How to Make a Coffee Table From an Old Door

This how-to article teaches the reader the steps to build their own shabby chic door coffee table from an old door, using basic tools.
A rustic door coffee table creates a shabby chic feel!A rustic door coffee table creates a shabby chic feel!
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A shabby-chic coffee table made from an old door that bears the mark of time gives your living room that unique, one-of-a-kind feel. A Pinterest-worthy reclaimed table like this one will lend trendy farmhouse decor vibes to your living room at the fraction of the cost of a store-bought equivalent. While you can certainly purchase a vintage table, this project gives you a chance to create an heirloom that will remain in the family for many generations!

Select a door that has character.

Select an Old Door

Purchase an old door from a thrift store, antique shop, or resale shop. Select a door that has character, such as one with cracked paint and visible wood, or other antique-like characteristics. Additionally, the door should have a solid wood core door for strength and durability.

Measure and Mark Your Cut-Lines

Before cutting your door, you need to decide on how tall you want your table to be and which side of the door you want to be visible as the top and sides of the table. Measure and mark your cut-lines using a tape measure, straightedge, and pencil so that your table legs will be even. It is a good idea for the middle of the door to be used as the top of the table, with the top-end and the bottom-end of the door to be used as the sides (legs) of the table.

Measure and mark your cut-lines.

Cut the Door

Wearing protective eyewear, carefully use a table saw to cut the door, thereby creating the top of the table and the table legs. Alternatively, a circular saw can be used to cut the door; however, you will need to be very careful to make straight cuts so that your table is level at completion.

Carefully use a table saw to cut the door.

Glue the Legs to the Tabletop

Apply a bead of wood glue to the underside ends of the tabletop, where the legs will be attached. The best method is to apply sufficient glue so that you make a strong seal when the legs are set into place; but make sure to wipe any excess glue from the visible areas of the table. Next, you will need to use woodworking clamps to hold the joint tight while the wood dries and use a speed-square to make a final check that the legs are at a 90-degree angle to the tabletop. Allow the glue to dry overnight.

Apply wood glue.Wolfcraft frame clamp used to secure legs while glue dries.

Add Support

After the legs are secured to the table, I used excess wood that I cut off of the door to add supportive strength to the inside corners of the leg joints. Using wood cut from the door helps to retain the integrity and vintage look of the door. Apply a bead of wood glue to the support pieces and clamp them in place to ensure a tight fit while the glue dries. Alternatively, you may choose to use a drill and wood screws in addition glue for added strength! Yet another way to ensure a sturdy table would be to add metal corner braces to the inside corners of the table. Set well back from the front and back of the table, these metal braces would not be visible.

Glue support pieces to the table legs for added strength.

Final Touches

While wearing proper eye protection and a particulate respirator to protect your lungs, finish your vintage door coffee table by sanding any rough edges and adding any distress to the finish off the table. It is a good idea to sand and scrape any loose paint and sharp edges and then wash the table before moving it into your house.

Sand rough edges and chipped paint.

This vintage door coffee table is the perfect addition to your shabby chic living room at a fraction of the cost to buy it!

Voila!

Things You Will Need

  • Screwdriver or pry bar
  • Drill and bits
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Circular saw
  • Sandpaper: rough, fine, and very fine
  • Tack cloth
  • Putty: sandable, paintable, stainable
  • Leg hardware or wooden blocks
  • Screws
  • Masking tape
  • Primer and paint
  • Wood stain
  • Polyurethane
  • Extra wood

About the Author

Brent Paape is a Registered Nurse, photographer, and children’s book author, but is always searching for his next DIY project. He resides in Charleston, S.C.