Four DIY Coffee Tables

Follow these instructions to craft a coffee table that reflects both your style and your do-it-yourself ingenuity.


Ready-made gingerbread from a home improvement store gives this table its cottage flavor. If this look fits you, follow our step-by-step instructions to turn an unfinished wood coffee table into a gorgeous living room anchor.

What You Need

  • Unfinished wood coffee table
  • Beaded board (about 44 x 18 inches; see instructions)
  • Cap molding
  • 4 wood brackets
  • Wood adhesive
  • Clamps
  • Wood putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Satin-finish latex paint
  • Polyurethane sealer
  • 4 glass knobs
  • Drill

Instructions

  1. Protect your work surface with newspapers or a drop cloth.
  2. Measure your tabletop and have a home improvement store cut beaded board to fit the tabletop (our tabletop is 44 x 18 inches). Have them cut and miter the corners of cap molding to fit around the tabletop to frame the beaded board.
  3. Measure the opening from below the drawers to the top of the shelf. Purchase decorative wood brackets (from your hardware store's molding aisle or a hardware catalog) to fit. Our opening is 7 1/2 inches and we found our brackets at www.vandyks.com.
  4. Coat the backside of the beaded board with wood adhesive and adhere it to the tabletop following the adhesive manufacturer's directions.
  5. Repeat with the cap molding, matching up the mitered corners. Clamp in place until dry.
  6. Use wood adhesive to adhere decorative brackets in place, clamping until dry.
  7. Remove clamps.
  8. Remove drawers from table and remove original drawer knobs.
  9. Fill the knob holes with wood putty. Use low-grit sandpaper to sand smooth, then wipe clean with a tack cloth.
  10. Drill new holes in each drawer to accommodate two knobs (we drilled 3 inches in from the sides of each drawer).
  11. Use low-grit sandpaper to sand all surfaces, wiping clean with a tack cloth.
  12. Prime table and drawers (still removed from table) and let dry.
  13. Paint table and drawers (still removed from table) using satin-finish latex paint (we used Sherwin-Williams SW7004 Snowbound) and let dry.
  14. Install two reproduction glass knobs in each drawer and replace drawers into table.

Tips

Consider painting the decorative brackets before adhering them to the table since that might make it easier to coat the small openings and curves with paint. For the best-looking finish, use a wood conditioner before priming and painting unfinished furniture. If staining, top with clear polyurethane.

If you've got a taste for traditional and want to update your living room, follow our step-by-step instructions for stenciled style.

What You Need

  • Unfinished wood coffee table
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Satin-finish latex paint (We used Sherwin-Williams SW6096 Jute Brown)
  • Stencil (We used Designer Stencils' #1807 Ribbon Lattice)
  • Metallic gold crafts paint (We used Plaid Folk Art Metallic #660 Pure Gold)
  • Stencil adhesive
  • Stencil brush
  • Low-tack painter's tape
  • 2 antique brass drawer knobs and back plates

Instructions

  1. Sand and prime the unfinished wood coffee table, then paint it brown.
  2. Spray back of a lattice-pattern stencil with adhesive and place it on the table. Use a stencil brush to apply a thin, slightly irregular coat of gold paint through the stencil and onto the table.
  3. Reposition the stencil as needed to paint the entire tabletop.
  4. When paint is dry, measure and mask off a thin border around the lattice using painter's tape, mitering the corners. Also mask off the table edges and drawer fronts. Paint the masked-off areas gold.
  5. Use painter's tape to mask a border around the pattern, mitering the corners. Mask table edges and drawer fronts.
  6. Paint the masked-off areas gold. Install brass hardware.

Tip

Use low-tack painter's tape for delicate surfaces for the best results.

This country-style table is both pretty and practical thanks to a clutter-concealing skirt attached with hook-and-loop tape. To get this weathered look, follow our step-by-step instructions.

