Do you ever find yourself scouring the internet for new furniture, only to land on and fall in love with THE MOST EXPENSIVE product on the site? Yeah, me too. All. The. Time. I have notoriously expensive taste, but I definitely don’t have the budget to match. It’s frustrating.
Now that our backyard reno is finally happening, I started searching all over the web for good deals on patio furniture. Sure I found some decently priced pieces, but most of those came with awful reviews. I want furniture that will last years and for that to happen, it’s going to need to withstand intense Arizona summers. My solution? DIY!
Once I realized it would be so much better (and cheaper) to build our own patio furniture, my searches went from retail sites to good ol’ Pinterest. There are so many awesome tutorials out there.
My husband and I chose to start with a DIY outdoor dining table since it would be the easiest thing to store until the yard is finished. The couches, bench, and privacy walls will come a little later. Luckily the husband is a very go-with-the-flow type of guy, so he was on board without needing much convincing.
While scrolling Pinterest, I fell in love with the Fancy X Farmhouse Table over at Shanty 2 Chic. Using Whitney’s tutorial along with Ana White’s plans, we were able to bust out our table’s base in 2 afternoons. This outdoor dining table would have been super simple and taken a lot less time, but we decided to build a different top than what was used in the plan. Because we’re fancy. And apparently like to challenge ourselves.
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DIY Outdoor Dining Table
So you want to build your own outdoor dining table? First, head over to Ana White’s plans and assemble your base. We followed everything in her plan except the table top, so we skipped purchasing the 4- 8′ 2x10s. If you’re going to follow her plan exactly, make sure you get those boards. They’re important.
Also, if you don’t already have a Kreg Jig pocket-hole kit, I highly recommend getting one. It’s such a nifty tool and will really come in handy for this project and almost any other wood project you intend to tackle in the future. Totally worth the investment!
After your base is fully assembled, fill any holes with wood putty and sand smooth. This is much easier to do before you attach the tabletop. Trust me.
We wanted the dimensions to be as close to Ana White’s original tabletop as possible. We decided to keep the width at 37″ and our length ended up a little bit longer than her 8 footer. It fits our table base perfectly.
Let’s Get Started
Table Top Supplies
- 15- 1×4 @ 6′ long
- 4- 1×4 @ 8′ long
- 4- 2×4 @ 8′ long
- finishing nails
- 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws
- 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws
- Gorilla wood glue
- electric sander (a must)
- speed square
- Kreg Jig
- wood filler
- wood stain
- top coat
Step One: Assemble the frame for the tabletop
We figured this out by a little bit of trial and error. My husband is a very visual person. So to help him understand what I was trying to explain, we laid all our boards out on the garage floor. We knew we wanted our top to be 8′ long, but to our surprise, 8′ long 2x4s aren’t actually 8′ long. *facepalm* To make up the difference, we put our width pieces on the ends of our length pieces, instead of inside them. This took our tabletop length measurement to 8’3″. Close enough for us!
We cut our end pieces to 37″ and left our [almost] 8′ boards uncut. We assembled the 2×4 frame with 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws, 2 on each end of the 3 length boards, 12 total. It’s important to make sure your frame is square, so take your time on this step. We then flipped the 2×4 frame over so that the pocket holes were underneath.
We attached the 4 1×4 8′ boards to the 2×4 frame using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. These will be the supports for the herringbone inlay, so they will be hidden. You can see in the picture above that we only used 5 pocket holes on each board. Now that our table is finished, we realized we should have added one more to each end to prevent any gaps between the frame and supports.
Notice the space above the 1×4? The 1×4 herringbone boards will fill that space to create a flat tabletop surface, level with the 2×4 frame.
Step 2: Attach Frame to Table Base
We centered the tabletop frame and supports on the base and secured it with deck screws (which will be hidden). We made sure to countersink all the screws so the herringbone boards would lay nice and flat on the supports. With 8 screws holding it in place on each end, this top isn’t going anywhere. Make sure not to eyeball the placement of the top when building your own. Measure all the way around and take your time until it’s centered.
