Easy DIY planked table top cover for your existing table

I am a big believer in using what you have.  Why replace something if you can fix it? This idea to "fix" our current kitchen table has been rattling around in my head for at least a year. 

When we moved into this house nearly five years ago, we purchased a table at a local big box store. We had a lot of furniture to buy to fill our home that was twice the size of our previous home and I was working on a tight budget. Actually, let's be honest, I'm always working on a tight budget! 

Long story short, the table, which to its credit gets used multiple times a day, wasn't holding up as well as we would have liked.  I would often craft on the table and that poor surface took the brunt of the abuse.  That abuse and normal wear and tear on a cheap table was making it quite the eye sore in our kitchen.

I am so excited to share with you this planked tabletop cover that my husband and I made to cover up our existing unbelievably embarrassing tabletop. The top goes on to create a beautiful surface for our daily meals and can come off to create a work surface that I don't mind messing up and crafting on.

Making a DIY Planked Farmhouse Table Top Cover for an Existing Table

Before we start, I want to point out the way the table looked before. My daughter did a friends nails on the table and spilled nail polish remover, and I have glued and painted more projects than I can even tell you! The finish was coming off, the scratches were getting deep and the whole thing was looking seriously ghetto.

In an effort to replace the table, I started looking at garage sales and on craigslist for replacements. I was coming up empty handy {they all looked worse than ours!} or being totally priced out.  I started to think, why not just use the table that we have and slap a few boards on it.  My engineer husband's thinking is a little more refined than "slapping" boards on something, so he came up with an idea {and like a true engineer made an auto-cad design}, we tweaked it a bit together and then took a little date to Home Depot. Because that my friends, is where adults go on dates.

How to Make a Plank Table

Every table is going to be different since they are all different sizes, so I don't want to make a list of supplies for you for this project because it likely won't fit on your table.  You are going to have to do your own math.  Sorry.

Because we were putting our new table cover over our existing table, we needed a rim that would hold it in place that was made of 1x2s. The 1x2s are an inch and a half wide so adding two of those adds three inches overall to the length and width. I also added an extra 1/8" overall to both the length and the width so that there was a gap underneath so that the table could easily come on and off.

Now that you have the final dimensions for the table top, you need to choose which boards you want to use.  Because we don't have a table saw and we wanted to keep this project simple and not cut any boards lengthwise, we {and by we, I mean my husband} plugged and chugged different board sizes into his calculator to find the perfect equation. We ended up using seven 1x6 boards for the width and on the two end caps, we used 1x8s. Remember, a 1x6 is not six inches wide, it's five and a half, and a 1x8 is seven and a quarter inches wide. When you are doing your math to figure out what boards you need, remember that the nominal size {1x4, 1x6, 1x8, etc} is not the actual measured dimension of the board.

Can I Build a Table Out of Pine?

Yes! But spring for the select version!

We actually bought the nicer pine boards {I think they call it select wood} rather than the standard pine boards because the boards are much straighter making it easier to work with them.

This is what the boards looked like when we brought them inside to do a mock-up on the table.

How to Make a Simple Table Top Look High-End

I got a lot of swag at SNAP conference in April.  This Kreg Jig pocket hole kit was one of those things. And I must say, it was the only swag my husband was excited about! This project was the perfect project to give it a go on.

And because I had practice with the Kreg Jig at SNAP, I got to show my husband how to use it.

The Kreg Jig enabled us to screw the table together from the underside without anything showing, which gave us a much more professional look. You create pocket holes for screws that make the construction look high-end!

Holes were drilled on the ends of each of the boards and then a few along the edges {I don't have a picture of the sides that were drilled but if you scroll down a bit, you can see them} so that the boards could be cinched together and eliminate those gaps and curves that the wood naturally gives you.
The holes on the ends of the boards were used to attach the long planks to the end caps.

How to Make a Simple Table Top Step by Step

Once the boards were drilled we brought everything inside and worked directly on the existing table upside down. It's the perfect flat surface that is just the right size. Starting with the edge plank and the end cap, clamping them both down to the table, the first plank was glued on its end with Gorilla wood glue {that stuff is awesome!} 

and attached to the end cap with the Kreg Jig screws.

How to Join Planks of Wood Together to Make a Table

When both end caps were attached to the first plank, we moved on to the next plank and worked our way across.

Each plank that you put in, you will put glue on three edges. The two ends and on the long edge that will be meeting the plank that is already in place.

The holes that were drilled in the edges of the plank to attach one plank to the next {to suck them in like I mentioned above} were then drilled in place.

Continue to glue the three edges and drill your planks in place working from the edge that you started on out. If you look below, the two planks on the far right are just placeholders {not screwed in yet}, to keep the end caps spread the proper width.

