Simple Side Table

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

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    Tip 4 years ago

    to help cut a straighter line with the jigsaw you can clamp a length of wood to the board, allowing you to run the edge of the jigsaw foot (rather than the blade itself) against that and get an easy smooth line. it isn't flawless as there is always a degree of flex in the jigsaw blade, but as long as you don't rush too much, you normally get a reasonable result


    Reply 4 years ago

    i did not have clamps, ordered them now... i wanot sure if it will work, thanks for confirming...


    Tip 4 years ago

    'quote of paint' should read 'coat of paint'


    Reply 4 years ago

    thanks, made corrections