I made a table…for under $30. Let me start off by saying this table is not perfect (at all), if you walk by it and sneeze it may or may not collapse, I swore a lot making this table, my fingers might be permanently stained gray, I saw a giant (probably poisonous) spider in my “she shed” while making this table, I had to take this table apart and start over (twice), I swore a lot making this table (oh, I said that already?) but I can finally cross this off my home bucket list. This is the first table I have ever made and surprisingly it might not be my last.
It’s not that this was hard to make, I really think even a true beginner can make this, but I was trying to get by with the wrong materials and that just added so much frustration and time. There are a lot of tutorials out there telling you how to make a table but this post will be about how to NOT make a table.
If you are interested in doing something like this keep reading but if you are a perfectionist (which I am not) feel free to keep reading for the laughs only.
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- 6-36″ deck spindles
- 6-36″ deck posts
- 6 ft shelf from the closet aisle
- The best marble contact paper
- At least 2 inch screws
- Stain of your choice, I used this (can also be found at any hardware store)
- Wood glue if you want extra support
- Kreg Pocket Hole System (optional)
I semi followed this tutorial from Jenna Sue (doesn’t she have such a pretty first name-ha!). She used 2×2 furring strips, I used deck posts and spindles. Who knew the deck aisle had what I was looking for?! The posts were $.87 each and the spindles were $1.77 each. Tip 1-make sure to go down every aisle at Home Depot. I wanted my legs to have more of a design to them than the furring strips would give me.
Here was my first mistake. I didn’t examine each spindle before I bought them. After I got them home I realized two of the spindles were warped. That didn’t stop me. I tried making this table with warped legs anyways-bad idea. It’s hard to see in this picture but 2 of those spindles weren’t going to be featured in the final product
I started out by making the “leg boxes” with wood glue and screws. This would have been easier if I owned a Kreg Pocket Hole System but I don’t so I drilled these screw in from the sides. This was the beginning of mistake 2 AND 3. I really did a doozy on this step. Most people measure, I do not. The spindles are 36″ inches high. I assumed that was the height of a console table. It clearly is not. It wasn’t until AFTER I finished the table that I realized how high I made this table. My 4 year old was able to stand up under it (oopsie). When I was making these giant leg boxes I was using 1 1/2 inch screws. Those were too small and not really getting the job done (literally). Two inch screws at least is what is needed. I took this picture as I was laughing/crying when I realized I made a console table for a giant. (Can you tell my little helper dressed herself that day?)
Once the boxes were made I stained them with Rust-Oluem Weathered Wood Accelerator. I’m not much of a stainer as I kind of stick to paint so I don’t have much to compare this to. I used a foam brush and just brushed the stain on. It literally “aged” in front of my eyes. I made two boxes and then realized I might need another one for the middle of the table. These leg boxes got remade….twice. I replaced the warped spindles, used the right size screw and cut them down to proper non giant console table size but here’s a picture for an idea.
Once I had the leg boxes completed and stained I “made” the top of the table. This table all started because of this marble contact paper I found on Amazon months ago and I was itching to use it on something. Most sane people would have started small with maybe a shelf or the back of a bookcase but I’m not sane and used it on a table that I have never made before. My “tabletop” was actually a shelf from the “make your own closet” section at Home Depot. It was $13 for a 6ft long shelf. I laid the shelf on the ground and started applying the contact paper on the shelf while pulling back the backing. I used this Pampered Chef thingy magiggy to smooth out the air bubbles as I went. I don’t know what this thing is really called or what one does with it since I don’t cook (my Italian card should be revoked) but it works great for wallpapering. A credit card will work too.
Once the paper was applied to the top of the shelf I flipped the shelf over and pretended I was wrapping a very long Christmas present. There are all kinds of ways to do this but this is what I did. It worked just fine for me.
The last step was applying the “base” to the table. I stained my deck posts and cut them to size. If you are doing this exactly as I am the magic number for these pieces is 33.5 inches. I started attaching them to the leg boxes like Jenna Sue did in her tutorial but at the end of the day it was just as easy to bring everything inside and start drilling the pieces to the top of the table. At this point I was just ready for this to be done.
At this exact point I was D.O.N.E! I didn’t fill in any of the gaps with wood filler, my screw heads are exposed and I probably should attach a few posts to the bottom of my table for extra support but like I said I am D.O.N.E! And it’s perfectly fine for me. This isn’t Mr. Table’s forever home or permanent decor. He will eventually go in my hallway but that hallway needs 10 gallons of paint still. I feel bad putting him there until it’s pretty for him.
Here’s my takeaway, measure your space, make sure your wood isn’t warped, get the right size screws, and do not expect perfection if this is your first table you have ever made. And if it falls apart you can easily put it back together again!
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