Today, I am sooooo excited to share our DIY Outdoor Dining Table Top Build!
Do you ever find yourself scouring the internet for new furniture, only fall in love with something WAAAAY OUTSIDE YOUR BUDGET? Yeah, me too. My taste might be expensive, but I certainly don’t have the budget to match.
That’s where DIY ingenuity and a little thrift shopping come in handy!
Now that spring is in full bloom, that backyard is getting a major update. Of course, I started out trying to find good deals on furniture for our deck. While I did find a few, I felt like the $1000+ for an outdoor dining table was just a bit more than I wanted to spend. In the meantime, this little gem below popped up in the local thrift store for $65. The closest comparable set I found was this set at over $1400 (when not on sale). You better believe I swooped in to get this deal!
For a thrift store find, the table was in good structural condition, although there is some chipping paint, stains, and the granite is cracked. I love the chair backs but the table left me desiring something entirely different. Luckily, woodworking is our jam and we have tons of scrap and reclaimed wood in the garage.
DIY Outdoor Patio Table Build
After sketching out a few designs, I settled on what I am calling an Cross-X pattern. What I love about this pattern is that small differences in board widths won’t be noticed as with a straight herringbone pattern. It’s also allowed us to use up more small boards with less waste. If you are wanting to build your own DIY Outdoor Table, the diagrams are below. There are essentially two frames, one on top of the other. One is the support frame which could be attached to any set of table legs you prefer.
We started by cutting both the support frame and the top cross frame. For the support frame, we used a kreg jig to create the frame and screw the boards together. We used a brad nailer to attach the top frame to the support frame, but you could also use small nails and wood glue.
***There is one note that I want to make for anyone interested in building this type of table. In most of the pictures, you will notice a large sheet of plywood sandwhiched between the two frames. DO NOT USE PLYWOOD ON AN OUTDOOR TABLE. The reason that you see this sheet in our example is because we used scrap and mostly reclaimed wood which is generally warped, skewed, and otherwise not completely flat. We needed a smooth straight surface in order to check everything and we happened to have this sheet laying around to do that. after we cut all of the pieces and checked level, we removed the plywood sheet for another project.
Using reclaimed white oak hardwood floors was a major cost saver for this project because they were free, but we had to get the original finish off of them and remove any warping. We bought a new planar for this project so that all of the boards would be perfectly level and identical thicknesses. We have been wanting one for a year, so this was the perfect time to pull the trigger. However, a planar was more for personal preference, and not required for this project if you are using new boards.
Now to lay the pattern! This step took most of a day to do. Starting at the inside corners of each square, we cut the slats at a 45 degree angle with our mitre saw. Then we measured the other side on the table and cut there. There was a fair amount of time taken with this because we would always cut it about 1/8 inch too long and then shave it down for a tight fit into the space. We glued all of the boards into place by gluing wherever two boards touched. It was a lot of wood glue!
After getting all of the boards in place, we added the skirt with brad nails and glue again. Then I filled any nail holes or small gaps in the wood. I finished it off with a thorough sanding.
Protecting Outdoor Wood Furniture
For this project, I wanted to downplay the orangey-wood while still keeping the focus on the graining and pattern of the wood. I chose Varathane Sunbleached to give it a slightly gray look. This stain is so beautiful! As pictured above, it looks very opaque when you first brush it on. Then, per the directions, I wiped off any excess after 2-3 minutes with a lint-free rag (old t-shirt). The grain pattern and any place that I filled with wood filler took up the stain more so it played beautifully on the graining pattern. If I had used a less grainy wood such as pine, the stain would be more even. This is a one coat stain and it dries in an hour so I did small sections working quickly as I went.
Once the stain was dry, I finished the whole table off with 4 coats of Ultimate Exterior Spar Urethane from Varathane in satin. It looks beautiful without the glare of too much gloss.
This DIY table took a few weeks to complete and I looooooove it! It turned out even better than I expected. While I wouldn’t call this a beginner project, the money we saved is definitely worth the elbow grease. In fact, all of our neighbors keep asking us if it’s our dining room table, haha. We still have the chairs to finish and I can’t wait to get this project completed so we can spend the lazy summers outdoors sipping on some blackberry sangria and enjoying afternoon grilling outdoors. Stay tuned for how we finish this project up!
- Table And Chairs (thrift store): $65
- White Oak Wood 8 ft boards for sides and skirt : $125*
- Stain, Nails, and Supplies: about $50
- *Most of the table top was reclaimed from old white oak floors and thus, free.
Our Table (so far): $240
Next, we will be spray painting the chairs and the difference is going to be shocking! I know of so many people who have had some prior bad experiences with spray paint, but I am going to show the right way to spray paint furniture to last, even outdoors. In the meantime, you can learn more about tips, projects, and techniques for spray painting at Rust-Oleum’s Library of Spray Painting. (That wicker dresser is amazing!)
Like this project? Check out some of our other DIY ideas:
- Midnight Blue Painted Vanity
- How to Create A Cerused Finish
- Beer Safe Mini-Fridge Makeover
- Regal Executive Desk Transformation
- Antique Military Trunk Makeover with Maps
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