DIY End Table with Leather Magazine-Holder


Hi, I'm Zoe

My mission is to teach you to confidently build magazine-worthy DIYs. I used to be terrified of power tools, which is why I'm a firm believer that ANYONE can DIY.

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January 23, 2023
Zoe Hunt

This post was sponsored by Minwax®. All opinions are my own.  

When I first saw the Minwax 2023 Color of the Year, I knew I need to design something cool enough to match it. Something timeless, with a little bit of an edge…just like the color. 

And that color is Aged Barrel! It’s a deep brown with grey undertones that give it a rustic vibe and really does make it feel aged. It paired perfectly with the black leather detail on this DIY end table.

DIY end table with leather magazine holder finished with Minwax Aged Barrel stain

We also added a cutout design on the top that allowed the legs to “float” above the rest of the table to give it another unique twist. 

Alright, let’s start DIYing! 

Recommended Tools: 

  • Miter Saw 
  • Drill 
  • Circular Saw 
  • Jigsaw 
  • Kreg Pocket Hole Jig 
  • 3/4” forstner drill bit 

New to DIY? Check out our post on beginner woodworking tools to determine which tools to get!

What You’ll Need: 

  • (1) sheet of ¾x4x8 plywood (we used oak and you can make two tables from one sheet) 
  • (4) 2x2x3s (we used oak)
  • .75”x36 oak dowel 
  • Edge banding 
  • Wood glue 
  • 1.25” Kreg screws 
  • 14” side mount ball-bearing drawer slides 
  • Drawer knob 
  • Faux leather (we got ours from Hobby Lobby) 
  • No sew velcro tape
  • Clean, white rags
  • Purdy XL brush 
  • Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner 
  • Minwax Wood Finish in Aged Barrel 
  • Minwax Polycrylic in Ultra Flat 

Cut List: 

The following cut list serves as a guide. It’s best to measure and make your cuts as you work through your project, rather than making them all upfront. Your actual measurements may differ from mine. 

For What?Board TypeQuantitySize (inches)
Top¾” plywood119.5 x 16.5
Bottom¾” plywood118 x 15 
Sides¾” plywood215 x 6.5
Back¾” plywood118 x 6.5 
Drawer Front¾” plywood117 ⅞ x 6.5
Drawer Box Bottom¾” plywood116 x 12.75
Drawer Box Front/Back¾” plywood216 x 5 
Drawer Box Sides¾” plywood214.25 x 5 
Dowels¾” dowel216

Overall dimensions: 21” W x 18.5” D x 26” H

Want to DIY buy don\'t know where to start? Click here to grab your free guide!

How to Make an End Table with a Leather Magazine-Holder


Cutting the top is the most crucial step of this entire project. I didn’t cut mine with a focus on precision and ended up needing to make adjustments to several of my measurements to account for it. That’s why I recommend cutting the top first and then you can make adjustments to the other pieces if necessary. 

First, cut your plywood down to size according to the cut list. 

Then mark .75” in on each corner to create a small square. Using your jigsaw, cut the squares out of each corner. 

cutting corner of plywood with jigsaw


Cut out your back, sides, and bottom pieces. The back should be the same length as the long side of the top minus the notches. The sides should match the short sides of the top minus the notches. 


First, cut each leg down to 26”. Then, cut the taper. We adjusted our miter saw to 5 degrees and then cut approximately 7.5” up from the bottom of each leg. 

For each leg, we cut one side and then rotated the leg 90 degrees to cut a second side. We used our homemade taper leg jig for this step. 

cutting oak 2x2 with homemade taper leg jig on miter saw

You can also cut your dowels to be approximately 1” longer than the side pieces.

Next, place your legs how they will eventually be placed when assembled. The outside corner of each leg should be the corner where no taper has been cut. 

Mark 8” up from each leg. On the back legs, you’ll mark the sides that are facing forward. On the front legs, you’ll mark the sides that are facing the back. 

Drill approximately ½” into each leg using your ¾” forstner drill bit. This drill bit will give you a nice clean hole to place the dowels in. 

drilling hole in oak 2x2 with forstner bit


Using the ¾” settings, drill pocket holes along one long side and both short sides of the sides, back, and bottom pieces. 

Pocket holes are the foundation of most DIY furniture. Become a pocket hole pro in less than an hour in Pocket Holes: Explained.


Apply edge banding to the following boards: 

  • Around all edges of the top (you don’t need to apply it to the cutout corners) 
  • On the edge that does not have pocket holes on both the sides, back, and bottom pieces 

You’ll also eventually apply edge banding to: 

  • one long side of each of the drawer box sides and front/back pieces
  • All the edges of the drawer front 

I’m noting that here, but these pieces should not be cut yet. It’s more accurate the assemble your structure and then double-check the measurements for the drawer box and drawer front.

If you’re new to applying edge banding, check out this post on how to properly apply it so that it lasts. No one wants edge banding to peel off over time!

