How to Replace a Broken Glass Patio Table Top (without Glass!)




About: We are a family of six who left the city to live and grow on 20 acres. We like to make things and reuse things and build from the land. Enjoy!

Our patio table flipped over during a severe thunderstorm. The glass table top shattered all over the place and left us with only a metal frame and a huge mess to clean up.

Instead of spending a fortune on a new glass table top (which may end up getting smashed in a future storm), we built a new table top that looks great and is less expensive than glass and can be fully customized to your design taste.

Here is what you need to Replace your broken glass patio table top:

1. 4' x 8' piece of plywood or particle board. One that is outdoor rated would be best.

2. 4' x 8' Twin Wall Polycarbonate, 6mm MultiLite Clear. We bought this at Menards. It was around $30-$40 and it says it is used for greenhouse walls. It looks kind of like plastic cardboard.

3. 4' x 8.5' vinyl fabric. Make it a bit longer than 8' so that you can wrap the edges under. We bought this at walmart- it is vinyl and somewhat waterproof and had a nice pattern.

4. Screws. Make sure to get screws just a bit longer than the width of your plywood. Also the Polycarbonate sheeting has screws with rubber gaskets to prevent water from leaking through. Pick up some of those when you get the Polycarbonate sheeting (at our Menards these screws were sold right next to the Polycarbonate sheeting)

5. A drill and Stapler

Step 1: Attach the Plywood to the Table Frame

Place the plywood flat on the ground. Turn the patio table frame upside down, on top of the plywood. This way you can easily make sure the plywood is centered on the frame with even spacing on each side.

Next we need to attached the Plywood to the Table Frame. You could drill through the metal table frame in order to make holes for the screws to attach the frame to the plywood... OR most patio tables have little tabs sticking out around the inside of the frame with holes in them (see image). These holes normally have little rubber pieces that the glass would rest on. Pop these rubber pieces out and you have some perfect sized holes to screw the frame securely to the plywood! Just make sure you have a screw at the proper length to dig into the plywood but NOT go all the way through. That proper length depends on the thickness of the plywood you decide to use.

Step 2: Apply the Vinyl Cloth to the Table Top

Now that your table base is securely fastened to the plywood top, flip the table back over so that it is right side up. Now is the time to fit the Vinyl Cloth to the table top.

The Vinyl Cloth is a bit stretchy. If your cloth has a pattern make sure that it is straight. Make sure to overlay the cloth evenly around each side of the plywood. Keep in mind that in a later step you will be securing the cloth to the underside of the table top with staples.

Once your cloth is in position move onto the next step.

Step 3: Secure the Polycarbonate Sheet Down

Now that your vinyl fabric is perfectly in place, you can secure your Polycarbonate/plastic sheet down on top.

Be sure to remove the plastic cling wrap from each side of the Polycarbonate and to remove any stickers or price tags. Make sure to place the Polycarbonate straight and square above the plywood/vinyl. Both the Polycarbonate and Plywood are the same size (4' by 8') so they should line up perfectly.

Once the plywood and Polycarbonate are lined up, secure the Polycarbonate with the special screws that are sold with it. These screws have a bit of rubber under each so that they won't allow water to leak through. Shop around and try to find some screws with the rubber that are flat heads. We only had hex heads (as seen in the photos) but we plan to find some flat heads and replace the hex heads so they are nice and flat to the table.

Don't over tighten your screws. Tighten just enough to squish the rubber washer down a bit. The screws will go through the Polycarbonate and through the vinyl and into the plywood. Make sure your screws are the proper length (depending on the depth of plywood you use) You don't want the screws to be too long and stick out of the bottom.

Step 4: Tighten and Staple the Vinyl Underneath the Table

For this final step we found it easiest to flip the table upside down one last time. With the table upside down, you can fold over any excess vinyl from the earlier step. Fold it tight to the underside of the tabletop and secure with some staples.

Step 5: Enjoy Your New Table!

Once completed you have a new, heavy duty table. It is also safer because it won't shatter if you get a big storm. The final benefit is that you can really customize your design based on the fabric you select. You could go with a solid color or use a pattern like we did.

Enjoy! We also made this as a YouTube video you can see here:

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    7 Discussions


    2 years ago the final look and the 'ible! Great job!


    2 years ago

    Great job! Jenell you are so cute with your Wisconsin Accent! :) Love it! Great table. :) Awesome instructable. I was wondering how much that stuff thanks.

    1 reply
    homestead howHollyMann

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi Holly, thank you...didn't know I had an accent LOL

    For the whole project it was around $40 dollars. The table cloth was a little under $8 from Walmart and the plastic was purchased from Menards with their 11% rebate deal for under $40 (minus the rebate).

    Fun project, works great and easy clean up.


    2 years ago

    Also, the goats make it pretty interesting to watch :)


    2 years ago

    It looks great and would be so easy to clean with that vinyl top!

    2 replies
    homestead howwold630

    Reply 2 years ago

    Yes- the poly top is super easy to clean- plus the table is now somewhat larger than the prior glass table. We didnt think about it until after- but the extra space is nice..w e can fit two extra chairs on each side now.


    Reply 2 years ago

    it is not the vinyl top that makes it easy to clean, it is the clear polycarbonate top that makes it easy to clean. The vinyl is just decorative and hides the possible knots on the plywood surface. They did not use furniture grade plywood because it is not weather resistant. Nice simple project.