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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

{DIY} Reversible Wooden "Tabletop" Tutorial

So the other day I mentioned that I was headed to Lowe's to get some wood because I was feeling crafty.  And feeling like I needed some variation in my photos - a change of scenery, if you will.  I rotate between my couple of outdoor tables (for light) and cutting boards, but I wanted some more options.  Different colors.  A while back while on Pinterest, I'd pinned a do-it-yourself wooden tabletop tutorial from Confections of a Foodie Bride (who was inspired by Love & Olive Oil)...and I was ready to make one for myself.  So I set off to Lowe's with the hubs.  I find it both inspiring and dangerous to wander the lofty aisles of these types of stores with your spouse.  The possibilities start spouting from your mouths at the sight of wood and paint and shelving and tools and hardware and fixtures and... well... you get my point.  But eventually we walked out with everything I needed to make one reversible tabletop.  Plus a few other things.

Let's begin with the basics.  What you'll need.  The type of wood you use is up to you.  I used the least expensive since I knew I'd be painting it with colors anyway.  This makes one reversible tabletop that is about 2' x 2' (good for photographing food and things).

8 - ¼ x 3 x 2 wood boards
8 - ¼ x 4 x 2 wood boards
wood glue (I used just over ½ of a 16 oz. bottle)
sand paper (medium grit / 80-120)
wood stain - in your "shade" of choice
paint - in you color(s) of choice

drop cloth or tarp
sanding block (holds sand paper and makes your life easier if you don't have an electric sander)
paint brushes
paper towels
bandana (to cover your mouth & nose while sanding)
safety glasses or sunglasses (again, for the sanding)
weights or something heavy to weight down wood

garage or outdoor workspace
bright, sunny day
good music
cold beer

~2-3 hours active time
24 hours unattended (to allow wood glue to dry) + some for stain/paint to dry
When assembling my tabletop, I used the same basic method that both of the blogs I mentioned used.  I like to do a first run on something "proven" and change it up from there, should I feel the urge.  I know I'll make more tabletops in the future, so I might try throwing in a few really skinny boards just for variation or interest amongst my tables.  The basic method follows.

I began by laying down a tarp on a large work surface and sanding the tops of all of my boards - both to smooth out any slivers and get rid of any planer marks that may have been there.  I then sanded down all of the edges on that top side.  If you look closely, you can see that in the photo below.  This is totally personal preference, but I like the way that it looks.  Sort of like "planks" as opposed to one continuous piece of wood in the finished project.  So.  Don your bandana and glasses and get all of the boards sanded.
Wipe all of the saw dust from your tarp (or shake it off) and your boards.  Take of the sweaty bandana.  You know.  If you're doing this on an unseasonably warm 78° winter day.  Under the sun in the doorway of your garage.

Lay 8 of the boards, sanded side down, on your work surface.  Start with one of the wider boards and then set the thinner one next to it and repeat until you have 8.  Channel your inner child-in-art-class and squirt those boards with a good amount of wood glue.  Give yourself some room at the outer edges, because the glue will spread when  you weigh it down.
Once you've done that, start laying the remaining boards, arranged in the same fashion only sanded side up this time, over the top in the opposite direction.  Repeat until all of the boards are in place.
And that's it.  Lightly wipe off any glue that may have escaped out the sides with a damp cloth.  Next lay something (other half of tarp or drop cloth or a large sheet of plastic or fabric) over the board to protect it from your weights, if necessary.  Spread out a good amount of weight equally over the whole tabletop.  Let sit for 24 hours, undisturbed.  That's the hardest part.  The waiting.
24 hours later, you've got yourself a reversible tabletop to do with as you choose.  Awesome!  Admire it.  Contemplate leaving it just like it is.  Wood is pretty, after all.
If you like, brush on some stain.  I used a basically blond stain because I knew I was painting over it.  Mainly I was going for a good seal.  Go darker if you want darker spots to show through your paint.  It's entirely up to you and what you want the finished product to look like.  Once you've stained one side, it's time to play the waiting game again.  Once it's dry, flip it over and repeat.
At this point, it's time to paint.  I know it seems a bit copycat to go with white and turquoise...because basically that's what my two inspirations did.  But honestly, I wanted - no needed - a white tabletop.  I'd been meaning to buy or make one for a long time.  And turquoise is my favorite color.  I knew I wouldn't get it out of my head until I'd painted something turquoise.  I can't decide whether or not I think it's too bold.  Sometimes I think it is and sometimes I think it isn't.  I might wind up doing a bit of white-washing over it one of these days.
So this table, with these colors, was just the beginning.  I have plans for a couple of variations on plain wood in mind.  And visions of a pale, peeling yellow.  And an aged, mossy green.  Oh, and a white-washed grey.  And perhaps...

