Inside: Make these DIY end tables to add style and character to your space. It works well with many design styles such as farmhouse, coastal and rustic.
Add some style to your living room with these DIY end tables. You can make two end tables for around $50 (cost of wood).
*This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy. *Before you get started make sure you have your Safety Gear. For this project, I recommend safety goggles, ear protection and a P100 mask.
If you would like to build a whole living room set of matching tables, you can build these DIY end tables (this post), DIY coffee table and DIY console table for $150 (cost of wood).
This tutorial is for building two end tables.
TOOLS FOR DIY END TABLES
- Tape measure
- Miter saw – I use this miter saw
- Table saw or circular saw
- Drill – I use this drill
- Kreg Jeg – I have the K5
- Sander – I use this orbital sander with 150 grit sandpaper
- 18G Brad nailer – I use this 18G brad nailer
SUPPLIES FOR DIY END TABLES
- 4 – 2 x 4 x 8 (rip cut down to 1 1/2 inch wide) or 7 – 2 x 2 x 8
- 1 sheet of 48 x 96 x 3/4 inch sanded plywood (you will use less than a half sheet)
- 3 – 1 x 3 x 8
- 64 – 2 1/2 inch pocket hole screws
- 28 – 1 1/4 inch pocket hole screws
- Wood glue
- Wood filler
- Wood stain – I used Varathane Sun Bleached and Minwax Early American
- Glaze (optional)
- Black and white latex paint (optional)
- Sealer – I used Varathane Triple Thick Poly
- Felt pads (optional)
CUTS FOR DIY END TABLES
*My end tables measure app. 24L x 18W x 24T inches. Adjust your measurements according to your sizing preference. Due to variances in thickness of wood, errors in measurements and cuts, I recommend cutting your pieces as you progress through the build. Remember always measure twice, cut once.
- 8 – 2 x 2s cut 18 inches for long sides of base
- 8 – 2 x 2s cut 12 inches for short sides of base
- 8 – 2 x 2s cut 22 1/2 inches for legs
- 4 – 2 x 2s cut 24 inches with a 45 degree miter cut for long sides of top frame
- 4 – 2 x 2s cut 18 inches with a 45 degree miter cut for short sides of top frame
- 2 – 3/4 inch plywood cut 21 x 15 inches for tabletop
- 2 – 3/4 inch plywood cut 18 x 12 inches bottom shelf
- 18 – 1 x 3s cut at 15 inches (a few of these will need to be ripped cut to fit)
*Optional – I added a 22.5 degree bevel cut taper to the bottom of all of the legs. This adds a nice customized touch to the legs.
STEPS TO BUILD DIY END TABLES
Step 1) Start out by building the base. Drill 1 1/2 inch pocket holes on the ends of both the long and short sides of the base.
Attach the sides to the legs using wood glue and 2 1/2 inch pocket hole screws. I attached each long side to the legs first then the short sides. *Tip I think it would be easier to attach the short sides first and then attach the long sides as it was difficult to get my drill and the long bit in the smaller space. It’s helpful to use clamps to clamp the pieces together while you insert the pocket holes or your joint can become misaligned. I used a piece of scrap wood under the bottom part of the base to create a 2-inch clearance for the legs. Repeat this step for the second end table.
Attach the two sides of the base together using the 12-inch wood cuts (short sides of base).
Step 2) Mark and drill pocket holes for the bottom shelves. I marked my pocked holes two inches from the ends and about 6-8 inches apart going lengthwise and along the width of the board.
I used a 5/8 inch pocket hole as I found out that the screw poked through the 2 x 2 using a 3/4 inch pocket hole. I recommend doing a practice test on the boards to find the best pocket hole depth. Attach the bottom shelf to the bottom 2 x 2 frame using 1 1/4 inch pocket hole screws.
Step 3) Attach the plywood tabletop using wood glue and 1 1/4 inch 18G brad nails.
Step 4) Cut and attach the tabletop frame. Apply wood glue to the edge of the tabletop plywood and nail the 2 x 2 frame to the plywood using 2 inch 18G brad nails. Make sure to run the nails along the bottom 3/4 inches of the 2 x 2 so the nails go in the plywood and not above it. It helps to hold a scrap 1 by board (3/4 inch thick board) up to the frame to keep it flush as you nail all four sides of the frame. I also clamped a piece of wood under the frame to help hold it in place and to help with cuts and alignment with all four sides. Repeat this for all four sides and for the second end table.
Step 5) Cut and add your top pieces. I was able to fit 9 pieces on each tabletop, but I had to rip cut a couple to make them all fit. I started in the center and worked my way out. When I got to either end I ripped cut each end piece to make it fit. Dry fit all your pieces to test them out. Then glue and attach the top pieces to the top plywood piece.
Step 6) Apply wood filler and sand the end tables. I applied wood filler to all the nail holes and to small gaps between the top slat pieces. I sanded using 150 grit sandpaper.
Step 7) Apply stain. I layered two different stain colors, Varathane Sun Bleached and Minwax Early American to get a light grayish/brownish tone.
Then I mixed 4:1 glaze to black latex paint and dry brushed it. I repeated this with a 4:1 glaze to white latex paint and dry brushed it on as well. This added a worn, layered look.
Step 8) Apply a sealer. I used a triple-thick poly and applied a couple of coats. I also added felt pads to the bottom of all the legs to protect the floors.
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