After all of your planks are in place, you will install your rim. All you do is screw your 1x2's down around the edge of the table top.

After your table is pieced together, you will flip it over {remember, you've been working on it upside down} and sand it.  My husband isn't a big fan of the planks and worried about cups and plates getting stuck and spilled on the uneven parts of the boards, so he went to town with the sander. You can keep more of the plank look by sanding it less.

Once the table was complete, I took the top out to the garage and let the kids go nuts with hammers and nails.  Everyone was a bit confused as to why we were already messing up our new table because our old one already had gouges and nail holes in it, but we ventured on in the name of purposefully distressed furniture.

I tried Minwax at the SNAP conference {you should totally go!  So much fun stuff to try!} and loved how easy it was to use, so of course, I picked up a quart of it in Bombay Mahogany. The Minwax poly shades have the stain and polyurethane in one, so there is no need to put a top coat of poly on your finished project. Super easy!

I did, however, apply two coats to get the deeper shade that you see on the left.  On the right though, you can see how well the Minwax is covered in one coat.  I could have easily stopped there!

 I was so excited to bring the table inside! It slipped easily on top of the existing table and looks a ka-million times better {yep, totally a word though we will leave the engineering to my husband}.

When it's time to craft or play, it's easy to lift the table top surface off {even by myself}, put it to the side, and mess up the table underneath as much as I want!

 The kids can keep on playing play-doh and silly putty

and I can keep on painting.

I just love how this project came together.  It certainly helps our kitchen feel more put together and less ghetto.  And while I am still in the market to replace the chairs, in the meantime, the whole thing works.

Does your existing table need a facelift? Could you see yourself making something like this? Do it! You will be so happy you did!


Up to Date Interiors said...

What a fantastic way to refurbish a table. The outcome is stunning! Thanks for sharing at The Creative Circle. Hope to see more this week!! xoxo

Up to Date Interiors said...

What a fantastic way to refurbish a table. The outcome is stunning! Thanks for sharing at The Creative Circle. Hope to see more this week!! xoxo

Up to Date Interiors said...

What a fantastic way to refurbish a table. The outcome is stunning! Thanks for sharing at The Creative Circle. Hope to see more this week!! xoxo

kimberly mueller said...

Hi! I’m an editor for Remodelaholic.com and am writing to request permission to use one of your table photos in an upcoming post. We would like to feature this in a round up and would include a backlink and clear credit to you.

Additionally, we routinely publish round-up style posts on our site and if you’re willing to allow us to use one photo from other posts you’ve done, we would love to add you to our directory of sites to feature. As a bonus, your site would then be on our radar for possible Facebook shares as well.

Please let me know if this would work for you. Thanks for your consideration!

Unknown said...

This gives me ideas for our dining room table. Do you have a favourite stain to give it a rustic or natural look?

Invisible Girl said...

I am so glad to see this. It is exactly what I have been looking for. I have had a similar idea in my head for years but didn't know how to bring it together, and I wasn't sure how it would actually turn out. Yours is beautiful. It is nice to start with an idea of how the project will actually look when I am done. My table is 25 years old with a laminate top. The reason I want to cover instead of replacing it does that it is the first purchase my husband and I made together. It has seen 25 years of abuse by three little (now big!) boys and by me, the messy crafter. But I cannot imagine ever getting rid of this table. Plus it's not like I'm going to get less messy, so investing in an expensive table would be crazy. I love how I can take this top off and still do the messy damaging things on it. I am bookmarking this and if I ever get around to actually doing it LOL, I will send you pics

Unknown said...

Just finished a slightly revised version for our rental property at the beach. The original IKEA table was still in good shape but top was bubbling. Top looked awesome even in its unfinished state. Guests all thought it was a greatness idea. Wish I could post a picture. THanks for the inspiration.

Bill Wright said...

Just redid my dining room table with this technique and I an observation/suggestion others might find helpful. The boards did not line up well putting it together upside down, even on a flat concrete floor with me standing on the boards while they were screwed. I would have combined biscuits with the pocket holes to ensure a better alignment of the boards. Lots of sanding was required after assembly, and this might not be a huge deal with pine, but I used hard maple so it was quite a chore even with a belt sander. Also, be aware that the 1x2s around the edge may not line up perfectly -- I had to trim about an eighth inch from each side after assembly to get nice smooth, even edges. Not a big deal, but the top turned out a little smaller than the specifications I was give by SheWhoMustBeObeyed. Otherwise our table now looks great, and thank you for the post!

Anonymous said...

Why not just buy a pre-fab table top?

Unknown said...

We did this!! Instructions were easy to follow and the farmhouse table is now 1800 cms long and wider. Love the look I wish I could post a photo of the finished product!!

Powered by Blogger.