Free woodworking plans to build a DIY coffee table.
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This project was actually a bit nostalgic – the very first piece of furniture that I built was a DIY coffee table. I made SO many mistakes and had to redo things over and over until I got it right. But, let me tell ya, it was worth the hassle. Who knew that 3 years later I’d be writing my own plans. I guess you never really know what you’re getting yourself into when you start something new!
This coffee table is pretty similar to that first one I built (original plans from Ana White), but I changed up the dimensions and style a little.
Enjoy the plans!
Tools & Supplies
- Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
- 2 1/2″ Pocket Hole Screws (I use Spax – just make sure you use self-tapping)
- 1 1/4″ Self-Tapping Screws
- Miter Saw
- Brad Nailer
- 1 1/4″ Finish Nails
- 2″ Finish Nails
- Orbital Sander
- Tape Measure
- Wood Glue
- Speed Square
- Safety Glasses
- Ear Protection
- 2 | 2 x 6 @ 8′
- 2 | 2 x 4 @ 8′
- 2 | 2 x 2 @ 8′
- 2 | 1 x 4 @ 8′
- 1 | 3/4″ x 1/2″ Trim Stop (available in the trim aisle OR you can cut it out of a 1x board with a table-saw or circular saw)
- 4 | 2 x 4 @ 17″ (legs)
- 4 | 2 x 4 @ 17″ (side frame)
- 4 | 2 x 2 @ 24 1/2″ (front & back frame)
- 4 | 2 x 2 @ 14 3/8″ with 25 degree parallel miter (side truss)
- 2 | 3/4″ x 1/2″ Trim @ 24 1/2″ (bottom shelf cleat)
- 6 | 1 x 4 @ 17″ (bottom shelf)
- 4 | 2 x 6 @ 35 1/2″ (tabletop)
Attach the 2×4 frame boards to the legs as shown with wood glue and 2 1/2″ pocket holes. For the top 2x4s – place the pocket holes on the top side so the tabletop will hide them. For the bottom 2x4s – place the pocket holes on the bottom so you won’t be able to see them easily. Use two pocket holes on each end of the 2x4s for a secure joint with the legs.
Build two frames.
Join the side frames together with the 2×2 frame boards. Align the top 2x2s flush with the top of the legs, and position the bottom 2x2s 1″ from the bottom of the legs (as shown in the diagram).
Use wood glue and 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. Again, place pocket holes on the top of the top 2x2s and the bottom of the bottom 2x2s to best hide them. Use two pocket holes on each end of the boards.
Attach the 2×2 truss boards to the side frame with wood glue and 2″ finish nails. Center the 2x2s along the 2×4 frame. Position the 2x2s with the bottom of the boards tight against the inside of the legs + bottom 2×4 and the top tight against the top 2×4. This will leave a small gap between 2x2s along the top of the frame.
If your cuts aren’t perfect for the truss boards, it’s not a big deal. Just move them around until they’re tight in the frame. The gap at the top doesn’t have to be any specific measurement.
Do one 2×2 at a time – apply wood glue on the ends, then put the 2×2 in place. Once you like how it fits, hold the 2×2 in place while you drive 2″ finish nails through the 2×4 frame into the 2×2. Make sure to drive the nails at a slight angle so they don’t go through the other side of the 2×2, but keep your hands clear just in case a nail goes through. Drive two finish nails into each end.
**If you don’t own a finish nailer – you can just drive screws through the frame into the 2x2s.
Repeat for both sides.
Time for the bottom shelf cleats. I used a 1/2″ x 3/4″ trim stop from Menards:
If you can’t find a trim stop, you can always cut one from a 1x board with a table saw or circular saw. If you don’t own a table saw or circular saw, consider attaching the slats with pocket holes (see the alternative method explained below, just before step 5).
Attach 3/4″ x 1/2″ cleats to the inside of both of the bottom 2×2 frame boards with wood glue and 1 1/4″ screws. I used three screws for each cleat (one on either end and one in the middle).
Position the cleats with the 3/4″ side against the 2x2s and the 1/2″ side facing upwards. The actual dimensions of a 2×2 is 1 1/2″, so align the 3/4″ cleat with the bottom of the 2x2s to leave 3/4″ for the 1×4 slats (1 1/2″ – 3/4″ = 3/4″).
Space the bottom shelf slats 1/2″ apart and attach them to the cleats with 1 1/4″ finish nails.
**Alternative Method: If you prefer, you can attach the 1×4 slats with pocket holes. Drill the pocket holes along the bottom of each 1×4, line them up with the top of the 2×2 frame and attach with wood glue 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.
**Handy Tip: I recommend sanding and staining the 1×4 slats before attaching them so you don’t have to try to reach between each one. It’s much easier.
To build the table top, stagger pocket holes along the 2x6s and join them together with wood glue and 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. Face three pocket holes one way and two the opposite way for a solid joint all the way down the boards.
Once you’ve built the tabletop, center it over the coffee table frame and attach it.
I simply drove 2 1/2″ screws through the bottom of the 2x2s into the tabletop to attach it. Feel free to use whatever method you prefer.
Sand and stain as desired!
I stained this coffee table with Varathane Dark Walnut and sealed it with Varathane glossy water-based polyurethane (both available at Home Depot).
Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Thanks for stopping by!
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Thursday 22nd of April 2021
Love this coffee table design, thanks for posting the plans. I was thinking about doing this and adding a middle tier exactly like the bottom level. I'd love to have two vertical divisions in the table--baskets on the bottom and an open area for the uppermost level.
I was wondering if you could think of anything I'm missing with that idea? Aside from the cleats being visible from the side on that middle tier, do you think adding it would work? Any way you can think of the disguise the cleat?
Thanks a ton! Kyle
Monday 26th of April 2021
It's tough to visualize exactly what you mean, but I recommend starting with main outside frame and then play around with different ways to frame out the middle section.