What's better than a coffee table that brings the outdoors in? An-almost-free coffee table that brings the outdoors in! My husband was perusing the wood pile at the dump one day and found an industrial pallet made of brand-new looking 4x4's and 2x6's. SCORE! I forgot to take a before picture of the pallet together before I tore it apart but this is some of what came of it.
Step 1: Supplies and Tools Needed
1- wood, preferably free. I used 2x6, 4x4, 2x4 and some random scraps to make the inset
2- table saw or skill saw
3- kreg jig for pocket holes
3- wood glue, sand paper, speed square, measuring tape, stapler, clamps
4- scrap pieces of wood for table inset, plastic sheeting/lining
5- whatever you want to put inside the table!
Step 2: Design
This is where the math comes in. For me it was figuring out what dimensions would work for the space as well as what i could make from my free wood pile. I googled average coffee table height and also wanted the centre cut out to be wider than one board width- but not as wide as two- so I ended up having to cut a notch out of two of the 2x6's to make the cut out section 8 inches wide. I also found making a cut list after creating the design helps speed up the cutting process and minimize errors.
Step 3: Build the Top
Once the top pieces are cut lay them out and be sure you like the size/shape. Then, glue them together with wood glue and let dry overnight. In the morning I wasn't totally confident with how I secured the boards together so I added a strip down each side for extra support. In hindsight, I would've also screwed the boards together using pocket holes/my kreg jig.
In the last photo you also see the beginnings of the inset to hold the plants (with the underside of the table facing up). This was made from scrap wood from a left over project and just made as I went along. This underside "frame" for the inset was secured to the table top with my kreg jig and screws. The last part of this step is measuring out a piece of wood that will fit on top of (not inside) the frame and nailing it down. For this I cut up an old particle board shelf.
Step 4: Build the Base
This step is fun and involves lots of using the kreg jig. I've included a drawing of where the holes for the screws are placed. I've also used the kreg jig on the base so I can screw the base to the top. Everything I've held together with screws is also glued with wood glue for extra support.
Step 5: Sand and Stain Your Masterpiece
For this step I recommend sanding until you cannot sand anymore, take a break, and then sand the entire thing again. Once you put the stain on you are not going to want to fix a rough edge so it's very important to take your time here. Before staining I chose to pretreat my table with a wood conditioner but this is completely optional. Then, choose any stain you want, or combine a few like I did, to get the color you like. Let dry according to the stain directions.
Step 6: Now the Fun Part
The inside! The first part in this step is to staple the lining into the frame so if you choose to place plants inside it, when you water it won't leak all over the place. Once this is done lay out your succulents or rock garden or seashell collection or whatever your heart desires in an appealing way, then put it all together!
Step 7: Enjoy!
Technically you can seal your table as well which will protect it from water stains, etc. I sealed this table with furniture wax which gave it a beautiful sheen. Now you can enjoy a beautiful succulent garden right in the middle of your living room!