Liza Greis

Do-it-yourself projects and Home Decor

How to build a simple side table

I love making furniture! The smell of the wood when you cut it, the hum of power tools, and then seeing the end result is AWESOME! I think everyone should build something at least once. If I can sew then you can build :) Here is a table I made for my etsy store. I have a bunch more to make and then I am going to be making upholstered ottomans.Well, here’s the tutorial!


I bought a board that measured 18″ by 36″. I measured then drew a line down the middle so I would have 2 table tops measuring 18″ by 18″. You obviously only need one, but since I was planning on making a bunch I needed more. I used a jig saw to cut the wood.

Then I used 1″x4″ boards for the front, sides, and back. I wanted there to be a 1 inch lip or overhang so I measured and cut 2 boards 16 inches long. That is one inch taken off for each side.

I used my miter saw to cut the rest of the boards.

Then, since 2 of the boards will go inside the other two boards to form a box, you need to minus the width of 2 boards together. In this case, 1 1/2 inches. So the second 2 boards I cut were 14 1/2 inches.

Do you see how 2 of the 1x4s fit inside the other two? That is why 2 needed to be shorter.

Add a little wood glue and then use a Brad Nailer  (affiliate link).

The next step is to determine how high you want your table. I wanted mine 2 feet tall. I cut some 2″x2″s for the legs. Add some wood glue and then nail them into the corners of your box. It is very important to make sure it is flat before nailing on the legs. If the legs are not flush with the top of the box then your table top will not lay flat on your base AND your table will wobble.

Your base is almost done :) You just need to add some 1″x1″ to help hold the top on. Measure in between the legs and then cut your 1×1 that size.

Add some glue and nail. Do this all the way around the base – all four sides.

Then add glue to the top of the base, flip it over onto the table top, and nail through the 1×1. This will attach the top to the base.

You will need to fill the nail holes with putty. Pick one that is sandable so you can sand it smooth when it dries. I HIGHLY recommend Elmers stainable, paintable and sandable wood putty. Not only do I sand where I added putty, but I sand the hole thing. Especially the edges and corners. I try to round them a little. Use a fine grit sand paper or you will end up with lines (scratch marks) in your wood.

I painted mine and then (this is optional) sanded it to give it that shabby chic look. I love that! You can see it a little in the close up shots. It looks better in person, but you get the idea :)

You could use it as a bedside table, in a kid’s room, next to a sofa, as a plant stand, or pretty much anywhere!

Pin It

other posts

Subscribe to My Blog!


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Amanda says

    this is great! i was just thinking that i needed a side table to put next the my craft desk, and then wallah here's your post. awesome!

  2. Creative Decor by Brooke says

    I made one like that a few months ago. They are simple and very versitile. Love the color of yours.

  3. Liza says

    I have been getting emails about the color. I had some baby blue left over from my little boy's room and then I added green craft paint until I had the color I wanted. Sorry! I wish I could just give you a name :)

  4. C'est Magnifique says

    This is such a cute little table and you make it look SO easy! I may attempt this in the spring… when it warms up a little bit! Gotta get a nail gun though! :)


  5. Sharon says

    Love it. Would you mind telling me what kind of brad nailer you have? It is something simple to use? I would love to purchase something similar. Thanks.

  6. Liza says

    The brand is Porter Cable and I love it! It is so easy to use. It is my favorite tool. I am always looking for things to nail together just so I can use it :)

  7. Sharon says

    Thank you. Is there a size specification or do I just look for a brad nailer? Are there different sizes of brads? As you can see I am tool illiterate, but I love to put things together and would like to try building some things.

  8. Liza says

    It is just a brad nailer. I could give a model number but I bought mine so long ago that I am sure they have updated models now. It uses nails (brads) any where from 5/8 of an inch to 1 1/4 inch. I use those two sizes the most. 1" is handy too though. It depends on the thickness of the wood you are nailing. I hope that helped! Mine came with a nice manual with pictures. I am sure there are video online to watch as well. Thanks!

  9. Krista Haws says

    SO cute! Good job! I want to know where you got that topiary! (Or if you made it) I love it! I'm a new follower too! :)

  10. Liza says

    Thanks! I made the topiary. A stick from my backyard, moss from the craft store, and styrofoam balls. I stuck the stick through then I glue gunned the moss to the balls. I added a little glue to where the stick went through the balls to keep it secure. Super easy project :)

  11. Your Holiness Queen Tatahana says

    Hi I was all engrossed in you photos and how you made that really cute table in that fab color. I was impressed that you had your hair back and the safety goggles on. And the work clothes…..and then I see you are barefoot. I laughed so hard at that. i think after that I will have to check back more often because that is definitely something that I would do. Great minds think alike as they say.
    Thanks for that

  12. Liza says

    HA! I know. I have a thing with shoes. I get teased all the time for not wearing them. I know I should. I wear them when I work outside but it was too tempting this time since I was in my warm basement. Thanks for your comment :)

  13. Kristina says

    Hi! I came over from U create to see your awesome side table. I of course love the table, but what I really want to comment on is your sweatshirt. Utah State! Hey! Aggies all the way!! :)

  14. Ty, Whit & Bree says

    Hi, I LOVE the table and I am interested in making it. I am just wondering about how much it cost you in supplies? Thanks.