Free download wood sizing cheatsheet


I like to knock out the majority of my sanding before I actually assemble a project. Since our plywood was already very smooth, I just sanded each board with 220-grit sandpaper.

sanding red oak plywood with sanding sponge


We’ll assemble the entire structure using glue and 1.25” Kreg screws. 

First, attach the sides to the top. Then attach the back to the top. All of the pocket holes should be facing in toward the center of the box. 

assembling box with plywood and pocket holes

Place something that is ½” thick underneath your structure. The point of the spacers is to lift the top off the ground so that the legs extend past the top of the table. 

Place the back legs in the notches in the top and secure using glue and 1.25” Kreg screws. Next, add glue to the holes in the legs and insert a dowel into each leg. 

Place the front legs. 

attaching front legs to DIY end table

Last, install the bottom of the table. We opted to have our pocket holes facing inward so that no pocket holes were visible when looking around the table. 

securing bottom of DIY end table with pocket holes


Now that the main structure is assembled, you can measure and make your drawer box. 

¾” plywood is thicker wood than is typically used on a drawer box, but we used it to avoid needing to buy two different sheets of plywood. 

We assembled the box using glue and pocket holes. Check out this post for more details on measuring for drawer boxes and how to assemble them

For the drawer front, you’ll want it cut it about 3/16 – 1/4” shorter than the opening between the legs. Once cut, apply edge banding all around the top. 


We used a piece of scrap 1/2” wood to act as a spacer to install the drawer slides to the instead of the end table. 

Because I didn’t precisely cut my notches in my tabletop, there ended up being a small lip between the side of my table and the leg. This lip would prevent the drawer slides from opening, so I taped a few pieces of edge banding to the front of the drawer slide to bump it out the required amount. It seems silly, but it was simple and it worked! 

securing drawer slides to drawer box

Once the slides were installed on the inside, we placed the drawer box on the scrap wood, pulled the drawer slides out until they were set back 1/16” from the front of the drawer box, and installed them to the box. 

Once the drawer box was installed, I pre-drilled one hole in the middle of the drawer front for my drawer pull. 

I then used that hole to help attach the drawer front. You can read more details about how I install drawer fronts here. 

DIY end table with drawer before staining

Once everything was in place, I removed the drawer box and moved on to the finishing steps of this project. 


Though I already sanded earlier, I went over everything one more time with my 220-grit sanding block. We didn’t have any gaps or holes to fill, but if you did, you can apply wood filler before your final sand. 

Once it was sanded, I wiped everything with tack cloth to remove any lingering dust. You could also vacuum your piece or use a clean cloth to wipe off the surface. 

wiping oak plywood with tack cloth


Whenever I stain, I like to start with a pre-stain wood conditioner to get the most even results. It’s a quick step that’s well worth it! 

We wiped the pre-stain on with a clean rag, waited 10 minutes, and then wiped off any excess. 

Note: we used oil-based pre-stain (aka the red can) because we are using oil-based stain (aka yellow Minwax cans). 

applying pre-stain wood conditioner with rag


For this project, I’ll be using the Minwax 2023 Color of the Year: Aged Barrel! It’s such a unique stain that really does give you that rustic, aged look. 

In the can, the stain appears to be a really deep gray, but when you apply it and wipe off the excess, it leaves behind a deep brown with gray and almost purple undertones. It’s so neat!

To apply the stain, I wiped it on with a clean rag, waited 10 minutes, and then wiped off any excess with another clean rag. 

applying Minwax Aged Barrel stain with rag

After applying, I soaked my rags with water and laid them flat to dry before throwing them away. 

close up of aged barrel stain color on red oak plywood


The final step in our finishing process is to protect the wood with Minwax Polycrylic. Polycrylic is my go-to because it dries quickly and doesn’t alter the color of the wood. 

For this project, I used the Ultra Flat finish to keep in line with the aged look. 

To apply, I used my Purdy XL brush. I highly recommend a high-quality brush for finishes because it’ll help you get a smoother finish with no brush strokes. 

applying Polycrylic with Purdy XL brush

After letting the first coat dry for 2 hours, I lightly sanded everything with 220-grit sandpaper, wiped with tack cloth, and then applied a second coat. 


I may know how to work power tools, but sewing is not a skill I’ve mastered yet. Instead of breaking out the sewing machine, I made this as simple as possible by using velcro. 

Cut your fabric to fit your table. The actual size might vary based on how much of a curve you want it to have. I cut mine down to 27.5” x 14.5”. 

Once cut, peel off the back of your velcro and place a piece on the edge of either side of your fabric and the complimentary pieces approximately 5.5” from the edge. 

applying velcro sticker to the back of leather

Installation is super simple. Loop the fabric around the dowels on the legs and connect the velcro pieces. 

There you have it! Now you know how to build your very own end table, complete with both a drawer and a magazine holder. 

how to make an end table text overlay on image of simple end table with drawer and leather magazine holder

Interested in more Color of the Year projects? Check out these awesome projects:

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