How to Make a Table with a Faux Metal Top

Make your own sofa table and create a faux galvanized top with paint.
You will be surprised how real it looks! An easy DIY with a high end look.

I've always loved galvanized metal and wanted this look in our coastal home, however, I didn't want the hassle of stretching real metal over a table. It turns out to be surprisingly easy to build an entryway or sofa table with a faux galvanized top if you create the look with paint.

Scroll to the end of this tutorial for a full list of the materials you'll need to complete this project.

Create the Top of the Table

Use the two 5-foot lengths of the 1-by-8 and drill 3/8-inch holes 1" in from the end, and then about 12" centers along one edge of each board, such that they match holes in the opposite board. You should use a dowel jig to ensure the holes are at the same position across the width of the board. Squeeze glue in the holes and spread along the matching edges of the boards; push dowel joints in. Clamp the two pieces together and leave overnight to dry.

Once dry, sand the surface smooth.

Add the Table Skirt

Cut two 9 1/2-inch lengths of the 1 x 3 and two 54 3/4-inch lengths of the 1 x 3 using your miter saw. Use the Kreg Jig to create pocket holes in each end of each length. On the shorter lengths, add pocket holes approximately 2 inches in from the end (along one edge). On the longer lengths add pocket holes along one edge 2 inches in from the end and spaced 12 inches on center.

Position the boards on the underside of the table top, 1 1/4 inches from the edge with all the pocket holes facing the inside. Make sure each board is centered along the length. Attach to the top with the Kreg screws.

Creating Skirt for Sofa Table

Attach the Table Legs

Cut each of the four 2 x 2s to your desired height. For this project, the legs are 25 1/4-inches.

Stand the legs on the underside of the table, butting into the skirt. Clamp and screw from inside of the skirt with Kreg screws. Screw through the pocket holes.

Create the Cross Trim on Legs

Cut four pieces of 2 x 2 at 45 degree angles so both sides are 13 1/2 inches long. Mark two lines across each piece, 3/4 inches from the center. The lines should be square to the edge of the wood. These sections will be cut half way through to join two pieces together to create the cross trim.

Cut along the lines you've made and then several areas in between them to a 3/4 inch depth. Using either a chisel or continuing with the miter, remove sections of wood to make a channel. Place wood glue in the channels and press the boards together to make an X. Use the drill bit from the Kreg Jig to create counter sunk holes where the X will attach to the legs. Attach to the legs with Kreg screws.

Build and Attach the Shelf

Cut the 1 x 12 to 56 3/4 inches. (This can be done at your hardware store.) Cut 1-inch squares out of each corner, using a jigsaw. Attach shelf clips to desired height on your legs by pre-drilling holes. For added stability, use screws to attach to the brackets (wait to affix the shelf until after staining painting). The table is built!

Prep Table Surface for Stain and Paint

Sand with medium grit sanding block. Wipe off all sanding dust before finishing with paint and stain.

Stain Table and Apply a Protective Top Coat

General Finishes Gel Stain makes finishing surfaces quick and easy. I used Antique Walnut on this table. Apply gel stain with either a brush or rag. I wiped on with a rag and also used a rag to wipe off excess stain.

Note: It is easier to stain with the table upside down. For the shelf, apply stain to both sides (allow to dry before flipping over). Allow the stain to dry 24 hours before applying desired top coat. Wipe-On Poly is an easy to apply oil based finish. Wipe on with a rag. Apply two coats for added protection.

Add Tacks Around the Table Top Edge

Galvanized metal is nailed in place on tabletops. To create this look it is important to use something that looks like these nails. We opted for carpet tacks but you could also use thumb tacks or other nails. Pre-drill holes and lightly hammer tacks in place. Place the tacks at random intervals to make them look more authentic.

Paint the Table with Metallic Paint

Brush on two coats, allowing the paint to dry between coats. Be sure to paint over the tacks too. For this project, I used Matthew Mead Studio's Metallic Paint in brushed steel.

Here's how it looks dry.

Create a Faux Galvanized Finish

Take your two gray paints (Sterling and Soap Stone) and pour a little into cups and add water. Mix together. It is important to work in sections. Use a foam brush to apply some of each paint and then spritz with water and immediately blot with a paper towel.

It really is amazing to watch the paint transform the wood to look like metal! Fusion Mineral Paint has a top coat built in so there is no need to add a top coat, but you could add their wax or tough coat for added protection.

Add a Galvanized Effect Along the Edge

Add the same effect along the edge. Apply the two colors and spritz. It is helpful to work in sections, placing a piece of paper towel under the edge of the top (to prevent paint from getting on the stained underside). Apply the same technique as above, blot and allow to dry.

And you're done! Here's a look at the finished table top. Wouldn't you swear that was metal?

About the Author

Danielle Driscoll is a blogger, designer and furniture painter. Her blog, Finding Silver Pennies, is all about upcycling, restoring and DIYs. She lives in Scituate, Mass., with her husband, two little boys and her black lab rescue. Her style is a mix of coastal meets British with lots of blue.