Striped for the Occasion

Spotting a designer table with vintage French fabric for a cool $4,800, we were inspired to build our own trend-setting dining table. After gathering supplies, we completed the custom table in an afternoon, including painting stripes on natural canvas. We saved and you can too.

Custom Table

The best thing about building your own table is that you determine the size, allowing it to fit into any space. At a home center, pick up four wood legs, plywood for the top, 1×3 lumber to support the top and 1-inch trim. Indoor/outdoor canvas in a range of designs is available at fabrics stores. We couldn’t find canvas in the colors we wanted, so we striped plain fabric with paint, then sealed it with a clear spray. For a different look, use a solid-color fabric. Best of all, making a custom table can cost less than $150.

Materials

  • Two 1×3-inch boards cut to 66 inches*
  • Two 1×3-inch boards cut to 28½ inches
  • Wood glue
  • Four 29-inch table legs, square at the top
  • 3×6-foot plywood board
  • Gray paint and primer
  • Two 1-inch trim boards cut to 36 inches*
  • Two 1-inch trim boards cut to 61 inches*
  • Black wood stain
  • 2½ yards natural canvas (59 inches wide)
  • Craft paint in assorted colors
  • Fabric protector spray, optional

Tools

  • Hammer and nails
  • Drill and screws
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Drop cloth
  • Paintbrushes
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Flat-edge ruler
  • Pencil
  • 3 rolls stencil tape
  • Stencil brushes

Instructions

Make a 66×30-inch rectangular frame. Start by butting the end of a 28½-inch board against the side of a 66-inch board so the two boards form an L. Secure with wood glue, hammer and finish nails. Repeat for the second 28½-inch board at the opposite end of the other 66-inch board. Join the two L parts to complete the frame. Sand any rough corner edges. Working on the ground, place a table leg into an interior corner of the frame. With someone bracing the leg in a corner, drill two pilot holes, one on each side of the frame into the top of each leg. Slightly stagger the holes so screws do not collide. Using screws that will best blend with your colors, attach legs to frame. Repeat for all legs.

Carefully turn table base onto its legs over drop cloth. Paint table base with gray paint. Apply wood glue in a thin line around frame top. Place plywood board on top of frame, allowing about 3-inch overhang on all sides. Drill pilot four holes, each through the top and into a leg. Through the top, attach legs with screws. If the top is not flush with the frame, measure to middle of frame and put nail in to hold top down.

Use a paintbrush to apply black stain to trim boards. Let dry and set aside.

Stretch canvas over plywood top. Get helpers if you can for this step. Staple one end about 1½ inches from the underside edge of the top. Carefully pull fabric taut, working out wrinkles. Staple each side; trim excess fabric.

Use a ruler and pencil to measure and mark the widths of each stripe on the short edges of the fabric. Use marked guides to place stencil tape on either side of each stripe, making sure to seal to fabric without any air bubbles. Mark off one color of stripes at a time. Use a stencil brush to blot paint color on fabric, keeping brush from stroking. Start stripe pattern 1 inch from one long edge of tabletop. Pattern ¹⁄8 -inch black stripe, followed by ¼-inch natural fabric stripe, 1-inch yellow stripe, ¼-inch natural fabric stripe, 3¼-inch green stripe, ¼-inch natural fabric stripe, 1-inch yellow stripe, ¼-inch natural fabric stripe, ¹⁄8 -inch black stripe, 3-inch natural fabric stripe. Repeat until tabletop is fully striped.**

When paint is completely dry, spray with fabric protector spray, if desired. Let dry.

Apply trim boards to the edges of the tabletop with a hammer and finish nails, aligning the top of the trim boards flush with the tabletop. Use sandpaper to sand trim and table.

*Tip: Home centers such as Lowe's and The Home Depot will make exact cuts for each board when lumber is purchased from them.

**Tip: For a faster project, purchase patterned canvas fabric.

Black Paint: mix 5 parts Black with 2 parts White

Green Paint: mix 5 parts Seaweed with 3 parts Beach Glass