Introduction: Simple DIY End Table for $10

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This great little end table is made entirely out of a quarter sheet of plywood, which costs only $10, if you cut up from a full sheet, or $20 if you buy the pre-sized 2' x 4' sheet at the home improvement store.

The design is really simple, but very nice and it's an easy build utilizing a nail gun and a drill.

Perfect for anywhere really, an end table is great to keep next to your chair or sofa, to put in an unused corner, or even to use as a nightstand. Let's get building!

Step 1: Materials Needed

You're going to need the following cuts out of 3/4" cabinet grade plywood, I used poplar:

  • 4 @ 1.5" x 24" (38 x 610mm) - legs
  • 4 @ 3/4" x 24" (19 x 610mm) - legs
  • 2 @ 1 3/8" x 13 1/2" (35 x 343mm) - rails
  • 2 @ 1 3/8" x 10" (35 x 250mm) - rails
  • 1 @ 11 1/2 x 13 3/8 (292 x 340mm) - shelf
  • 1 @ 14" x 16" (356 x 406mm) - top
  • 4 @ 3/4" x 3/4" - (19 x 19mm) -shelf support

Another nice, but not necessary addition is edge banding. I cut up some thin 3/4" strips of pine, however you could use traditional edge banding, metal or whatever you want.


  • table saw or circular saw (or have the home improvement store cut all the wood for you, they might charge a small fee, but it would totally be worth it if you don't have a saw)
  • nail gun
  • drill

Let's start with cutting up the wood.

Step 2: Legs & Rails

Then let's assemble the legs. So take a 1 1/2 inch piece, put down some glue and attach a 3/4 inch piece with a nail gun. Then repeat for the remaining legs.

Glue and nail in the longer railing in between two legs. For the shorter sides, I'm using pocket screws, however you could also toenail in nails.

Step 3: Rails, Shelf & Top

Once the legs are attached to the rails, I measure out 5 inches, where I glue and nail in the 3/4 inch square pieces, which will act as support for the shelf.

Then gluing and nailing in the shelf as well.

To attach the top, I'm countersinking holes, then putting down some glues, and screwing the top down.

And the table is assembled!

Step 4: Spackling, Sanding & Painting

Now, since I'm using plywood, I'm putting down drywall spackle on all the end grain to smoothen it out, except the end grain on the top. Using spackle makes a huge difference in the end, and you won't be able to tell this is plywood once it's sanded and painted.

Then a good sanding job with fine sandpaper and painting the base with a white flat paint & primer in one. Now, I'm making sure to not get any paint on the top.

Step 5: Edgebanding

Now, to cover the edges of the top, I cut up some 1/8 inch thin 3/4 inch wide pine, this actually works really great and you can cut to make it fit perfectly around. Then glue sparingly to eliminate squeeze out, and staple in.

Step 6: Staining & Finishing

For the top I'm using a red mahogany gel stain. Using a gel stain here is nice since it eliminates getting any splatters on the white base. I ended up putting on two coats, with a slightly thicker ring around the outskirts of the table to create the illusion of wear in the middle.

Once the stain had completely dried, I sprayed the entire table using a waterbased top coat with an HVLP sprayer. This is really nice if you have the option, otherwise just brush on the topcoat. It's really nice to use a waterbased polyurethane if you're finishing a white piece of furniture, since oil based tends to leave a yellow tint.

After two coats, and plenty of time to dry, I finished the top with a linseed oil beeswax polish which protects the top further and provides a really nice smooth finish.

Step 7: Finished!

And there you have it, a very simple, great looking end table made entirely out of a quarter sheet of plywood, pretty cool! You could easily customize the size and shape of this table to make it fit your needs.

Step 8: Conclusion - Watch the Video!

For a much better perspective make sure to watch this quick how-to video on how to build this end table!