DIY Farmhouse Tabletop
Ok, first of all. If I (a city girl who hasn't touched a power tool in her life) can do this beginner DIY wood tabletop project, then YOU can too. All you need is a few tools, detailed blog posts like this one, and maybe some YouTube power tool-torials (see what I did there?), and BOOM. Woodworking gurus R. Us. So summon your inner boss babe, and let's get guru'ing... *bicep flex emoji here*
This post is chock full of helpful links, some of which are affiliate links. That just means, if you purchase something after clicking one of those links, you help me continue to do what I do (blog, raise babies, mom hard) because I earn a small commission (at no cost to you, girl!) I only link things that I've personally used, and I include links to things I DON'T recommend, so you can avoid them too! TIA for your support of my business and my journey! Forever grateful, Melissa :)
Um, second of all. I plan to one day replace the white metal bottom of this table with a DIY wood one. Stay tuned...
Third of all. Did you know that (if you really want to do this project), you can order all these Home Depot materials FOR FREE and pick them all up in the store later?! **ATTENTION: MOMS** I'm not messing around here. It's 2019. Save yourself the "um, can you tell me where the... while shushing kids" HOURS in store and just pick up the bags. They have the bags ready for you! I'll bet a mom invented that...
Table Dimensions: 55" x 37"
- Drill (I bought this very affordable 12V Ryobi from Home Depot and it works like a charm)
- Kreg Jig (this little R3 works just fine!)
- 1" pocket hole screws [course thread] (do not... I repeat... do NOT try to use regular wood screws. Trust me, the little notch doodad on the tip of the pocket hole screws is MAGICAL)
- (You don't need the washers... I'll explain in a minute)
- Wood glue (I used this regular Gorilla glue, BUT not recommended because it expands like cray AND needs water to be activated. Use this legit wood glue instead)
- 1" x 10" wood
- Most wood will come in 8' (96") boards [I like to convert everything to inches first, then convert back to feet to figure out how many boards I'll need cut]
- I used 6 pieces, each cut at 37" which means I needed 222" total (THE MATH IS THE HARDEST PART, I promise you!)
- 222" / 12" = 18.5' needed total
- 18.5' / 8' boards = just less than 2.5 8-foot boards
- If you're new like me, just have the hardware store cut the wood for you for FREE (easier to fit in the car, and less work for you)
- You're gonna need to make a decision about the type of wood you want to use...
- You're either going to spend less money per foot and get wood that needs a lot of prep work (most definitely will need an electric sander, and you can skip arm day at the gym)... OR:
- You're going to spend a little more money (mine were around $1 per foot) and get pre-sanded, flat boards. I'm gonna give you some unsolicited advice: spend the money on the nicer wood. Right angles are a B-word if you don't have flat/square/right-angled wood
- Electric sander
- I've had a Ryobi laying around that cost around $50
- If you don't have one, I hope you're a body-builder because sanding this table by hand will make you sweat
- Don't forget sandpaper for the sander (I used 80-grit, but it depends on the type of wood you use [lower number = coarse = gets sh*t done; higher number = fine = for finishing touches)
- I also used a sanding block to clean up some edges (way easier than sheets of sandpaper)
- Wood stain & sealer
- I've tried Varathane and Minwax multiple times, and I have to tell you: I love Minwax more. Which is a bummer because Home Depot doesn't sell it *wah wah* BUT you can get it just about anywhere else, including Amazon!
- For this table, I used Minwax Dark Walnut, Classic Gray, and Simply White (the same blend I use on my "barnwood finish" picture frames)
- I love a nice satin finish, so I used Minwax Polycrylic with this smooth, shed-less brush (Ok, $5 for a brush is a lot. BUT. I've tried crappy, shedding brushes and let me tell you... trying to pull pieces of brush hair out of polycrylic is not fun. And it ruins your finish. Oh, and here's a **PRO TIP**: Put the unwashed brush into a sealed bag and stick it in the fridge until next use- it won't harden and you don't have to rinse it out!)
- I don't know if you necessarily HAVE to put a finish on a table top, buuuuut... I would HIGHLY recommend it. You're going to be wiping it down frequently, spilling on it, and coloring on it (can you tell I have little kids?) I did 3 coats on mine, and so far so good against a 2 and a 4 year old!
- Wood filler
- To fill in crumb-catching holes, divits, etc. And to make it look real purty
- 2 pipe clamps & pipe
- I used 5-foot long 1/2" pipe (that fit 1/2" clamps)
- This is for clamping the wood together after it's glued
- 2 sawhorses or anything flat that the clamps and pipe can rest on, preferably at waist level so you don't break your back doing this on the ground
Ok, if you're totally new to woodworking and have ZERO of these tools/materials, this is really starting to add up. (I'm still working on my collection). HEAR ME OUT: all of the tools are investments. They're versatile! I've used all of these tools for multiple projects, and I still consider myself a newbie. Pretty soon, your only cost will be the raw materials (i.e. wood)!
Onto the good stuff!
Because I had 3/4" wood and they apparently only sell 1" pocket screws, I thought they'd come through the wood. So, dude at the hardware store recommended washers (I did NOT need these, but got them anyway because I thought it was a brilliant solution). Newsflash: the 1" screws will not go through the 3/4" wood (I don't know how that works out mathematically, but just trust me on this).
Again, you DON'T need the washers!
