Updated: Aug 31, 2022
No seating area is complete without a surface to rest your icy drink upon! In Part 4 of our Outdoor Design Series I'll walk you through how to make a slide-under cocktail (or anything else you want to put on it) table with a herringbone top - which looks way more complicated than it actually is, I promise.
Are you more of a step-by-step person who likes actual written instructions? Check out the PDF plans for this project that includes a materials and cut list, detailed diagrams, photos, and easy-to-follow instructions.
Drill with bits
Nail gun (or hammer)
Table saw (optional - I used this to rip the 2x4s to 1/2" strips - if you're using 1x2s this isn't necessary)
Sandpaper (80, 120 and 220 grit)
2 1/2" pocket screws
Pocket hole plugs
1" brad nails
2" x 2" (for the frame)
1/2" plywood or similar (for the herringbone top base)
1/2" strips (for the herringbone top - I cut down scrap 2x4s to give me 1/2" thick pieces that were 1.5" wide, but you could use 1x2s and it would give you similar dimensions)
Step 1 - Design & Shop
Design your table! Now is the time to figure out your exact dimensions, what wood (or other materials if you're so inclined), and how you want to finish your table. For reference my table is 2'-2 3/4" H x 1'-1 3/4" W x 1'-6 1/4" D.
Now that you've figured out the details of your table, head to your favorite home improvement store and pick up your materials. Wood, screws (we used pocket screws and our Kreg jig), paint/stain, etc.
Step 2 - Cut & Sand Frame, Assemble the Herringbone Top
I cut the 2x2s to make the frame and used a leftover piece of 1/2" plywood to cut the herringbone base.
I used leftover 2x4s cut down to 1/2" strips to make the herringbone table top strips. If this was a standard size dining table I would have used 1x6s and simply laid them flat. However, I wanted a smaller cut and was trying to use some of the scrap wood in the garage so I ripped down 2x4 pieces to 1/2" thick by 1 1/2" wide. You could also use 1x2s to give you a very similar effect since 1x2 wood is actually 3/4" thick and 1 1/2" wide.
Take the plywood tabletop base, draw a line exactly in the center. Measure from the centerline to the edge of the table to get a ballpark figure of how long the pieces need to be - you'll want them to overhang the outside of the table by a little bit so there is enough material to give you a smooth, even cut. I like to do a dry run with the herringbone pieces, just to make sure didn't mess anything up. Home Like You Mean It's article DIY Herringbone Table: your step-by-step guide is a great place to do a deep dive on all the angles, measurements and math that goes into a herringbone tabletop and they do a great job of explaining it in a simple, easy to understand manner.
Once I had the herringbone slats correctly cut and angled, I secured them with wood glue and 1" finish nails before filling the nail holes with outdoor appropriate wood filler. I let the glue dry for 24 hours before cutting the edges of the herringbone slats flush with the outside of the base and sanding the pieces level.
Step 3 - Paint/Stain
Note: I prefer painting and staining ahead of time because I feel like it gives me a cleaner, more uniform finish but some people prefer to paint/stain after assembling. It's totally up to you!
If you're doing a paint and stain combo, I recommend staining first. Stain is easier to cover with paint if you mess up a spot, especially if you use a dark color like I did. Follow the manufacturer directions for your paint/stain for coat and recoating - don't skimp on the dry time in between. If you're planning on using this outdoors, make sure you use appropriate outdoor paint and stain.
Step 4 - Assemble
Now is the time to put it all together!
Pre-drill your pocket holes and assemble the frame using 2 1/2" pocket screws.
Attach the herringbone top to the frame.
Fill the pocket holes using pocket hole plugs (you could also use wood filler) and touch up the paint.
Step 5 - Style and Enjoy!
All done! Pretty simple right? Now it just needs a place of honor...
...on the back deck! Perfect sidled up to my custom daybed holding my iPad during facetime chats with my bestie and that oh-so-important glass of wine. The black and pecan finish coordinates with the rest of the deck pieces, bringing warmth and depth to the space.
If you make your own we'd love to see it! Tag us on Instagram @reddesignedinteriors and #reddesignedtutorials
Want to build your own but don't have time right now? Save this pin for later!