Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DIY - end tables

It all started when I got an itch to rearrange my living room.

I had finally replaced my 8 1/2 year old lamps which no longer could hold their shades, and I decided my just-as-old $10 garage sale end tables needed to go too.  Oh, I still liked the look of the end tables, but it was past time to update.
While browsing online, I came across a tutorial to make your own modern end tables! For only $9 a piece! Sweet!  I was sold.

After coming home from Home Depot with my lumber already cut for me, Dean asked if I had to turn on the charm to swing that one.
I replied that I didn't have to, just look at me.
I mean, I was obviously pregnant, 7 months to be exact, and here I was looking at 12 foot long pieces of 2x12 lumber.  I had two workers in their orange vests rushing to my aid in about two and half minutes.  :)

So I sanded and I sanded my cut lumber.

Then I assembled my tables, which are basically a cube.  Super simple, if you have clamps, which I didn't. At one point, Dean asked me why he was spending so much time un-doing all my mistakes, namely screws that went in crooked or that I had stripped.  I just smiled at him.
After counter-sinking the screws, I had to use wood filler to cover up my holes, not to mention the dozen cracks. Apparently, 2x12's are not made for furniture, they are made for building houses. Duh.
Well I was just following the instructions on the internet.  Besides, had I used pine 1x12's, it would not be as sturdy, and with kids, you need sturdy.
Besides, I think they came out nicely, don't you?

This is with a coat of ponderosa pine stain.  I didn't like it.  You could still see my wood filler and it looked more rustic than modern.  My new leather furniture needed something more sleek looking.  Not to mention something taller.  So back to Home Depot I went to pick up some primer and black paint, as well as to get my scraps split so I could make stands/feet for my tables.

With all the rain we've been getting, it took longer for the coats of paint to dry than I thought.  When I finally had a sunny morning, I brought everything outside.  That was a mistake. The sun was too strong and my paint was doing something funny on the tops of the tables.  Hence my little shade operation. Is this redneck or what?

And a few days and a few coats of polyurethane later, I finally have some new end tables in my living room!

I love them! They are perfectly imperfect, knot holes and all! 
(I discovered that black is not black. I didn't have too many black color choices with the store brand, 
but I might have paid more for a blacker black had I known my tables would end up looking blue/black).

I like them even more in the new house...our current living room

I will not, however, figure out how much my cheap end tables ended up costing me.  
Sure, the lumber was only $9 per table, but what about the wood filler, screws, stain, paint, polyurethane, new brushes.....oh never mind.  

I had fun making them. In fact, I have the plans already printed out for another wood project to go in the living room that will match my new look!


  1. I like them! Forget all that "extra" stuff that got added to the $9. It sure was fun and you learned something from the experience!

  2. THIS is EXACTLY what I have been googling for this morning. I had rented all of my furniture (at student rates, $99 Monthly for the entire apartment). Time has come for them to return and take "my stuff". So now I want to make a few shelves and end tables of my own. These are perfect. Simple, yet elegant. Useful. Beautiful. Coloring options are outrageous as well. I see a very dark forest green in my near future lol. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I'm curious, did you use L Brackets to make the connection for each piece to the other? That seems to me to be the best way to connect the table pieces. I plan on going to Lowe's or Home Depot either today or next week sometime and buying 4 feet or so of 2 by 12 and some L Brackets and screws to give this a shot. If it turns out I will make more for my home. Again, thanks for sharing!

    1. No, I didn't use L Brackets, I used screws. I countersunk about 3 screws per side and filled the holes with wood filler afterwards. Good luck making yours!