I am sharing this post with:
a little birdie told me rook no. 17

Would you like to comment?

  1. I love this idea. And I really love the turquoise side! It looks "beachy". 

  2. Velva-tomatoes on the VineMarch 21, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    If only I had the crafty gene-this looks awesome. It's going to provide to be a great table for food photos, and anything else.


  3. I love the  turquoise! Lowes is a dengerous place for me & the Hubs....we always leave with more than we anticipated, much like our trips to the Grocery Store; I might have to be a copy cat too and make a  turquoise board- I am loving that color board!

  4. So this was what you were up to.  Love it!  I've been bugging my hubby to make me something like this.  But now I think I'll just make it myself. :)   I love the turquoise.  

  5. I'm so inspired to make a few new tabletops after reading your blog today!  I'm getting bored with my backdrops of late so this will be a great project over the next few days!  Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hahaha! I just made myself a tabletop two weeks ago!  After looking for an old door or tabletop at a garage sales without any luck, I just did the same: went to Home Depo and made my own! Well done!

  7. qué linda queda la mesa y no tan difícil y además se ven muy bonitas tus fotos, como dices , para cambiar verdad? siempre tomas fotos muylindas!!

  8. awesome! Did you "document" the process? I'd love to see your tabletop =)

  9. I love the turquoise.  I actually think it helps to have that splash of color in the background!  You are definitely crafty alright.  I can hardly change a battery out in the kids' toys.  It's pathetic. 

  10. You are way craftier than I am.  Great job, Heather!  Love the turquoise, the step-by-step, the idea of cold beer and music whilst crafting.
    So...there are two of you, right?  Cause one person can not possibly fit in the number of projects, hosting all over the place, cooking, posting AND have three kids.  Must be two of you :-)

  11. Thank you for this great idea. I'm always looking for placemats to us for my photos, but I love the idea of using a faux tabletop.

  12. These are beautiful! I love the turquoise, too. Nice thing is when you get tired of the color, just repaint! You could always distress the wood, too.

  13. I have been wanting a different "portable" table top too (mainly a white one) and your post is inspiring even for a confirmed non-crafty/not-handy person like me. I just might be able to do this one! Or you could come visit Hawaii and make me some tabletops... ;-)

  14. I SOOO want a homemade rustic adorable tabletop also! I've been meaning to do of these days. Yours looks fabulous!

  15. Gerry @ Foodness GraciousMarch 22, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    Nice job, Lowes is dangerous, huh!  I like the turquoise..very Tiffanys :)
    Take care..

  16. Such a fun project with awesome results! Love this!

  17. You are so clever! Excellent project for a sunny day!

  18. Oh! I really, really like this idea! I will try it during my spring break! (I like the white one best....)

  19. This is so funny...I was telling my husband I wanted to make a table top for my photos. I have a glass top table in the sun room and then the tile table out by the pool. I told him to keep an eye out for one for some time now. No luck so I told myself I was going to make one. So spooky that you came up with this tutorial right before this weekend when I was going to make it!! :) I want to do a shabby chic white wash with the edges sanded away. Never thought to make it reversable! Thanks Heather! Aqua is my favorite color! Many of my dishes have turquiose in it (vintage) so I love both of yours.

  20. I love this.... I knew when you said you were going to Lowe's we were in for a treat!!  I emialing this to my hubby (wink,wink) and already  have a TON of paint selections on my account.. YAY!!

  21. I'm not sure that a bandana is a NIOSH approved respirator, ha ha.  Great tips.