What outdoor seating area is complete without a place to put your ice cold drink? Today let’s build a DIY outdoor side table so your cold drink can have a spot to sweat in the hot weather with you.
This outdoor side table is a beginner-friendly build that only requires a few tools.
Alright, let’s start DIYing!
- Miter Saw (we use this blade with ours)
- Kreg Jig (not sure which to get? Check out which Kreg Jig to get in 2023)
- Kreg Quick Flip Drill Bit or ⅜” Countersink Bit
- Random Orbital Sander
- Measuring Tape (new to DIY? Be sure to check out this post with measuring tips)
- Speed Square
- Safety Equipment
New to DIY? Check out our post on beginner woodworking tools to determine which tools to get!
- (2) 2x3x8* (we used whitewood kiln dried studs- read more about using pine on outdoor projects)
- (1) 2x2x8* furring strip
- (1) 1x4x4* (we used common board)
- Wood glue (this is our favorite type and it’s great for outdoor projects!)
- Sandpaper (80 and 120 grit)
- 2.5″ softwood BlueKote Kreg screws
- 1.25” exterior wood screws (we love the PowerPro brand)
- 2.5” exterior wood screws
- ⅜” wood plugs
A quick note on the shopping list: we love the look of the wood plugs and they are a cool detail, but if you want to save a little money (about $15 across all three tables) or don’t like the look of them, you can just nail the slats in place. We did that on this outdoor dining table and the slats are still holding strong.
*If you’re planning to build all three of the tables in this patio set, you can save money by optimizing the cut list across multiple projects. If building all of them, you will need (4) 1x4x8s, (6) 2x3x8s, and (2) 2x2x8s.
I keep wanting to call this a “square” side table, but it’s not quite a square. The final dimensions of this side table are 22” W x 20” D x 16.5” H.
How to Build an Outdoor Side Table
Prefer printable plans? Grab yours here!
STEP 1: MAKE YOUR CUTS
Make your cuts according to the cut list in the printable plans.
|For What?||Wood Size||Quantity||Length (inches)|
|Top Frame Front/Back||2×3||2||22|
|Top Frame Sides||2×3||2||17|
When you need to make cuts that are all the same size, I highly recommend setting up a stop on the miter saw. That way you can get consistent sizing without needing to measure each piece!
STEP 2: DRILL POCKET HOLES
Using the 1.5” settings, drill pocket holes into the following boards:
- (2) on either end of the top frame sides
- (2) on either end of the leg supports
- (2) on one end of the legs
Pocket holes are the foundation of most DIY furniture. Become a pocket hole pro in less than an hour in Pocket Holes: Explained.
STEP 3: SAND
I highly recommend knocking out the majority of your sanding before assembly. I’ve found that it’s much easier to sand when you don’t have nooks and crannies and weird angles to work around. Yes, we’ll sand again later, but this will make that sanding so much easier.
STEP 4: ASSEMBLE TOP FRAME
Grab the (2) side pieces and the (2) front/back pieces. Assemble the top frame with glue and 2.5” Kreg screws.
We first attached the two side pieces to the ends of the front piece. Then we secured them to the back piece.
STEP 5: ADD SLAT SUPPORTS
Place the slats between the top frame to act as a spacer. We’ll install the slats later on.
Place the 2×2 on top of the slats and secure to the top frame with wood glue and (2) 2.5” screws. Repeat with the second furring strip.
STEP 6: ASSEMBLE LEGS
For the legs, you can change up the style and design with one simple change. You can either place the leg support a few inches up like we did on this DIY outdoor coffee table, or you can install the leg support flush with the bottom of the legs for a more modern look.
Attach a leg support to two legs using glue and 2.5” Kreg screws. Then repeat with the second pair of legs. For this side table, we installed the leg support flush with the bottom of the legs (aka the side without pocket holes), making sure the pocket holes of the leg supports were facing down.
As you’re installing the leg supports, make sure the pocket holes on the legs are facing inward.
STEP 7: ATTACH LEGS TO TOP FRAME
Using glue and 2.5” Kreg screws, secure the legs to the top frame. The legs should be flush with the front and back of the frame.
We placed the legs so that they were indented 2” from the sides of the table. You could also install them flush with the corners like we did in this DIY coffee table plan.
STEP 8: INSTALL SLATS
Before installing the slats, I stained the sides of the slats and the inside of the top frame. These areas will be difficult to stain once everything is installed, so I wanted to knock that out first.
Once the stain was dry, I eyeballed the placement of the slats. If you want to be more precise, you can use a ¼” spacer between each of the slats.
Mark the slats 1” from either side and 1” from the end. The areas where these marks meet is where you will place your screws.
I used my Kreg Quick Flip Drill Bit to drill countersink holes that were deep enough to account for the wood plugs. Then I secured the slats with 1.25” screws.
Add a dab of glue to the bottom of the wood plugs and insert them into the countersink holes. Beware: the wood plugs are ever so slightly tapered, so be sure that you’re placing the glue on the smaller side of the wood plug.
STEP 9: FINISH
To complete this outdoor side table, we sanded everything again with 120 grit sandpaper to get it nice and smooth. Then I stained it using Minwax Water-Based Weathered Oak stain and sealed it with several coats of Spar Urethane to protect it from the UV rays and water.
There you have it! Now you know how to build your very own DIY outdoor side table! Be sure to check out the tutorials for the other furniture pieces in this outdoor patio set:
- DIY Outdoor Sofa
- DIY Outdoor Chair with Slanted Back
- DIY Outdoor C Side Table
- DIY Outdoor Coffee Table
Prefer printable plans? Grab the bundle and save!