How to Turn a Old Table Into a Trough Party Table





Introduction: How to Turn a Old Table Into a Trough Party Table

About: I enjoy repurposing and restoring old furniture and making woodwork projects that are not seen every day. I make most of my projects using wood that is either, recycled,reclaimed and love to repurpose and re...

I have made one of these in the past and it proved very difficult to get right, It was only after I made it that I thought of better ways to do it. So decided to have another go with this table.

Step 1: Find an Old Table to Use

I had this old damaged veneer table at home, it had lots of dents and scratches and the ends had been cut off, so I decided to do it as a rustic table and added some distressing all over the table (I used the drill chuck to hit the table gave a nice pattern as well as the screw) to make it look better and not just like a damage table. My son made me the trough out of aluminium to fit into the center. Center the trough and mark out the position.

Step 2: Cutting Out the Centre for the Ice Trough

I cut the center out using a router. I set up a fence using scrap wood, so it would be easy for me to run the router around with less fuss. I used a 3/16" straight bit in the router. And did small passes with the router at a time.

Step 3: Add Trough to Table

I lined the trough up with the hole in the table and added some screws to keep it in place. I knew this was not going to be strong enough so I added some wood supports to hold the weight of all the ice and the drinks. I then needed a lip inside the trough for the lid to balance on. I added little hinges that I attached with pop rivets and then just added a piece of wood to give it a better cosmetic look.

Step 4: Attaching Pull Rings and Supports

I bought these pull rings from a boat shop so that you are able to lift the lid off easier. But then I ran into another issue. Because my table was so long, over 2 meters. The centre lid that I cut out had a bow in the middle when it was put on, so any weight added on the lid would break the lid. So I added some scrap lengths of wood to the underneath to strengthen the lid and stop the bowing in the centre.

Step 5: Hiding the Plywood

Because my table was plywood and I had exposed a lot of the edges, I used a wood veneer tape to hide the edges and make the table look like wood. This I did using my iron and an old piece of sheet. The veneer was lined up and covered with the old sheet and I used the hot iron to attach it to the table, and used a craft knife to cut away the excess. I then sanded down my table ready for staining.

Step 6: Staining My Table

After I sanded down the table, I realized that the legs were real wood and had beautiful markings on them and being a big hater of painting furniture when not necessary I decided to go for a two tone color. I used dark mahogany on the base and the trim and Unicorn spit for the color. To get the color I used 3 part blue thunder + 1 part dragon belly and 30% water. I added two coats of varnish and made so simple benches to make the table more appealing to the buyer.

Step 7: Adding Drainage

To drain the trough after use of all the water, I drilled a small hole and use a cork to block the hole.

To see more of my work to go to



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My son made it, he works for a building company. I company that makes sheds and fences in our area are happy to make them.

I can see something like this done on a picnic table. Cool!

1 reply

Yes I agree, would be much easier.

Really like the color on the surface. Can't really see the distressing on the top with the bright color. Is it very noticeable in person? Benches look great, too. Got another Instructable for those? Thanks for sharing!

2 replies

Sorry just understood what you ment. Yes there is another instructable for the benches just go to my page on this site. thanks

The distressing is not that noticeable the stain and the varnish seems to hide alot. I have made another one of these if you go to my page and zoom in on the benches you will be able to see a better image of how the distressing looks. What other info did you want on the table was not sure what you ment in the comment.

Very nice table. I love the color. The only thing missing where more details in the form if photos of the various steps. Like how you routed top and photos of the progress, etc.

1 reply

Thank you. I will remember for my next build to take more pictures.

Thank you, very nice to hear people like my projects :)