Simple Wooden Side Tables

Today on this episode of “Maddie and Ali redo their living room once a month” we are making some new side tables! I had a set of three that I bought from Amazon, but the black legs and dark brown wood were just too dark for our space. So I set out to build some lighter, slightly more whimsical tables. I decided to try a slanted wooden leg to lighten them up and try something new. We also added a pre-stain wood conditioner to our repertoire which was fun to play around with.

Materials Needed

  • Wooden Circles – I used one 2 ft and two 1.5 ft
  • About 16 ft of 1×2 boards – I used select pine that was left over from other projects
  • Minwax Early American Stain
  • Minwax Fruitwood Stain
  • Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
  • 1.5 in screws – four per table
  • Minwax Polycrylic

Tools Required

  • Miter saw
  • Wood glue
  • Screw Driver
  • Sandpaper or palm sander

How We Did It

Step 1: Make your cuts

So to start off, I measured an old side table to get an idea of how tall I wanted it to be. It looked like around 15 in was a good height, but it ended up being slightly shorter because the legs are cut on a slant. I measured out four 15 in pieces for each small table, and then arbitrarily chose 19 in legs for the taller table. Once all my pieces were measured, I grabbed the miter saw and set the angle to 10 degrees. This gives the legs a bit of a slant, but it’s nothing too crazy. Then I cut each leg, making sure to cut the top and bottom in the same direction. You want your finished leg to look like a parallelogram, not a trapezoid. After all your legs are cut, you need to cut out some brace pieces. These pieces are attached to the legs and then attached to the table, so you aren’t trying to glue or screw slanted legs directly into the table top. I just grabbed my excess leg wood (the 1×2’s) and made two trapezoids per table. Each end should be cut at 10 degrees.

above is a picture of all four legs with the two brace pieces

Step 2: Sand!

You know the drill, sand it all down. As usual, I used 220 grit sandpaper on both the legs and the table tops. For the tops, I used wood rounds from Home Depot. They’re hard to come by these days, so be on the lookout!

Step 3: Stain

So I wanted a stain that was light and not yellow, which is tough to find when you’re using a yellow wood like pine. First, I conditioned the wood which really brought out the grain, but made it more yellow. For the stain I chose Fruitwood, which ended up too light and didn’t eliminate the yellow. I decided to do another coat on my first table but this time I mixed a bit of Fruitwood with a hint of Early American to darken it slightly. I LOVE how it turned out! The perfect light, natural stain without looking too yellow.

the largest table top, I love the grain!

Step 4: Glue the legs together

This is where it gets slightly tricky. I attached a graphic below to help explain. You should attach the legs to the braces so that the top of the leg and the top of the brace are flush, and will sit flat against the table top. I used wood glue and nails for a bit of extra support. When they’re all dry and ready, they should stand on their own

this is how the legs should be assembled

Step 5: Seal and assemble

To seal the tables, I used Minwax Polycrylic instead of polyurethane. I like the water-based sealants better because they don’t have a yellow tinge or any intense odor. I have found that you need more coats to get a good finish, I used three on the table tops and two on the legs. After everything is dry, simple screw the legs via the brace onto the table tops, flip her over and boom! Table complete.

~mads

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