Introduction: Simple Side Table

Hi All,

I needed a side table for my living room, and wanted to make one but limited tools... In this instructable I will share how I made one without using expensive tools. As simple design that even beginners can use.

Step 1: What Do We Need ?


  • 3/4" MDF or Plywood
  • L - Bracket (12)
  • 3/4" screws (80)
  • Wood Primer
  • Brown Oil Paint
  • Sand paper (80 , 180, 220 Grit)
  • Paint Brush 2"
  • Paint thinner


  • Jigsaw
  • Plane tool
  • Drill ( 2mm wood bit)
  • Screwdriver

Step 2: Design

My neighbor got custom furniture at their house and these planks were left over. Some of them were 3/4" and few 1/8". And you will notice that the table top is 24.5" x 20.5", which is non standard or not an integer. The idea is to work with what you have and reuse them as much as I could..

  • I had to design a table that would utilize these varied sizes and thickness.
  • I am using 3/4" thickness as table top and legs.
  • While using 1/8" as connecting or supporting bars

Please refer to the image for dimensions.

Step 3: Legs - Cutting


  • Legs are of 3" X 18"
  • Draw the legs on the plank ( 3/4" thickness )
  • We need 8 of these and may have to use multiple planks to get the required quantity

Support Bars

  • We need 4 support bars of 2" x 14.75" ( 1/8" thickness)
  • And 4 support bars of 2" x 18.75" ( 1/8" thickness

I use Jigsaw to cut these, perform sawing with eye/ears/nose protections. As aware jigsaw cuts are not straight, use "plane tool" us get better edge. POst that sand it using 80 grit sandpaper

Step 4: Legs - Frame

  • We need to make rectangular frames for each side
  • 2 of these sides are smaller and 2 are larger
  • The supporting bars on smaller sides are offset by 1/8" on both sides, this is to make sure to joint can overlap inside
  • Using L brackets joint adjacent frames, using numbers to remember that which piece goes together
  • I have used 2mm drill bit to pre drill all holes, this helps when fixing a screw for the brackets or joins
  • My planks had laminates on both sides, so cannot use wood glue
  • And hence I have added L brackets and supporting bars for strength and stability

Step 5: Table Top

As mentioned, I am utilizing the left over planks, I had 24.5" x 20.5" plank which I used for the table top.

  • Round of the corners using jigsaw ( 1" radius)
  • Mix wood glue and sawdust and fill holes/ cuts or any imperfectness on the wood, let it to dry for 3 hrs
  • Do not fix the table top, we want to do painting first and it is easier this way

Step 6: Paint Job

In my living room all the other furniture is shades on brown and hence decided to paint this brown

  • We need to sand the laminate with 80 grit and then with 180 sandpaper to create a rough surface that will bind with primer
  • Sides that are not laminated needs to sanded upto 220 grit
  • Wipe everything using a damp cloth ( lint free cloth )
  • Using wood primer, cover all surfaces ( add thinner as manufacturer's recommendation)
  • Let it dary for 3 to 4 hrs, after which sand all surface using 220 grit
  • Wipe using damp cloth
  • Paint using brown oil paint ( add thinner, but not too much)
  • One coat on Table top and 2 coats on the legs
  • Wait 24 hrs for the paint to dry. Place the table in a ventilated area, as oil paint needs oxidize to dry
  • Invert the legs to paint the missed areas

Step 7: Fix Table Top

  • Using L brackets fix the table top as shown,
  • Use number to remember which bracket goes where and in what sequence
  • We did just one coat of paint on the table top, because, while fixing we would have scratched something
  • Do the second coat of the paint after the top is fixed to the legs
  • Remember to paint from under side too

Final table is ready !!!!!

Please share your comments and tips