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How to Build an Easy Outdoor Side Table for Less than $10

Are you looking to spruce up your outdoor living space in an affordable way? Look no further! With just a few basic supplies, you can build a stylish and sturdy outdoor side table for less than $10.

When I was sprucing up my deck this spring I realized a few side tables would be a great addition to our outdoor living space.

The coffee table that came with my outdoor furniture set had fallen apart from sun damage so it went to the dump a few months ago.

Although we have two large ottomans with our set that I now use as a coffee table by putting a tray on them, I wanted end tables for either side of the sofa.

So off to search for end tables at several of my local stores.

I hit up Walmart, Home Goods, Lowes Home Improvement, World Market, Hobby Lobby, and Kirkland’s.

It’s a good thing all of those stores are literally within a 2 mile radius.

But guess what?

I came up empty!

Can you believe it?

All those stores and I didn’t find anything.

Well, to be fair I did find several options that would work but anything I liked was a lot more than I wanted to spend.

Have I mentioned that I’m cheap…ahem…frugal?!

I headed home and started searching online for something affordable but again didn’t have any luck.

In doing a little research on Pinterest I found some DIY ideas that would work so the next day I went back to Lowe’s Home Improvement for supplies.

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What Supplies Do You Need to Make a Rustic End Table

wood, slate, and tools to make outdoor furniture

You don’t need any special tools or skills to do this project.

And if you have leftover supplies from a previous project you may not even need to make a trip to your hardware store.

Here is a list of the supplies and tools I used to make two end tables.

Where to Buy Supplies to Make an Outdoor End Table

stone pavers stacked in Lowes home improvement

Hopefully, you have some supplies already at home that you can use for this simple DIY project.

Maybe you recently built a patio or walkway and have some extra pavers laying around.

Or maybe you have extra pieces of lumber from a previous wood project that are stacked in your basement like I did.

If you don’t have the materials you need already you can easily find them at your local hardware or home improvement store.

When I researched outdoor tables on Pinterest I found several that were made from concrete that DIY’ers poured themselves.

Others shared outdoor tables made with stone pavers as the table tops which looked a lot easier and faster than making my own concrete top.

When I went to Lowe’s and looked at the patio stones they were really thick and kinda basic.

So I looked around for something else that might work instead and found these natural gray stepping stones.

They were only 1″ thick instead of 2″ and they were much prettier for a tabletop.

The only downside was that the stepping stones were $5.68 and the patio stones were only $1.78.

But since I only needed two I thought it was worth the extra four bucks!

How to Make a Wood and Stone Patio Table

blogger measuring wood with tape measure

The first step in making your own outdoor table is to determine the size.

This should probably be done before you head out for any supplies you need.

I knew I wanted my tables to be a bit higher than the arm of the outdoor couch so I decided my tables would be about 24-26″ tall.

Since the 2×2 lumber comes in 8′ lengths I made it easy and went with a 24″ high wood frame.

And since the stones were 12″x12″ I wanted the wood frame to be a little smaller than the stone tabletop so we went with 8″ on the top and bottom of the table frame.

That 8″ takes into account the 2″ thickness of the wood.

using chop saw to cut 2x2 wood

Once everything was measured I started cutting the lumber with my miter saw.

For two end tables, I cut 4 – 24″ lengths and 8 – 8″ lengths of wood to create the table frames.

assembled wood frames with tools on table in garage

Next, I used wood deck screws to secure all the pieces of lumber together to make the table frame.

I didn’t do anything fancy to hide the screws since we don’t even own a jig kit to make pocket holes for the screws.

Maybe I need to invest in one soon!

man and woman predrilling holes to build table

Deck screws are great for outdoor wood projects and eliminate the need for pre-drilling.

However, I did predrill a hole in the 2x2s to prevent the wood from splitting because it was such a small piece of lumber I was working with.

blogger and husband screwing wood pieces together for table

Chris helped me to make sure I lined everything up correctly and didn’t hit the screw that was already installed when adding another piece of the frame since it was such a narrow space.

Plus we don’t have any wood clamps so having an extra set of hands to hold everything straight was really helpful.

