Our DIY Outdoor Table-Step by Step with Pictures

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Chronic-Girl Crafts / Hold My Gatorade and Watch This

Once upon a time (July of last year) we bought a new house and moved in with all of our worldly possessions.  In fact if you ask Tom, I didn’t get rid of a thing and I bought new things everyday to pack and move so there would be more things to move.  Maybe some of that is true.  Maybe none of it is true.  It’s a mystery.  Anyways, our new house has a big deck and also a big amount of wind.  This fall the wind showed up and wasn’t messing around.  Our table tipped over and the glass top (which is a stupid idea for any kind of table anyways) shattered everywhere.  After vacuuming the deck, we were left with only a metal stand.

My smart husband said that he could make a wooden top for the table stand and for hundreds less than outdoor furniture sells for; and that is just what he did.  He started with wooden planks that were nice and clean like this.

table planks

He put four side by side and affixed them together.  I say that vaguely because I don’t know how carpentry things happen, but he makes them happen.  Then he cut the table top into a circle.  Next is my favorite step of all projects.  The distressing.  The goal is to make the table top look like it’s about 95 years old and it’s been through life.  We use any variety of tools lying around to scratch, dent, scrape, and hammer 95 years of life into the new shiny boards.  This time we used these tools.

distressing tools


distressed table

Next comes the staining.  Couple things to consider when doing the staining.  What color do you want it to be at the end?  Are you going to be stenciling anything on it, and if so what color?  We chose to use a combination of stains to achieve the look we wanted.  Our technique to keep it from getting too dark was to take a paper towel, get it wet, barely dip it into the stain then spread it around on a large area.  Very little stain is actually used.  Here is our first coat of stain, which was an ebony black.

black stain

After it dried came the light sanding.  As you can see, I asked the muscles to do this.

We used the same wet paper towel technique for the dark cherry stain.  Then more sanding.  At this point Tom also used a rasp all the way around the edge to get it to a nice texture and remove the splinter-giving effect.

red stain

Look at that beautiful color and all of those perfect dings.  At this point I was already completely in love with this table.

The only thing left was the stenciling.  Now, obviously this is optional, but we felt like it would really personalize it to us if we put something of meaning or special on the table.  We kind of went for the top of a whiskey barrel look with the distressing and colors.  While we thought about something with our name maybe, we turned another way and went with the ever-classic Copperhead Road.  If you are not familiar with the song, I posted the song below so that you can experience it and understand.  Anyways, we used simple block letter stencils and taped them down.  We put cardboard around that just to make sure that no overspray occurred.

After a few coats of paint, we added the year it was ‘established’ based on prohibition time frame.  A couple coats of clear seal on top of that and Voila! I think it’s beautiful.

copperhead road table

copperhead road table 2

If you look closely you can see my reflection in the window.  You can see I’m wearing my Penguins jersey which is a good reminder that it is a game day.

*Sidenote* if you leave out the paper towels and the wind cooperates, you too can essentially toilet paper your own trees.

tp tree

Feel free to take a listen to Copperhead Road if you are unfamiliar.  This shows the lyrics too if you are like me and unable to understand the lyrics of basically any song.




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