Use this step-by-step tutorial to build an over-the-arm caddy to store electronics or magazines in lieu of a side table.

August 24, 2015

Don't waste precious space on a bulky side table. Instead, stash belongings in this cute couch caddy. It's perfect for apartments, dorm rooms, or tiny living spaces. To make the caddy, cut plywood to size, assemble, and seal with clear coat. It's a super simple process.

We chose a classic, clean wood look for our caddy, but feel free to embellish yours however you'd like. Washi tape, paint, decorative trim, and other craft supplies will help customize the caddy to your tastes and decorating style.  

What You Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 3⁄4-inch-thick plywood
  • Table saw
  • Router
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps
  • Clear polyurethane

Step 1: Measure and Plan

Measure the arm of the sofa or couch you plan to use with the caddy. Use the length measurement to determine the length of your caddy—we made ours several inches shorter than the actual length of the arm. Then, use the width measurement to determine the width of your caddy. You want a caddy width that's slightly larger than that of the arm, but not so wide that the caddy falls off.

Step 2: Cut Wood to Size

Cut plywood based on the measurements you determined in step one. All of the pieces will have the same length, but different widths. Make sure you use your measured width when cutting the top of the caddy, piece C.

For reference, these are the sizes we cut our caddy: 

  • 10 3⁄4 × 18 inches (A, the main section of the caddy)
  • 4 × 18 inches (B, the lip of the caddy)
  • 8 × 18 inches (C, the top of the caddy)
  • 4 3⁄4 × 18 inches (D, the fold of the caddy)
  • 1 1⁄2 × 18 inches (E, the bottom of the caddy)

Step 3: Route Pieces Together

Route 1⁄4 inch out of pieces A, B, and D to create joints where each piece joins to the next. Glue all pieces together, and clamp until dry.

Step 4: Apply Clear Coat

Once caddy is dry, brush on a clear coat of polyurethane. Let dry. Then embellish caddy as desired.


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