  15. Liza says

    I can't find my paper where I broke it all down but I know it was less than $20.00 per table. I made 6 at a time to sell on esty so I don't know if it would be different if you were buying supplies for just one. The boards I used made 2 18×18 tables with a 12" peice left that I used to make a 12×18 table. The price of wood depends on where you live as well.

  16. Kira =] says

    Just moved the oldest into her own room. Then moved all the furniture around to get the final layout. And she needs a side table. Remembered I saw a tutorial on your page. So here I am.

    Thank you for the measurements! We're off to Lowes. They give me the funniest looks there. I guess they don't many housewives with kids in tow buying wood for her own projects. Little do they realize I'm not Just a housewife. =]

  17. Mary says

    Love it. I want to build my own simple kitchen island – will use your idea to expand on. Thanks for sharing this!

  18. Merryn says

    This is great. I needed a side table. I am just divorced and my ex-husband was the wood working enthusiast, but now I want to do something for myself. Thanks for your post. I am going to make this!! Thank you.

  19. Jenn says

    I love it! I’ve been needing a small craft table in my tiny craft room that is 18×23 inches but really tall- I am just going to have to make one from this tutorial! Thanks!

  20. Amanda says

    I came across your blog yesterday and I set out to Lowe’s for wood. I’m using your tutorial to build myself a side table for my dining room. I’ve got the base of it put together already and I’m so excited to see the finished table. This is my first wood project without help from someone else! Thanks for the great how to!

  21. s broersma says

    Liza, what the hell are you doing sawing and nailing wood in bare feet??? You got the goggles on…that’s good…how about some protection for your feet!! One of these day’s you’re going to regret not wearing them. There. You’ve been warned! Sorry to sound like your Dad ;)

  22. jess™ says

    Love the table, super simple instructions and great pics. I’m a barefoot enthusiast too and have been scolded for the same thing! Only I was cutting ceramic tiles with a wet saw, safety goggles on and toes naked. I stumbled on your blog on accident trying to figure out how to assemble a table without ugly nails or screws….thank you for the lovely blogs, I’ll be back often!

  23. Natasha says

    my dad build stuff all the time its very simple to build anything you just need the right measurments and when your finished just put a coat of something over it mabye paint or whatever you prefer.

  24. Stephanie says

    This was my afternoon project. A little wider and taller, but definitely used your instructions. It saved me a trip to Ikea and some $. Thanks!

  25. Dusty Lynch says

    Looks great. Yes, girls can build. I’m going to make this. I can’t find a table the dimensions I need. And, I get to show my boys about building.

  26. Rosa Williams says

    That is a Beautiful table and it looks so easy to make, my grandbaby’s are needing bed side table’s ,I can’t wait to start
    this project Great Job !! Rosa

  27. carla says

    I actually made this table. Not perfect, but good enough. And bonus–I received a brad nailer for my birthday since your building plan interested me so much. Thanks ever so much!! Plus–it was such a fun project.

  28. robert hicks says

    your instructions are great BUT it would be nice to have a materials list then a parts list so we the lookers can get the parts together so we can follow the instructions with out having to go get something for each step. have the part ready and then just put it together,

    • Liza says

      You are totally right. I wrote this post in my early blogging days before I really knew that there were blogs with plans set up that way. There are a lot of things I would have done differently back then if I knew what I know now :)

  29. Les says

    Where did you buy a board “18x”36”? Was it plywood?
    Nice looking table I am confused about the top. Thanks


  1. […] How to build a simple side table Pin It Comments comments Filed Under: DIY Projects & Crafts, General, Woodworking Tagged With: bedside table, decorative plants, home decor, photos, side table Follow Us! Subscribe For Updates Enter your email address below to receive a daily update with the best of Home Tips World Decoration […]

  2. […] How to build a simple side table | Not JUST A Housewife. If I can sew then you can build Here is a table I made for my etsy store. … Use a fine grit sand paper or you will end up with lines (scratch marks) in your wood. …. I've been needing a small craft table in my tiny craft room that is 18×23 inches … […]

  3. Make A Quick And Simple Table

    […] stainable, paintable and sandable wood putty. Not only do I sand where I added […]