Note to self…buy clamps and a pocket hole jig kit!

unstained wood table frame in garage

Ta-da! I did it!

I built a wood table frame.

And believe me, it was super easy to do.

Should You Stain or Paint an Outdoor Table

wood diy table frame on pop up table in garage with can of stain

Should you stain or paint your new wood table frame?

Even though the wood I used was pressure treated it’s always a good idea to either paint or stain the wood to protect it from the elements outside.

I decided to stain the table base and used some stain I had in our garage leftover from another project.

two wood table frames in garage one stained the other unstained

I like to use a rag when staining as I find I have more control than using a paintbrush or roller.

Plus I’m able to get a rag in any tight corners.

I went into a little more explanation about staining in this post when I stained my laundry room door.

What Size Tabletop is Best

completed diy outdoor table in driveway

Once the stain was dry I took the table outside and laid the stone on the top of the frame.

And I kinda hated it! Ugggghhhh!

I mean it was cute but it looked more like a plant stand than a side or end table.

The top was just too small.

The 12″x12″ patio stone I was originally going to use also comes in a 16″x16″ size and I thought that would look much better for a tabletop.

So back to Lowe’s I went!

However, when I tried to grab two of the pavers and carry them to the register without a shopping cart I knew they weren’t going to work.

They were super heavy and when I checked the description it said they weighed 36 lbs each.

That’s too much weight on that little wood frame so I started searching for another option.

I even went inside and looked at the tile but didn’t see anything that would work.

Then I saw that they had the same grey stepping stones as I wanted to use but in a 12″x18″ size.

I wasn’t crazy about the size I really wanted a symmetrical look and the 16″x16″ would have been perfect.

But the 12″x18″ were much lighter at only 19 lbs. so I bought two of them and headed home.

completed outdoor side table with stone top

When I set the larger stepping stone on the table frame it did look better than the smaller one.

Had I known in the beginning that I was going to be using a 12″x18″ stone for the top I may have made the frame a rectagular shape rather than a square.

I’d probably make the frame with 10″ support pieces on the sides rather than 8″.

But I wasn’t going to redo everything.

It was fine…everything’s fine! lol

At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter, they look great…don’t you think?

Wait until you see them on my deck!

How to Attach Stone Top to Wood Table Frame

blogger applying adhesive to wood frame for table

To attach the stepping stone to the wood table frame I used landscape adhesive.

We have a stone facade on the front of our house and a few of the stones had fallen off over the years.

So when that happens we just adhere them back on the house with adhesive.

blogger attaching stone to top of wood table frame

I just ran the adhesive around the top the the wood frame with a caulk gun adding extra where the wood wasn’t perfectly level in one of the corners.

Then I placed the stepping stone tabletop on the table base.

Here is where some of those clamps would have come in handy!

Since we don’t have any I grabbed a paint can and a brick and placed them on top of the stone for a couple of hours.

The adhesive dries fairly quickly but I just wanted to be sure it was nice and secure.

Should You Protect a Stained Wood Table

can of polycrylic next to wood table

It never hurts to add a top coat to stained wood especially if you’ll be leaving it outside.

I gave the base of the table a coat of this polycylic protective finish.

It only took a minute to spray on and now my wood will be protected from the weather outdoors.

Where to Use an Outdoor End Table

diy wood side table on deck next to outdoor sofa

You can use your outdoor side table anywhere you need a spot to set a drink when you’re relaxing outside your deck.

We were constantly putting our drinks on the deck railing behind the couch so I knew end tables would get a lot of use.

side table with slate top on deck with plant on it

Plus they provide a place to add some extra decor like candles and flowers.

Now that these tables are done I have to say that I’m kinda digging the shape of them.

I like the longer size of the table top as end tables because the fill in nicely along the length of the sofa arms.

decorated backyard deck furniture

Now what are you waiting for?

Go make these inexpensive and super easy tables today!

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collage of product images for supplies to build outdoor side end table

Sources: miter saw | tape measure | drill | deck screws | 2x2x8 pressure treated lumber | 12″x18″ stepping stone | landscape adhesive | caulk gun | stain | protective top coat

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Be sure to check out this story about building an outdoor side table too!