we’ve also seen some navy, black, teal, and purple painted pole wrap projects.

(There might be a future that includes pre-colored Pole-Wrap, too. “At this point the available sizes and wood type seem to satisfy most market demand,” Coleman says. “But, we monitor consumer feedback regularly, and carefully consider new products to satisfy new consumer preferences.”)

Credit: Michelle McRae
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How to Paint Pole-Wrap Column Covers

Speaking of painting the material, Bookser and McRae have some tips. Bookser likes to use a hand brush to make sure paint seeps in between each strip of wood. “Just a simple sponge brush works well for this; you don’t need anything fancy,” she says.

McRae likes to use a paint sprayer for an even coat. But both DIYers recommend a light sanding and a wipe-off with a lint-free cloth before painting, especially if your wrap arrives, and it feels a bit rough or fuzzy to the touch.

If you’re putting the column cover up against a wall or flat surface that’s also painted, “spray it with some poly and it will darken a shade and give you a beautiful contrast,” McRae adds.

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Read the full story on this project here: A Basic Brown Vanity Becomes a Textured Teal Beauty for $85

How to Cut Pole-Wrap Column Covers

Because of the vertical slats, cutting the column wrap vertically is fairly easy, Bookser and McRae say. If you’re cutting between seams, a utility knife should do the trick, and it’s best to cut from the back of the sheet, McRae says. The only tricky parts are cutting horizontally or cutting an actual slat in half, both of which are sometimes necessary depending on your project specs.

“The easiest way that I’ve found to cut pole wrap is to use a compound miter saw,” Bookser says. “It cuts it quickly and cleanly. Always be extremely careful cutting anything, regardless of the tool that you use. Wear gloves to protect your hands, and wear protective eyewear as well.”