How We Built Our Own Wooden Coffee Table

The wood we used to build our DIY coffee table

The wood we used to build our own coffee table

I have always had a particular taste. As a child, my mom and dad would tell me that I was going to have to make my own clothes & shoes, because it was really hard to find stuff that I actually liked (it’s funny now, but it wasn’t back then). Going shopping was a frustrating experience!

Trying to find the perfect coffee table for our living room brought these childhood memories back to my mind. Nothing was what we wanted… Or it was, but with a price way higher than we wanted to pay.

One day, we came across a Crate & Barrel bench online. We loved the concept. It is simple, yet modern and the legs definitely stood out… Could we pull this off? We were definitely going to give it a try.

So, we decided to get the wood, tools, and materials to build our own coffee table. Worst-case scenario, if it ended up looking cheap or too rustic, we would have had a new table for our backyard patio.

Take a look at the complete list:


HOW WE BUILT OUR OWN WOODEN COFFEE TABLE

STEP 1: CUTTING THE WOOD

We started by deciding how big we wanted the table to be. We wanted a square table, big enough for our living room. After a while, we agreed that 36’’ x 36’’, and approximately 18’’ tall would be the right size for us. To make this a little easier to understand, we will explain how you need to cut the wood by table sections:

Coffee Table Top:

You need 5 pieces of 1’’ x 8’’ (which is actually 7 ¼’’), 36’’ long, and 3 more pieces to help join the top. These don’t need to be cut to a super specific length. Just make them shorter than the actual top so they will not interfere with the trim.

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Measuring the boards for the coffee table top

 

How to build a coffee table

Cutting the boards for the coffee table top

Trim for the Tabletop:

4 pieces of 1’’ x 2’’, with 45-degree cuts on each end.

Table Legs:

Cut 20 pieces of 1’’ x 6” to a length of 30.5’’. Then take 20 more pieces and make them 1’’ smaller (width and lengthwise) than the previous 20. These will end up being 29.5’’ L x 5’’ W. We sanded these leg pieces after we cut them to make sure they looked as smooth as possible.

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Measuring and marking the wood for the coffee table legs

 

Build your own coffee table

Cutting the coffee table legs

 

DIY Coffee table top

We cut a total of forty pieces for the legs

 

DIY Coffee table ideas

Some of the pieces we used to build the coffee table legs

 

Building a coffee table from scratch

Sanding the coffee table legs pieces

* Don’t throw all the little leftover pieces. You will need some to fix the trim to the top of the table.

 

STEP 2: ASSEMBLING THE TABLE TOP

We took the 5 pieces and put some liquid nails right before joining them. To help keep the table top as flat as possible, we put the 3 1” x 6” pieces on the bottom side, perpendicularly to the other five. Then, we used a few ratchet straps to tighten it all together and try to close any gaps in between the pieces as much as much as we could. As we did this, we realized that as we tightened the straps, the table top started to bend. To help keep it as flat as possible, we ended up putting a few screws on the 3 1” x 6”.

Also, make sure the joints on top are as even as possible before tightening the straps. The ideal tools for this job would have been a few clamps, but we didn’t have them. Our improvisation worked pretty well, though.

Make your own coffee table

Using liquid nails to glue all the table top pieces together

 

Making a coffee table

One of the boards we used to hold the coffee table top together

 

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The table top (upside down) right before strapping it together

 

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Some screws to keep the coffee table top from bending when tightening the straps

 

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Letting it sit to let the liquid nails dry

 

We let it sit overnight, then, the next day we removed the straps.

 

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The coffee table top, ready to start building the actual table

 

STEP 3: ASSEMBLING THE LEGS & ATTACHING THEM TO THE TABLE TOP

We turned the table top upside down and started to attach the leg pieces to it. We started with one of the narrower pieces, just because we thought it would look better with a wider one at the very bottom after alternating all of them.

Each piece was glued to the previous one with liquid nails and nailed together using our nail gun.

* Be careful not to put the nail gun too close to the edges of the wood when nailing a big piece on top of a smaller one to avoid nailing outside of the smaller piece.

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Using liquid nails and the nail gun to hold all the leg pieces together

 

Build my own coffee table

Applying liquid nails to one of the legs pieces

 

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Using real nails as well

 

Build own coffee table

Adding each piece, one by one

 

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Using the square to make sure they were as straight as possible

 

DIY wood coffee table

Right after we finished the first leg

 

After finishing the first leg, take the other 20 pieces and repeat the same procedure to put the second one together.

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Working on the second leg

 

Then, take the drill and open holes for the furniture glides and screw them to each corner of the legs.

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The leveling furniture glides we used

 

Making coffee table legs

Drilling the holes for the glides

 

DIY Coffee table wood

Getting the plastic piece in the hole

 

How to make a wooden coffee table

Ready to go

 

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All set

 

Handmade wood coffee table

Our coffee table sitting on its own legs for the first time

 

STEP 4: MEASURING, CUTTING AND INSTALLING THE TRIM

Because not all of them were exactly the same, we measured each side of the table in order to get each trim piece’s length. By making 45-degree cuts to it we created the perfect frame for the top, which would automatically make it look thicker and give it a finished look.

Then, we took our nail gun and some leftover triangle-shaped pieces and attached them to each corner of the bottom side of the tabletop. These would be used to help support the trim pieces. Then we used some liquid nails and nails to carefully attach the trim to the triangles from the inside so the nails would not be visible on the outside of the trim.

DIY Coffee table designs

The trim pieces for the coffee table top

 

STEP 5: SANDING, PRIMING & PAINTING THE COFFEE TABLE

We used 2 different grits to sand the table, 120 and 220. All it took was our sander, attention to detail, patience, some wood putty to fill up any remaining gaps and more sanding. Not long after, the table was ready for the primer.

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Sanding, after filling up all holes and gaps

 

A layer of primer was quickly applied with a roller and a brush (just used it on the smaller pieces of wood in the legs, which couldn’t be reached with the roller). After letting it dry overnight, it was ready for the first coat of paint.

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Priming with a roller

 

Coffee table legs design

We also used the brush in the hard to reach areas of the legs

 

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Our coffee table ready for paint

 

We wanted a metallic look, not super shiny, but subtler. We hadn’t really found the perfect paint until we saw a can of spray paint at a store and decided we wanted that look. After a little researching and inquiring at the store, we realized that we could get a gallon of a very similar paint prepared for us, so we got that one.

Painting was a piece of cake with our paint sprayer. Painting with a roller or brush would not have given us the professional finish we were going for (just like the one we wanted to get when we built our home office desk). Yes, we had to cover the whole garage with plastic sheets before going crazy with the sprayer, but we got the look we were looking for! And are super thrilled we finally have a coffee table!

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Painting our DIY coffee table

 

After setting up a tent in the garage, we were ready to spray paint the coffee table

 

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This is how it looked a few minutes later

 

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We let it dry in the garage for a few days

 

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This is how it looks in our living room now

 

How to make your own coffee table

We are excited we finally have a coffee table!

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