Liza Greis

Do-it-yourself projects and Home Decor

Modern Card Catalog Table

Over the years I have refinished things that have held great personal value like my dad’s desk that is now my desk and the vanity that use to be in my sisters’ room growing up. I have also built many pieces that I hope will be around for a long time and that my kids will look back on and have memories attached to them.

I have partnered with Minwax again this year. Today I am sharing a project that has personal meaning for different reasons.


modern card catalog side table


I have finally convinced my boys that it would be a good idea to have two bedrooms instead of the one boy room we have going on right now. It has taken years to get them on board. I love that they like sharing a room. I love that they tell stories and jokes and giggle before falling asleep each night.  Part of me wants them to share a room forever and the other part (the part that trips over the ever growing piles) knows that as they get bigger, it just won’t work. We have been dreaming up designs and colors schemes and while nothing is set in stone yet, I know the feel I want for the bedroom my oldest will be in. He plays guitar and piano so it will be a hang out type music-y room. Loungey and casual.  Depending on the layout there will either be a couple of chairs  or a love seat. Either way, there will need to be a side table and we created the perfect one. Yep, we. My oldest and I got our DIY on together for this one :)


modern card catalog table


Not only was it fun to build this together, but the card catalog came to us thanks to my mom. When my dad got sick with cancer my mom went to work in a local bank. She has now been there over 20 years and will be retiring soon. That bank has been such a big part of her life and ours. It will be so weird to go there and not take the kids in the back to get extra suckers. We have had most of our family parties in the basement. When my mom gave me some of the metal card catalog drawers from the storage room that they were going to get rid of, I knew I had to do something special with them.


hair pin legs on side table


The biggest problem with keeping the boys’ room clean (aside from clothes!) is the over abundance of tiny, random things that have no real home. Annoying cheap toys from birthday parties, earphones, rocks, sticks, etc. I created a “treasure drawer” for the youngest ones who seam to have the most but soon realized that even my oldest has small things that needed a place.


a card catalog is a good place for all the small random things in a child's bedroom


While I have no firm date on when the room switcharoo will happen, at least we have a table ready to go when it does. I think it is safe to say he likes it!


side table for boys room


It was a fairly easy project. We cut out wood to create the box that would go around the drawers. I lightly sanded them.


wood cut with mitered edges


While I was sanding the wood, my oldest sanded the metal drawers. Nothing major. Just enough so the paint would adhere better. He used a 150 grit but 220 works as well.




A little glue and some nails will get it assembled!




Use a carpenter’s square to make sure the box is perfectly square before attaching a back.




Putty the nail holes and any other imperfections with a putty that is sandable and stainable. When it has dried, sand it smooth.




When staining soft wood like pine, always use a wood conditioner. It helps the wood accept the stain more evenly. If you are planning on using an oil based stain, use an oil based conditioner. There is a water based conditioner for water based stains as well.






We used Dark Walnut.





After the stain dried we sealed it.

One of the perks of using plywood for this project was the fun striping along the edges.




modern side table for boys room


This post was sponsored by Minwax but all ideas and opinions were my own.




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    • Liza says

      My oldest gets his height from Shane for sure. People always think he is older than he is. My youngest is 6 so I still have some little ones too :)

  1. Jeanne says

    What a lovely project. Beautifully crafted and filled with tons of memories and ready to fill with many more. Thanks for the idea.

  2. Susan says

    A couple of questions: Where did you get your hairpin legs? Super cute. Also, did you attach the drawers to the box so that when pulled too hard, they won’t just slip out? If so, how?


    • Liza Greis says

      The hair pins legs I bought on eBay. I have also seen them on etsy. The card catalog is not attached but it is such a tight fit that I had to really push it in there. It’s not going anywhere!

  3. Ashley Wilson says

    I love this! I just picked up some card catalogs at a thrift store this weekend, and I am 100% going to copy you! How did you determine the size of the plywood box? How much extra space did you leave?

    Thank you!


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