Finding a coffee table that suits your style and budget can be pricey. If you’re working with a limited amount, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of roaming the IKEA maze, then opt for a DIY project like this crate coffee table. The modern design of this crate coffee table by cyclecanuck is insanely simple to put together. If you’re not much of a DIYer, that’s great news. As long as you can read some instructions on a can of stain and can of handle sanding, then you’ll have no trouble putting this table together.
With a few supplies from the hardware store, this project can be made for around $100. Each crate will run you around $10. Add on the sand paper, stain, polyurethane, brushes, and screws, and you have a finished coffee table that’s cheaper than what you would pay for in the stores. This is totally one of those products that major retailers would charge mega bucks for while all you’re thinking is “Gee, I could make that.” The truth is, yes, you can make that. Here’s how.
Step 1: Purchasing Supplies
These unfinished crates can be purchased from your local home improvement store. The ones you see here were purchased from Home Depot for about $10 a crate. You will need four in total.
Along with the crates, you will need 120-grit sand paper, 220-grit sand paper, brushes, 1-inch screws, stain, and polyurethane for the finish.
Step 2: Sanding
You will notice that the bare wood of the crate will be slightly rough to the touch. That’s where your sand paper comes in. Sanding down the wood to a smooth surface will prepare the table for the finishing coat.
Since the wood is bare, using two grits will help achieve a smoother surface. Start with the coarser 120-grit, then follow up with the finer 220-grit. This will give the crates the smoothness they need while allowing the finishing coat to take hold.
While you may be tempted to skip a grit and go straight to the finer grit, it’s not recommended. You’ll wind up wearing out your 220-grit faster and go through more sand paper. This just creates extra work for yourself – and nobody wants that.
When choosing a sanding method, I recommend using an orbital sander if you have one. If not, sanding by hand will work too – but it will be more labor intensive.
Oh, and after sanding, be sure to wipe down your crates to ensure no fine particles of sawdust remain.
Step 3: Staining
The stain you see here is a dark walnut. Depending upon your desired look, you can opt for a plethora of stains like cherry, American oak, or espresso. When you’re ready to stain, be sure to read the directions on the can!
There are varying types of stains and each requires its own application process. For this project, you will want to choose a stain that is compatible with a polyurethane finish. Apply the first coat according to the directions, then let dry. Repeat the steps until the desired stain color is achieved.
Step 4: Creating Character
In order to achieve the weathered character you see here, they used a hammer and a screw. The dents added from the hammer and tiny pinholes from a screw contributed an aged look. Feel free to get creative and put your own touches on it.
Step 5: Adding the Finish
When the stain is dry, it’s time to apply two coats of polyurethane. For this project, an oil speed fast-drying poly was used.
Apply the first coat, then let the poly dry – once again, read the directions on the label. Next, you will need to do a light sanding with 220-grit sand paper.
Why are we sanding again? Notice the texture of the wood once the poly dries. Does it feel slightly rough? By sanding, you ensure that the second coat of poly is properly applied.
Step 6: Assembling
Now comes the fun part, putting the table together! Way easier than deciphering an IKEA picture, putting these crates together is a synch. Place the four crates together like you see here and apply screws in each corner as well as the middle wood slates.
Voila! Your new coffee table is complete. And best of all, you saved a pretty penny in the process.