Introduction: Cheap DIY Dining Table

We work on a lot of different projects throughout the year. In fact, we have a long list of a multitude of projects that we want to make. The problem is, there aren't enough hours in the day. One project that has been on our list for a long time is a new dining room table. We had made one a few years back that got us by, but we wanted to make something that was better; both aesthetically and functionally.

The design we came up with consists of a base that was constructed using two boxes that were attached to each other with arches on both sides. The idea for the top, from the beginning, was to make it like a counter top. This would make for easy cleanup, plus it looks nice. We wanted to keep the total cost of the table (minus the benches) to under $100 or at least around that number. We were successful. The total cost of the table was around $93 and breaks down like this:

  • Sheet of 1/2 MDF - $18
  • Sheet of 5/8 Particle Board - $15
  • Contact Cement - $10
  • Laminate Sheet - $25
  • Pine Board - $7
  • Corner Trim - $3
  • Misc. Items (stuff we had on hand, but some may not - screws, nails, etc.) - $15

Unlike most of our projects, in which we post photos and details, we have opted to do separate daily videos in an effort to show and explain more of each step. Following is a day-to-day breakdown of how we made it, how it progressed and some of the issues that we ran into.

Also included with this project are a set of plans that you can download on our website.

Step 1: Quick Overview of the Build

This is the final cut of the entire build process. In this video nothing is explained, but a general overview of the process can be seen. If you would like a more in-depth look at the entire build process continue on to the following steps.

Step 2: Cutting the Materials to the Correct Dimensions

Day one was spent getting all the materials (mostly the 1/2" MDF) for the boxes cut to the proper dimensions. To find out exactly what these dimensions are, you can get the plans on our website. In the plans there is a page that consists of the cut list for the MDF with a layout so you can get all of the pieces for the base out of one sheet.

Step 3: Constructing the Boxes for the Base

The base consists of two boxes that are attached to each other via two arches. Building the boxes is fairly simple, but does require some inner bracing since the material is 1/2" thick. In this video we'll visit how we started the construction of the boxes.

Step 4: Finishing the Boxes and Making the Arches

Day three consisted of finishing out the boxes for the most part; filling in nail and screw holes as well as seams. We were also able to tackle making the arches that bring the two boxes together. Any bendable object such as a ruler or pvc pipe could be used to layout the arch. We used a piece of 3/4" pex line.

Step 5: Adding the Arches

Day four brought about some struggles. In my mind, I saw the boxes being able to be fastened with the bracing alone. I was sadly mistaken. The solution was to run some bracing along the outside to fasten the arches to the boxes. It ended up working extremely well and the whole base is very solid.

Step 6: Applying Laminate to Particle Board

On day five we tackled the part of the project we were looking most forward to. On this day we were able to get the laminate glued to the particle board. In the plans that we are offering for download there are dimensions for this, but no layout for cutting it from the sheet of particle board. They are fairly simple cuts.

Using the contact cement can be tricky. The key is to coat both the top of the particle board and the back of the laminate generously. You have to let it sit for about 20 minutes or so, until it is just tacky and not wet. Once it is ready it is a good idea to set some spacers in place so the laminate doesn't touch the particle board right away, because once it grabs it grabs good. Once the spacers are down (like dowels or thin scrap wood), line up the laminate where you want it and then pull the spacers out. Then you will need to roll the laminate with some decent force using a laminate roller. Always roll it from the center moving outward.

Step 7: Adding Trim to the Base

Initially we wanted to boxes to just be boxes, but as we progressed we decided that we wanted the base to look more like fancy columns or pillars. We were also concerned with the corners and edges of the MDF getting dented. To remedy this and make it look nicer, we added trim around the edges made out of pine. If you download the plans, there is nothing in them that references the trim, since it was an afterthought. Making and applying the trim is fairly easy and can be cut from standard pine boards or you can just buy trim for it at a big box store.

Step 8: Corner Trim and Paint

Day 7 was basically just adding the rest of the trim and then priming the whole base and painting it. Pretty simple.

Step 9: Finishing Up

Day 8 was the final day and the most fun of all of them. This was the day it all came together. Here is a breakdown of what we did that day.

We attached the remaining piece of particle board that was left over from the initial piece. This is just cut so that it hangs over the edge of the base by an inch or so. Nothing super difficult. It is then attached to the base from the top with screws. Make sure the screws are countersunk so that the table top will sit flat on top of it.

We also made the trim for the table top this day as well. It was made from ripped down pieces of pine. They are two inch wide pieces that are rounded on the bottom edge and chamfered on the top. They are also sanded, primed and painted. All the corners were mitered and attached to the edge of the table top using brad nails.

It might seem like a long process to make this table, but it really wasn't. We were only able to work on it for about an hour or so a day. If you had a free weekend, you could probably knock it out in two days easily.

If you have any questions, you can hit us up in the comments on here or you can contact us on our website or YouTube. Thanks for checking this project out.

Home Improvement Contest 2017

Participated in the
Home Improvement Contest 2017