I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I don’t keep to a blogging schedule. I post when I get a project finished or have something interesting to share. So wouldn’t you know that after a week of not posting I finally have a really exciting plan to show you, and there’s a 24 hour internet outage in my area! Ah, well. It will be just as good today. Anyway, on to the point. A couple of weeks ago my husband told me he really needed a recliner in our living room. In fact, he’d been pushing for one for some time now. I didn’t really see the point, our couch has a chaise! But then he reminded me of all those nights he rocked Charlie to sleep when she was a newborn and that very soon we’ll have another little one to soothe. So I relented. My parents had a very nice, worn-in leather rocking recliner they weren’t using anymore, and generously gave it to us. I tied it in to the room by adding a 9×12 jute rug I scored for a song at the PB/West Elm outlet ($170 for this huge, natural fiber rug!) and it greatly increased the size of the space in front of the couch. I decided it was time to add a coffee table.
I had some pretty specific requirements for this table. I adored our Apothecary Trundle Table I built last year, but when Charlie was learning to walk and get on and off the couch she bumped her head countless times. Which meant requirement #1 was a soft, cushioned top. Check. Next, Charlie is now really into blocks and trains. So I needed a table with a solid surface for play. Solution? Make the top flip over!
Play surface? Check! Now where to stash all those toys?
Inside the table of course! And of course, if you don’t have young children in your house but still like the storage and the flip top, you can always just leave the flat surface for drinks and snacks.
This table is so much more affordable and durable than anything you can buy. Made from PureBond plywood (you know the kind that’s formaldehyde free and sustainably harvested in the USA?) and cedar or pine 1×2’s, this is solid wood construction. Plus it only cost $100! That’s a steal compared to furniture store prices. I picked up my plywood at Home Depot, and the very patient associate not only made all 10 cuts for me, he did it with absolute precision. I love getting plywood cut in-store since their panel saw gives accurate, straight cuts and the pieces are small enough to load into my SUV. So are you ready to see how to build your own? Here we go!
• 1 sheet 3/4″ PureBond plywood
• 4 – 1x2x8’s
• 2 squares of 2″x22″x22″ foam (I bought mine from Hobby Lobby, they’re $10 each but you can use 40% off coupons)
• 1 yd. fabric at least 45″ wide (I scored a 1 yard remnant of 54″ decorator fabric from HL that’s plush and soft)
• 3-4 yards ribbon or edging
• staple gun and staples
• glue gun and glue
• Cut plywood into three strips lengthwise. Two strips at 12.5″ wide, and the last strip will be 22.5″ wide.
• 4 – 12.5″ plywood (one strip) @ 22.5″ (ends and dividers)
• 2 – 12.5″ plywood (second strip) @ 44″ (sides)
• 2 – 22.5″ plywood (third larger strip) @ 42.5 (top and bottom)
• 2 – 1×2 @ 45.5″ (bottom side trim)
• 2 – 1×2 @ 23.5″ (bottom end trim)
• 2 – 1×2 @ 42.25″ (table top side trim)
• 2 – 1×2 @ 20.75″ (table top end trim)
• 2 – 1×2 @ 42 5/8 (side cleats)
• 2 – 1×2 @ 20.5″ (end cleats)
Step 1 – Build the box
It’s easier to attach the ends and sides around the bottom than it is to build the frame first and try to shimmy the bottom in flush.
Step 2 – Build the top
First off, you’ll need to shave down your top piece by a quarter to half inch on one end and side. This ensures that your lid won’t be too tight, and allows for the width of the fabric that’s going to be stapled on. You can get this done in store or just do it at home. As the top is going to be covered in fabric, I attached my table top trim by countersinking holes and screwing through the plywood into the trim pieces to hide the screws.
No screws to be seen!
Step 3 – Attach the cleat
Use a scrap 1×2 piece to space the cleats. Note: DO NOT countersink your holes here. I did to prevent cracking, but then my screws went through the plywood. Whoops! If you’re worried about cracking, pre-drill the hole instead of countersinking it.
Now your cleat is done! This gives the top a place to rest so it doesn’t sink into the table.
Step 4 – Dividers
Start by measuring from the bottom of the table up to the bottom of the cleat. Trim down two of your 12.5 x 22.5″ pieces to size. Mine ended up at 8.75″ tall.
I attached the dividers with pocket holes, measuring 14″ in from each end for the center of the dividers.
Step 5 – Trim
And now the construction is complete! On to the finishing process.
Step 6 – Attaching Foam to the top
Start by staining or painting the top. The foam should fit perfectly width-wise at 22″, and one piece will extend slightly farther lengthwise. Mark where you need to cut, and use a plain kitchen knife to slice the foam in thin shallow slices until you cut it off to length. I used spray adhesive to keep them in place while I attached the fabric.
Step 7 – Attaching the fabric
I started by laying the fabric over the top, with one end and one side flush to the center of the exposed plywood edge. I used my staple gun to staple the fabric into the plywood. Don’t extend it too far as you don’t want to see fabric once the table is flipped. Once I had the two sides finished, I cut the remainder of the fabric down to size (to the center of the plywood edge) then stapled that down, leaving the corners untouched. Once all the sides were stapled, I folded the corners like a present onto the ends and secured them with staples.
Step 8 – Ribbon/Trim
Place your ribbon right side down and staple it in place. Once that’s secure, start adding hot glue to the right and flip the ribbon over so the right side is facing you so you don’t have the raw edge showing.
Keep adding glue and press the ribbon down. When you get to the end fold the raw edge over and glue before securing it to the top.
Your top is finished! Now you can sand and stain/paint the bottom and finish out your piece. This is a very handy little table to have, and I think it may be my favorite coffee table to date. And I’ve had quite a few fun ones in the past two years! First an old door turned table, then the 20 Second Tidy Up Table, then the Apothecary Trundle Table, and now this Flip Top Storage Coffee Table! I think I have a coffee table addiction. They’re just way too fun to build!