The Modern DIY Coffee Table

I have been looking to buy a coffee table, ever since removing the old one. To go back a few years, we threw our old one out, because for one it belonged to the hubby before he met me, and it was, well old – and the other reason was that we wanted to space for our than tini tiny baby Emma to have all the space in the world to play on the floor. But now a few years down the line, Emma is two and has found an interest in puzzles, drawings and Lego, bascially everything that requires a table!

So after racking my brain over and over again, going through online stores, one after another, I basically gave up and decided to go down the good old DIY route. And the best part? It all came together for under 500 sek (approx. 50 USD).

And lucky for me, I had this old cable drum in our garage that proofed to be the peferct base for our new coffeetable. So what did I do? Well let’s find out below.


Step #1 – The base 1.0

Right, this see, is just the base investigation to determine how much material I have to buy and or use from my leftovers. The cable drum is 45cm high, which overall is a good average height for a coffee table. Some think it’s too tall – but let us all remember, this is a DIY for under 50 dollars – so I didn’t want to go out the way too much. Plus having it a tad higher than average is definitely good to even be able to do some computer work on (not that I am planning, but you know how life goes).

Step #2 – The base 2.0

I really wanted to use round pieces of lumber to cover up the base, but they are quite pricey and since I did not know if it was all going to plan, to opted for a more labour intensive but also cheaper option – triangle cut lumber pieces! When I say labour intensive, I mean that every single piece needed to be sanded, because really no one wants to get splinters.

See what I am talking about? Splinter alarm! Before the sanding however, I cut all the pieces to the same height as the base of the table. 

And then sanded away! I am always surprised how much of a difference it makes.

Step #3 – Covering the base

This part was the most fun and nervwrecking one at the same time. Because it’s me and I don’t like to know if it all fit, I didn’t measure before if those pieces will make an even ‘meet-up’ and close it off perfectly. You know I am daring!

I took my favourite tool – the nail gun and shooted nails away – in the bottom and top! This is where the base itself came in super handy, because it is what all my neatly sanded triangular wood pieces are attached to. 

Step #4 – The table top

Btw! Are you ready to see it all come together?

Not to shabby right?

After the top was secured, I started painting the table top! Ofcourse with a colour that ties in so well with everything else – my favorite coral shade that is

I don’t know about you, but I just love the stark contrast between natural pinewood and a popping colour!

But since I am not your average solid kinda gal, I decided to continue my table top treatment with some splashes of a sunny yellow!

I was just going wild, splashing away – yes my shoes and everything in the 10m radius can attest to that. Oops! But don’t worry I did cover the base beforehand.

Step #4 – The table top 2.0 – Epoxy Treatment

Yes there’s a 2.0 – I wanted to try something completely new for me, adding a protective and yet shiny layer on top of the paint. Truth to be told I love glass tables, but with kids running about it’s just a big no go – I myself run once through a glassdoor as a kid and it’s just super sketchy! So I decided to try and pour Epoxy on top to first even out the rough pores and paint bits and bobs, as well as give it some protection from spills and such.

Now here’s the spoiler alert – I thought I could keep it crystal clear, as you will see in a minute, but after sanding (which wasn’t as easy as I tought) I lost the ultimate shine. But I purely attest this so my amateur level and will sure try again – because that is the fun part with Epoxy – you can just have a another go! You will see shortly what I am talking about. 

Right first though – the base was covered and now I needed to create a frame, so the liquid epoxy would ooze away. (Thinking back maybe that would actually have been the better option).

Second step is to mix the two component epoxy solution. I got mine from a local shop which had good reviews. So here we go! I had to mix it one to two and swirl it all up good! Note this stuff is sticky, like soo sticky – so wear gloves and use utensils you are happy to dispose off after. 

It’s actually called Glass Cast – because of its super clear attributes once hardend. It always looks sort of wet!

But boy I did need a lot more than I thought! Never underestimate such things when buying the raw products.

Yes I had to double up this amount.

On to the pouring! That was quite simple – I pretended it was a big pancake and was smoothing it out all over, making sure to cover all edges etc. 

Little tip! Make sure whatever you cover with epoxy is standing at level to get an even result.

Can you see the shine?

The whole process takes about 72hours – 20minutes for pouring, and a good three days to harden up. Mind on my 1 first day, we had a bit of disaster – a fly found it’s way into the then still liquid epoxy and got cast in. ROCK SOLID! So i carved it out and yet do another round.

Anyway! The second round in, I also noticed that there were quite a few bubbles – maybe because temperatures had changed, or because I stirred it too much, but there were bubbles in my liquid layer and I wanted them G O N E. So my husband gave me the tip to use a need or small screw and literally pop them! Worked like a charm.

Epoxy Aftercare

After a respective 6 days, after my first pour, I had a rock solid toplayer, and oh boy I wish I would have kept it as it was and only round of the edges – somehow, because some of them got really sharp from where the liquid touched the form. 

So I did decide to go through the whole sanding & polishing process. But since I wasn’t as sucessful as I could have been, I am just going to leave you a link to a youtube video from Paul Ricalde I found enourmously helpful!

I think ultimately I will do another pour to get my shiny top coat back! I leave you some more images from my process below – just so you can see what I went through!

1) a million steps wet sanding

(See the shine I am talking about? Oh shine I miss you)

Bye shine!

One of the factors why I failed is probably that only the first two steps of wet sanding worked with my hand machine – than it was all to wet and I couldn’t get the sanding paper to stick, forcing me to hand sand. But I was in too deep to stop.

On to the polishing!

>That sure did a lot good, but it’s just not the same. 

Neverless (I still don’t know if this is a word btw), I am overall super happy with the result & we finally have a sofa table!!

Imagine me dancing on it – or better – Emma jumping of it!

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