I am going to start this post by saying I have very little experience building furniture. I have only built something one other time before (my kitchen banquette) so don’t roll your eyes too hard when you read through this because I did something odd.
The reason I started this project was mainly that I could not find what I liked out there in the right size, color, or price. I was browsing Craigslist for a sofa table to place in my back corner and people were pretty high and mighty with their pricing. So I said “forget that” and started looking for plans to build my own table.
I saw a few plans online that seemed pretty easy to follow, but the plan I followed more closely was the DIY Outdoor Table from Cherished Bliss. Her table was an actual dining table while my table is much smaller and I did not build the legs, so there were some tweaks I made along the way.
How it went down:
First, I took measurements of the space I wanted to place the table. For me, a 56″ long x 24″ wide table was going to look best against the wall I have in mind. Once I had these measurements, I just drew out the plans to figure out how much wood I needed.
My cut list:
For the frame I used 2x4s and actually after I built the frame and started cutting the top pieces, I decided I did not want to use 2x4s for the apron and switched it up to 1x4s. I liked the thinner look of the 1×4. So my cut list above is not entirely accurate because of that change.
3″ wood screws for the frame
Angle Square – your best friend
Clamps – the longer the better, I say
Wood Conditioner – if you stain
Stain or Paint of your choice
Poly – if you stain
Once I collected all of my wood, I started measuring and cutting my 2x4s to build the frame.
Once everything was cut, I needed to start drilling into each piece. I have used a Kreg jig only once before and I did not have the best luck with it. I was a little nervous trying this again. I started with the outer sides first and when I tried to follow the directions KJ came with, it did not work out for me HA! So, I sort of made up my own rules. I placed the KJ where I thought would make sense and drilled. Here I used 3″ wood screws.
When it came time to attach the middle frame, I found the center of my two end pieces, the center of the middle board, and drilled on either side of that line. I repeated the same process to attach the frame to the other side.
Now that the frame was built and my centers were marked, I used my chalk line tool to make a line down the center so I would have a reference point for my top.
Building the top was a lot of trial and error. Like I said, I really have no idea what I am doing most of the time. The easiest way to start this (and I wish I had) is first take your 1×4 and mark it with the angle square to chop that first 45-degree cut. Then when you have that cut, you can line the angle up with the blue line and measure/mark where you need to cut the end.
So here you can see what I mean. If this was a fresh piece, I would have cut that first angle off the front, laid it on the frame, and marked where I needed to cut the end off. To avoid miscuts/measurements (which I experienced), my suggestion is to mark the end of the board on the side and not from the top. That way you are lining up with the actual edge and not eyeballing it.
Once you get the hang of it, you start to fly through your cuts and it turns out not to be as hard as you thought.
After you have cut all your pieces, it is time to glue them down. I know some people use a finishing nail but we do not have a nailgun. Glue and clamps seem to work just as well.
Glue, clamp, and repeat! I laid all the pieces out where they were going to be placed and picked each one up, threw down some glue, and clamped it down for a few minutes. I only have two clamps so I would switch the clamps after the next was glued and clamped.
Once the top was secured into place and dried overnight, I started working on the apron. This is where I decided I really like the look of a 1×4 vs a 2×4. I started with the shorter ends and cut them to size. Again, having a nail gun for this would work and probably be helpful, but I only had the help of wood glue. Since I only have two clamps, this part took a hot minute to complete. I would (sloppily) glue and attach the short apron to the frame and clamp it. It is best to do this part with the table upside down. I would let it basically dry and do the next side.
The longer apron pieces were measured to include the length of the table plus the width of the smaller apron pieces. That way you won’t see the edges from the front. I attached those the same way as the other aprons.
After the apron was attached it was time to fill in the gaps. I had gaps because I did not follow my own advice until later through the process. And I suck at cutting wood.
I used a wood filler and it filled in perfectly. My plan was to stain this piece, so once the filler dried and she got a good sanding, I put a layer of wood conditioner on it.
Then it dried (which is pretty fast). I then put a layer of Minwax Special Walnut and Weathered Oak (my faves) on one at a time, wiped them off, and let it dry overnight. I ended up doing it one more time with both colors.
I went back through to see what gaps still needed to be filled and schlepped some wood filler in there. I only had to touch those parts up with a little Special Walnut.
I ended up using two coats of poly and letting it dry for a full 24 hours inside the house before touching it again.
For the legs, I decided to pass on building my own and ordered these Hairpin legs from Amazon.
They were incredibly easy to install and all you have to do is follow the simple instructions.
The legs feel pretty heavy duty and sturdy!
Now I am working on trying to style this space and maybe add some ottomans under the table for more seating options. (The items you see below are NOT the final product).