I wanted a cheap coffee table, so I went to Ikea and picked up a Lack coffee table for $20. It was a little plain, so I decided to customize it a little.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
IKEA Lack Coffee Table ($20)
12 ft. 1x6 boards ($10)
Bag of concrete ($3) (I used standard quikrete concrete. For a smoother finish you may want to try masonry concrete)
Wood stain (Your choice. I used golden oak)
Wood finish (There is usually satin, semi-gloss, and gloss. Again your choice)
Saw (Table, circular, jig, whatever you're comfortable with. I used a table saw)
Concrete polisher (hand pads or angle grinder)
Step 2: Cut the Wood
The original dimensions of the table surface were 21.5 in by 35.5 in. I wanted a 1 in overhang around the edge, so the outer dimensions of the wood were 23.5 in by 37.5 in. Measure and cut your wood at 45 degree angles. The longer edge should be equal to the outer dimensions. If its not exactly 45 degrees, its okay, we'll fix it later.
Step 3: Glue the Wood and Fill in the Gaps
Scuff up the surface of the table a bit so the glue will adhere better. Then apply a liberal amount of glue onto the table and place the pieces of wood down. Try to line them up as closely as you can. I had a lot of trouble here because my cuts were not exactly 45 degrees.
Once the pieces are on the table, clamp them in place so they don't move while they are drying. After clamping, I used some wood filler to fill in any imperfections in the wood and the small gaps between the pieces. Then I let the whole thing dry for a few hours. Once everything was dry I sanded off any excess wood filler.
Step 4: Stain the Wood
You could probably wait until after the concrete is dry to stain the wood, but you might get some stain on the concrete. I choose a golden oak color for my stain. I thought it looked good with the black table. You can choose whatever finish you like!
Step 5: Mix and Pour the Concrete
Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the mixing, but I basically just followed the directions on the bag. Then using a concrete trowel I scooped concrete into the center and spread it as evenly as possible. I also tried to use a long 2x4 to scrape across the top to even everything out, but it didn't work very well for me. I think the concrete was too thick. After the concrete is to your liking, let it dry overnight.
Step 6: Finishing
After the concrete has dried for a few days (the bag said it takes about 5 days to fully cure) all that's left to do is sand and finish the table. Thankfully the wood was already smooth, so I just used a high grit (300 grit) sandpaper for a silky smooth finish.
After drying, the concrete was a little rough. Unfortunately, I didn't have any concrete sanding supplies, so I just ended up using some 80 grit sandpaper. It worked a little bit, mostly just got rid of the really rough spots. The concrete wasn't perfectly smooth, but it was good enough. I think the rough surface gives it some character. You could use a smoother concrete, like masonry concrete or maybe even concrete resurfacer for a smoother surface.
After all the sanding, I applied a few coats of semi-gloss polycrylic protective finish. After it was dry, my new table was completely done! The picture doesn't really do it justice. The lighting in that room was not the best.