First step was to lay 4 boards (pretty side down) onto the 2 pipes, so that you can use your Kreg jig to drill pocket holes into 3 of them (do these one at a time on the pipes because you won't have room).
Once the pocket holes are drilled... *Make sure everything is level and as flat as possible! Because the wood is only 3/4" thick, any misalignment will be obvious (see rightmost board here)*
Here's how I set up the clamps/piping on the (very well-used) sawhorses:
Then I used my Gorilla Wood Glue in between the boards (just a small strip will do).
*Note: when using wood glue, be sure to wipe off any excess that may ooze out! It does NOT take stain and will need to be sanded off (more work than it sounds like). For hilarious proof of this, see my "DIY Farmhouse Bench" highlight on Instagram*
These boards weren't perrrrfectly flat, so I used some C clamps to keep them as centered to each other as possible.
Here's what the pocket screws look like inside the holes! Square head means no stripping! Win-win. Thanks Kreg jig!
It wasn't perfectly flat, but that'll do pig, that'll do.
My OCD/perfectionist self had to take a deep breath when I saw this 1/8" "gap" on the bottom (which is actually the top).
If you read above, you know that I do NOT recommend this type of glue for this project. It works just fine, but was a pain because you need to use water to activate it, AND it expands and bubbles and makes a mess. Use the legit Gorilla Wood Glue instead.
For the 3rd time, DON'T use this kind of glue:
I let the 4 boards dry overnight, clamped together. Then I drilled pocket holes on the short ends of each one, to be able to attach the end boards. (All the boards are the same length of 37", so that makes this table a magical golden ratio or something).
That little blue clamp was zero help at all, hence why it's just laying there.
Let me just tell you that this Ryobi sander has got some serious power. I was slightly terrified when I first turned it on. (I'd never used an electric sander before). I used 80-grit paper for this project and it worked really well. If you've got crappy, splintery, rough wood, use 60-grit.
*Here's a little secret: when you think your table (or any wood project) is smooth enough, take your gloves off and run your bare hands across it*
Sometimes I find rough patches that I can't see, but I can feel. And you best believe my kids will somehow find a way to injure themselves on a miniscule rough patch.
I used the sander to round out the edges of the table. As a mom, I can foresee things like my kids tripping and slamming their face into a perfectly right-angled table, so rounded edges it is! Ryobi for the win.
I love sanding so much, I took a zillion pictures of how well this sander does:
THEN! This part is FUN. Do yourself a favor and get a giant tube (or 19) of this Minwax Wood Filler. If you do any projects in the future, this stuff makes the difference between a horribly obvious DIY and a professional look.
This is a 1 oz tube and it did the trick for this project, but I'm currently using about 20 oz for my son's left bed!
It's the consistency of wet sand, like the kind you build sand castles out of. You can squeeze it into cracks, mold it into giant holes/knots, smooth out any inconsistencies. And the best part is that it's SANDABLE and IT.TAKES.STAIN. Yasssss girl. It's like liquid wood- and it still blows my mind.
SEE! (I took this picture right after I applied it, so it looks wet, but when it dries, 100% wood-ish)
Remember how I said that 1/8" "gap" wasn't a big deal. Wood filler. That's why.
Oh yeah. Ohhhhhh yeah.
[[ Ok... for fun, on Max's loft bed project, I was using so dang much wood filler, I decided to try some cheaper stuff. It worked. But it stinks, it's hard to mold, and it takes forever to dry. It does change from pink to tan when it's dry, so that's kinda cool. I'll use it for large projects with inconspicuous gaps in the future. All cosmetic/pretty gaps will be filled with wet-sand-consistency Minwax *heart eyes emoji*]]
When it's dry, take your sanding block and smooth that baby out! You can use regular ol' sheets of sandpaper, but this block is a time- and wrist-saver. Pay attention to the grit you're using so that you don't gouge your wood! 100-grit was perfect for touchups on this table.
She's lookin' more pretty by the hour!
I decided to just stain the bottom with Minwax dark walnut. No sealer/poly, nothin. Nobody's gonna see it, so who cares.
See how well that wood filler takes stain? I KNOW.
Now onto the top. This is one coat of Minwax dark walnut:
Just like on my barnwood finish frames, I spread some Minwax classic gray stain around over the dark walnut, to give it a weathered look:
Then the secret sauce on top... Minwax Simply White! This really adds some character, in my opinion. It also tones down the darkness of the walnut.
I said this up in the Materials section, but it's worth repeating:
I love a nice satin finish, so I used Minwax Polycrylic with this smooth, shed-less brush (Ok, $5 for a brush is a lot. BUT. I've tried crappy, shedding brushes and let me tell you... trying to pull pieces of brush hair out of polycrylic is not fun. And it ruins your finish. Oh, and here's a **PRO TIP**: Put the unwashed brush into a sealed bag and stick it in the fridge until next use- it won't harden and you don't have to rinse it out!)
Just follow the directions on the can of sealer you decide to use and YOU'RE DONE!
^^ Clearly this was before I DIY'd that tablerunner... "just throw some fabric on it" ^^
Loooooooved this project. Super easy and smoooooooth (like Tennessee whiskey)! [probably as sweet as strawberry wine, too. Chris Stapleton fans..?]
Congrats!! You're on your way to building a house with your bare hands... (kidding, but maybe not really).
Have a beautiful day, my lovely friend!
P.S. If you want to hear my real voice and see my real face and laugh at my real screw-ups, follow me on Instagram and creep my stories. My IG friends were the first to see this project in action!