Step 3: Measure, Cut, Repeat
Now this is where it gets interesting! This step was definitely the most time consuming. But worth it in the end. We cut the majority of our 1x4s to 18.5″ with both ends cut parallel at 45 degrees off square. To be honest, we didn’t actually measure each cut. We started with the first board cut at a 45, fit it in the space, lined it up on the other side, and drew a line with the speed square. Make sense?! Here, my amazing husband will demonstrate:
One end is cut at 45 degrees off square and placed on the center support. A scrap piece of wood and the speed square are lined up to create the new 45 degree cut line. This method made the process go pretty smoothly. We all know that there is no perfect board, so this allowed us custom fit each piece without a bunch of measuring and cutting mistakes. I recommend doing the same with your own tabletop so you can get the fit just right with each board. We do have some gaps where the 45 degree cuts didn’t line up perfectly with our 2×4 frame, but since this table will be outside in the elements, those gaps will come in handy for water drainage.
We cut and fit all of our 18.5″ boards first, and then went back to the ends to make those odd cuts to finish out the split herringbone design.
One thing that I wish we would have thought of before we started is to mix up the boards. We made 3 cuts on each 6′ 1×4 and put all 3 cut boards next to each other. We didn’t notice it until we stained, but you can totally tell which boards came from the same piece of wood. Mixing them up or cutting from multiple boards as we went would have given our table an even better finished look.
Step 4: Secure the Split Herringbone Inlay
It’s mostly smooth sailing from here on out! We popped each piece out of place, applied Gorilla wood glue to both support boards, and put the wood back in it’s spot. After each piece was glued, we went back with our Hitachi finish nailer and secured each board with 4 finishing nails.
Step 5: Fill and Sand
Before we could get to the fun part (staining) we had to fill all those nail and pocket holes. We applied the wood filler and waited overnight for it to dry. Once everything was plenty dry, we sanded the whole table smooth. We started with a coarse grit to level out any unevenness and worked our way up to fine to smooth it all out.
Step 1: Stain
Picking a stain color is HARD. We loved the look of Minwax Weathered Oak on the little sample they have in the store, but when I tried it on a piece of scrap 1×4, I hated it. It was way lighter than I had anticipated. So I did what any good DIY-er would do and made my own. I must have stained 12 boards before I came up with a concoction I loved.
A light-and-weathered look is what I was going for, with a tiny bit of warmth. I ended up using about 1 part Espresso, 3 parts Weathered Oak to create a color I was happy with. (no measuring here!) AND THEN to give it that weathered look I was after, I whitewashed the whole thing using a few tablespoons of light grey paint mixed with about 2 cups water. After the whole table was stained (I didn’t even wait for it to dry) I worked in tiny sections to apply the whitewash. I painted it on using a small brush and wiped it off with an old tee shirt before it had time to dry.
Step 2: Topcoat
Once the whitewash was dry, I finished the whole table off with 3 coats of Minwax Helmsman Spar Urathane. We went with a semi-gloss, but I think matte would have been better. The husband wanted gloss, so semi was our compromise. It’s a little more shiny than I would have liked, but it still looks great!
Step 3: Add a Little Detail
This step is completely optional, but we think it adds a sweet little touch. We found industrial steel brackets, spray painted them matte black, and attached them to all 4 corners.
This DIY outdoor dining table took us several weekends to finish and we are extremely happy with how it turned out. We’re very happy with the money saved and the time we spent working together. We’re also pretty impressed with ourselves for knocking out such a big project! I seriously stop and admire it every time I walk outside. I can’t wait until our yard is complete and we’re able to enjoy meals and drinks (Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, anyone?) around it with family and friends. That is after we build the benches to go with it, of course!
I hope my tutorial leaves you feeling confident enough to tackle this DIY outdoor dining table project yourself. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below! And as always, don’t forget to share!!