Introduction: Dominoes Covered Coffee Table

As my old coffee table was beginning to show the ravages of time on its surface, I began looking for a cheap yet unique way to save it.
A while ago my sister and I saw a dominoes covered table (also here) and really liked the idea, so when a local shop sold a pack of dominoes for 3$ I went and bought 12 packs of them and went to work.

Step 1: Materials

  • One table. To be lifted to new heights beyond the mundane for the glory of your living room.
  • Sets of dominoes. Each pack contains 28 of them and mine measured at (4.7 * 2.4)cm. (1.85" x 0.94")
  • Mighty glue. I used something called Montack by a company called Ceys that the guy at the shop recommended. for some reason the writing on it was in Spanish.

Optional but helpful:
  • A metal ruler or any straight object that will help move around the bricks when you do the pre gluing measures.
  • a Bucket, to put all your dominoes in.

Optional but unhelpful:
  • A cat. They like to sit on the table and mess up any test arrangements you made. Later they might try to peel off the glued dominoes.

Optional according to your situation
  • Sanding paper or a sander if your table surface is not smooth (like mine was)
  • Coloured Wood varnish and brush. Because I didn't cover the entire table, I wanted to restore some of the exposed areas.

Step 2: Preparations and Test Fittings

  • Sanding
I had to work on the surface of the table because it was a bit bumpy (do not leave hot dishes or liquids on a wooden table...) so the first thing was to sand the table using an orbital sander.
I didn't invest too much time into it because i knew i was going to paint it and of course cover it with dominoes.

  • Test fitting.
I suggest you play around with the dominoes placing before you start glueing. This helps you figure out any future problems.
It takes a bit of time but helps getting better results. Just drop the dominoes on the table - face up and start arranging them. For me this was when I learned that i didn't have enough dominoes to cover it all so I started creating various patterns - it also helps to see exactly how the table is covered so you wont be left with rough edges or missing blocks.
The ruler helps here a lot.

  • Applying coats of varnish.
Totally optional depending on the state of the table and whether or not you plan to cover it all.
I applied 4 layers which helped to hide most of the damaged areas (that were not to be covered by dominoes). Work in smooth strokes following the grains and allow to dry according to the instructions on the can,

Step 3: Placing the Dominoes

  • Create a guide column/row: According to your selected pattern and the test fitting, it helps if you begin glueing the dominoes in a manner that will create a core guide that you will follow. In my case I first created the middle column because everything else was to be aligned in relation to it.

Follow the instructions for the glue to make sure it stays. mine required me to glue the parts, separate them for a few minutes and them attach them again.

  • My glue was very much like paste so I had to make sure it wont flow to the outside as I placed the dominoes, my method was to smear it on the side adjacent to the previous row so any excess glue wont be smeared on the exposed table.
  • Not all dominoes are made alike.Our future Chinese overlords have a somewhat relaxed QA process when it comes to cheap items such as 3$ Dominoes sets. As a result there are some minute size variations in the bricks. Those minute variations could grow to big differences as you progress.Make sure that as you place each brick they are properly aligned and if needed, compensate for the size variations.

Step 4: Success!

This is the end of the work.
It took me about a day and a half including the varnish coating and numerous pauses.
I like it because it helped me make the table "mine" and unique. Plus the dominoes are serving as constant coaster.
Thanks to all who inspired this work and to my sister the QA by day, Designer whenever possible.