This coffee table is made from recycled car magazines. Now obviously you can use whatever kinds of magazines you're into. I chose to use old car ads from the magazines and it created a really fun mosaic. This isn't a super difficult project but it will take some time and patience. I'm sure there are a few ways of doing this but this is how I did it and it turned out great!
Be sure to watch the video to see exactly how I did it!
- Magazines or similar of your choice
- Epoxy resin - http://lddy.no/9r45 - affiliate link
- Mod Podge - https://amzn.to/2QiSbqV - affiliate link
- One sheet of plywood or MDF
- 2x4 or scraps for leg system
- Plywood scraps for legs to table fitment
- Optional LED lights for table underglow - https://amzn.to/353fkln - affiliate link
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Magazines
This is where the fun starts. Make sure you choose images and pages from magazines that you really like! This could be totally random or you could create a theme. Ideas could be cars, woodwork, fashion, adventure, you name it!
- Collect your magazines
- Remove the pages you want for your project
- Cut them in whatever fashion you want
- Make sure you'll have enough
Step 2: Cutting Plywood
Let's get the plywood ready to glue all the magazine clippings. We will need a total of 5 pieces. The top, and 4 side pieces.
- Grab your 4x8 sheet of plywood or MDF
- Cut it in half so your top piece is 48"x48"
- Cut the other half into 4 pieces of 12" or as close as you can get to 12"
Keep in mind the side pieces will only be the height of your magazine pages. We are giving ourselves a little room to trim the pieces to the final height after we glue/epoxy.
Step 3: Magazine Glue Up
For my coffee table, I used Mod Podge. I've seen many people use it for projects like these and people seem to really like it. Keep in mind the Mod Podge bled through some of the magazines and changes the look of the clippings a little bit. If you don't want to have a look like this, I recommend using a different kind of adhesive. Perhaps a spray glue or something that might not be as wet when it goes on.
- Apply Mod Podge to the surface of the wood
- Place your magazine clippings on the surface
- When all your pieces are on the wood, apply another layer of Mod Podge
- Repeat steps on all 5 pieces of plywood
- Don't worry about magazines overhanging, we can always cut these off later
Step 4: Epoxy Resin
When your pieces are completely dry, it's time for Epoxy Resin! This is one of my favorite parts but it's also the most important so be sure to take your time! A clean and warm shop is a must. We want the epoxy to be able to cure correctly and without dust in it.
- Put down a plastic sheet wherever you're going to be doing the epoxy resin
- Prop up all 5 pieces to allow the edges to flow with epoxy
- Mix your epoxy following the directions of whatever product you use
- Pour a nice thick coat on all of your pieces
- Use a torch to pop any bubbles that come to the surface
- Let it cure for a couple of days
Step 5: Trim Pieces
Now that the epoxy resin is cured and dry on your pieces, let's clean it up!
- Set a table saw to your final desired width for your 4 side pieces
- Trim accordingly
- Cut 45-degree cuts along the top and sides of your 4 side pieces
- These cuts are for the seamless edges when they all fit together
- Using a circular saw and a straight edge, cut a 45-degree angle on all 4 sides of the top piece
Always remember to double-check your measurements before you cut. Square cuts will make a square table!
Step 6: Table Glue-Up
The moment of truth! We need to glue our table together! Now, this is one of those steps that you could totally come up with a better way of doing it. I unfortunately don't' have enough clamps to use on a project like this so I improvised. Using painters tape and weight ended up working quite well.
- Add two stop blocks on two side pieces that are going to be parallel from one another (4 stop blocks)
- Glue and screw these pieces making sure there's room for the 45-degree angles to sandwich together
- These pieces will allow for stronger corners and not allow the pieces to slide all over while gluing
- Apply glue to all your edges
- Sandwich them together using painters tape
- Apply weight on top for proper glue squeeze
- Let it dry
Remember this is definitely not the best way but I was in a slight pinch and it worked quite well in my case. Using proper clamp techniques would most likely be better.
Step 7: Sanding & Floodcoat
Let's get this baby smooth! If you like how your table is looking, you could possibly skip this step. Before you make that decision, know that this step allows the epoxy to get into any cracks that might exist between your 5 pieces. This will help stiffen the table up in that regard and create an even thicker surface. Be mindful when adding flood coats to the side pieces as drips can take a long time to sand down and cleanup.
- Sand down the entire table with 250 grit or similar to allow for mechanical bond for epoxy
- Mix and apply flood coat following the directions of the epoxy resin of your choice
- Repeat steps to the 4 side pieces
- Avoid lots of drips by minimizing the amount of epoxy resin you pour
- When it cures, sand down the entire piece all the way up to 1000 grit
- Clean it off to make sure you like the finish
If you want a shiny surface, you don't have to sand down at this point. It could just use a good polish and you are probably good to go! I wanted a slightly matte finish so I did the sanding to get it there.
Step 8: Table Base
I made this table base out of scrap wood. I really didn't care what it looked like as long as it was strong and gave the table a "floating" look.
- Cut 4 pieces of 2x4 at 12 1/2" long
- Cut 2 pieces of 2x12 or similar at 35"
- Cut 2 pieces of 2x12 or similar at 32"
- Build a square with 32" and 35" pieces
- Attach the four 2x4 pieces to each corner of the square
- Cut eight 2" wide strips of plywood or similar at around 16" in length
- Flip over the table
- Center the base on the bottom of the table
- Place 2" strips on inside and outside of all 4 sides of the base
- Glue/nail or screw in place to create a perfect fit around the table to base
You can create any type of base you want. I created a two-part system so the table would be easy to move.
Step 9: Final Buff & LED's
Homestretch! LED strips are totally optional. The lights can help the floating portion of the coffee table stand out.
- Give the whole table final sand if it needs it
- Apply a finish of your choice (I used a wax finish (link in supplies))
- Stick on the LED light strips on the underside of the table
- Put the coffee table base in a place where it's going to go
- Place the coffee table on the base
Step 10: Enjoy!
Wahoo!!! This is a really fun project and can easily be customized however you'd like. Always remember to measure and plan it out before you dive in too quick! Measure twice, cut once! I like lower coffee tables so that explains the heigh I chose. It's also a massive surface that stands out in a room!
As always thank you so much reading, I hope you try and build something like this! Be sure to watch the video for a full walkthrough.
This is an entry in the