What You Need

  • Unfinished wood coffee table
  • Satin-finish latex paint (we used Sherwin Williams 6321 Red Bay and 6221 Moody Blue)
  • Light-color candle
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • 1 yard of 54-inch-wide fabric (cut into four panels, two 48 x 6 inches and two 21 x 16 inches)
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Adhesive-backed hook-and-loop tape

Instructions

  1. Protect your work surface with newspapers or a drop cloth.
  2. Remove drawers from table.
  3. For the distressed finish, paint the table using a red latex paint (we used Sherwin-Williams SW6321 Red Bay) and let dry. Wax all edges and flat surfaces with a candle. The wax will allow to next coat of paint to be sanded off more easily. Paint the table using a blue satin latex paint (we used Sherwin-Williams SW6221 Moody blue) and let dry.
  4. Sand desired areas with an 80- to 100-grit sanding block or sand paper to allow red hue to show through. Pay special attention to the edges where normal wear would happen. Sand more, or less -- the choice is yours! Wipe clean with a tack cloth.
  5. If desired, seal the table with two or three coats of a clear, non-yellowing, water-based acrylic.
  6. To make the skirt panels, cut two 10-1/2-x-54-inch and two 10-1/2-x-22-inch pieces of decorator fabric.
  7. Hem all sides using 1/2-inch seam allowance.
  8. Using a gathering stitch (the setting with the least number of stitches per inch on your sewing machine), sew two rows of gathering about 1/4 inch apart at the top of each panel.
  9. Pull threads to gather to fit each opening on the table.
  10. Purchase hook-and-loop tape with one soft sewable side and one adhesive side.
  11. Sew the soft side of the hook-and-loop tape to the top of each panel.
  12. Secure the adhesive side of the hook-and-loop tape to the table just above each opening.
  13. Attach all panels.

Tip

For a finish that's even more distressed, coat the table with a clear sealer before painting the red coat. Use a coarser-grit sandpaper and sand through the red coat to expose the table's wood tone.

Contrasting textures and colors define this modern redo. If sleek and chic is your style, follow our step-by-step instructions to get this stunning piece.

What You Need

  • Unfinished wood coffee table
  • Hacksaw
  • Gel stain (we used Diamond Vogel Old Master's Spanish Oak)
  • Polyurethane sealer
  • Grass cloth
  • Spray adhesive
  • Aluminum angle trim
  • Metal adhesive
  • Clamps
  • Metal file
  • Sanding pad
  • Lacquer
  • 4 casters
  • 2 drawer pulls
  • Drill

Instructions

  1. Protect your work surface with newspaper or a drop cloth.
  2. Remove drawers from table and remove original drawer knobs.
  3. Measure new drawer pulls and drill new holes in each drawer to accommodate them. Turn the table over on a clean working surface.
  4. Use a hacksaw to saw off bottoms of legs at the taper.
  5. Measure the diameter and length of your threaded caster post and pre-drill holes into the bottom of each leg to accommodate the casters.
  6. Install casters.
  7. Turn the table right side up.
  8. Use painter's tape to mask off casters.
  9. Wipe the table and drawers (still removed from the table) clean with a tack cloth.
  10. Use a clean, soft cloth and follow manufacturer's directions to coat the table and drawers (still removed from the table) with gel stain (we used Diamond Vogel Old Master's Spanish Oak) and let dry. There's no need to stain the tabletop since you'll be covering it with grass cloth later.
  11. If desired, repeat staining step like we did to achieve a deeper color and let dry.
  12. Seal table with a coat of polyurethane and let dry.
  13. Remove painter's tape.
  14. Cut grass cloth to fit the tabletop and drawer fronts.
  15. Secure grass cloth to tabletop and drawer fronts using adhesive spray according to manufacturer's directions for a permanent bond.
  16. Locate the drawer pull holes and use a crafts knife to puncture through the front side of the grass cloth.
  17. Install the new pulls.
  18. Measure your tabletop (ours is 44 x 18 inches) and have a home improvement store cut and miter the corners of 1-x-1-inch aluminum angle to fit around the tabletop perimeter.
  19. Follow manufacturer's directions to attach the aluminum angle around the tabletop using metal adhesive and taking care to match up the corners.
  20. Clamp until dry.
  21. Use a metal file to file the corners of the aluminum angle until they are not sharp.
  22. Use a 3M sanding pad to sand all lengths of aluminum angle to achieve a brushed finish.
  23. Wipe clean with a damp cloth and let dry.
  24. Use painter's tape and plastic sheeting to mask off tabletop and lower portion of table, leaving only the aluminum angle exposed.
  25. To protect brushed finish and diminish fingerprints, coat aluminum angle with a clear lacquer according to manufacturer's directions and let dry.
  26. Insert drawers.

Tip

When filing and sanding the aluminum angle, tiny bits of metal will scatter. Be sure to work on a protected surface and take care when cleaning up.

Resources for Table

Resources: Unfinished wood coffee table 683W Seneca Coffee Table from Whittier Wood, www.whittierwood.com. Backplates and pulls Van Dyke's Restorers.

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