Well, I got my hands on another electrical spool! I had so much fun making my beautiful fluted coffee table with the last spool that I thought I would try making a different fluted piece for my living room this time. This fluted trend is so popular right now. I love it but cannot bring myself to pay the retail price. So, I went the DIY route again! Come and see how I made this DIY fluted side table in a different style than the last one, and how I solved the problems I encountered along the way.
The spool I got this time was smaller than the first one. So, I thought it would make a perfect side or end table! I wanted it to be similar to the coffee table I made but not identical, so I had to come up with a bit of a different process. Even though it’s smaller, it was more fiddly and actually took me MORE time than the large coffee table did! You tell me when you get to the end whether you think all this work was worth it.
Tools Needed to Make a DIY Fluted Side Table
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Step 1 – Take the Spool Apart
The first step was taking out the bolts holding the spool together, so I could take it apart and redesign it. It was a bit of a struggle, but still easier to do myself than the bigger spool! I used a wrench to loosen the bolts, then I removed the metal rods holding the slats together.
Step 2 – Prep the Pieces
This spool wasn’t in quite as good shape as the last one. I used my sander and a fairly fine grit sandpaper and sanded the center boards down to make them smooth and easier to work with. If you’re working inside like I was, I recommend duct taping your sander to your shop vac and saving yourself a whole bunch of cleanup! Remember to wear your mask too, especially if you aren’t in a well-ventilated area.
Step 3 – Put it Back Together
It still seems funny to me that the first thing I had to do after all that work taking the spool apart was put it back together! But keeping the final vision in mind helps me stay motivated in these situations. To reattach all the center slats to the base, I overfilled the grooves that the ends of the boards sit in with wood glue, and then stood them in place. I used painter’s tape to hold them up during this part of the process.
Here’s the first difference between the two tables! Instead of putting the other bottom piece of the spool back on, I cut a circle out of a piece of plywood with my circle jig that was just the same size as the diameter of the circle of slats put back together. I’m going for a different look with this one and I didn’t want the full spool.
I used wood glue to attach the circle to the slats. Then I made sure it stayed in place by putting a few brad nails into it with my nail gun. For this step, make sure all the boards are inside the circle before you nail them in place, since this will be crucial to the finished look of the fluted table! Let it sit until the glue is completely dry, at least overnight.
Step 4 – Surface Repair
Unlike the DIY coffee table, the underside of this DIY fluted side table is visible, so I wanted it to look nice. I decided to try Bondo for the first time to create a smooth, even finish instead of the uneven and not-so-pretty boards. I had never used it before and I was a bit worried about how it would go! Two very important things to remember if you are going to use this product:
- It has a very strong chemical smell, so use it in a well-ventilated area
- Make small batches you can apply quickly, because it doesn’t take long to dry!
Bondo comes in two parts, the can of putty and then a tube of cream hardener. You mix them together to create a chemical reaction and then quickly spread the mixture before it hardens. Mixing on a paper plate would be my recommendation.
I turned the table upside down and used the Bondo mixture to cover all the rough boards on the bottom of the table. I did two coats, and then I used my sander to get it smooth. The next day I used another can to fill in all the little holes and rough spots that were left. I sanded it again, and I love how it turned out! I knew that once it was painted it would look perfect.
Step 5 – Weighing the DIY Fluted Side table down
Because I decided not to put the other end of the spool back on to use as the bottom of the table, I needed a way to make sure it would stay upright. The base of the table is very narrow compared to the top of the table now, and I didn’t want it to tip over. I decided to fill it with concrete.
This is easier than it sounds! I bought some Quikrete quick-setting cement, and I mixed it according to the instructions in a plastic bag. Then I cut a hole in the bottom corner of the bag and poured the cement mixture into the body of the table, through the hole I already had in the tabletop! I did this a couple times using small batches that were easy to work with. Now I know that no one (my cats) will be able to accidentally knock this table over.
Step 6 – Fixing the table
This might not be a necessary step in your process but unfortunately it was in mine! I got to this point in the project and could no longer ignore it: my table was crooked. If I wanted it to be functional, I had to adjust both the top and the base so it would be level.
I dealt with the base first. I had to make it a bit higher, but only on one side! So I put a few wedge-shaped pieces of wood where I wanted it higher, and then I cut out another circle of plywood using my circle jig. Then I covered the entire base with wood glue, and stuck the new bottom over top of the first one. Then I wiped away the excess glue using a damp rag, and I used my nail gun to nail the circle in place.
I did the same with the top: I put a piece of wood on where the top needed to be higher and attached it with wood glue and large clamps. Then I cut a new table top from plywood with my circle jig, just like I did for the base. I covered the entire thing with wood glue, stuck down the new tabletop, and wiped the excess glue away with my cloth. Then I checked to see if it was level, and yay! It was. The table was fixed and ready for the next step.
Step 6 – Fluting the top
The table was fixed, but the sides of the table needed some help! Because I had to wedge up one side and put a second top on, the sides were very ugly and needed covering. My two options were:
- Bondo the edges and make them smooth and finished
- Flute the edges and cover up the ugly fixes with trim pieces
I asked my lovely social media community, and fluting the edge was your top choice! So that’s what I did. I bought some half-round trim and cut it to the right length with my miter saw to fit on the side of the tabletop. Then I put my Loctite Power Grab adhesive on the table itself and glued each piece in place. Next I put a nail in the top and bottom of each piece with my nail gun. This step took FOREVER, but it was the perfect fix for my ugly table problem so I think it was totally worth it!
Step 7 – Fluting the bottom
Then it was time to flute the bottom of the table! I did the same thing that I did for the top, but just with longer pieces of half-round trim that went from the base all the way to the underside of the tabletop. Because the pieces were larger I put glue on each individual trim piece before putting it in place, and I still put a nail in the top and bottom of each.
This step took longer than I originally thought it would because the base isn’t the same height all the way around. This meant I couldn’t cut all my pieces at the same time to the same length like I normally would for a project like this. I had to use my tape measure and then cut each one individually. But when I was done I had the perfect base! It looked so good and I could really see my vision coming together.
Step 8 – Caulk, spackle, and sand
As usual, this step was SO tedious. Caulking the spaces in between all the fluted trim pieces really gave my table a sleek, finished look. I would not recommend skipping it! It took time but I’m really happy with the difference it made in the look of my table.
Then, I sanded the top of the table and added spackle to the outside edges where it meets the fluted pieces, and also used it to fill in any holes or uneven spaces on the wood top itself. You could use wood filler for this step as well! I sanded it down with my power sander again when it was dry so it was ready for paint.
Step 9 – Painting my dIY Fluted Side Table
The final step was paint! I used my paint sprayer since there were so many small surfaces and I knew a roller and brush would leave too many lines and possibilities for drips. The top and base were sprayed with a gorgeous black paint that gave my DIY fluted side table an expensive-looking finish. I did two coats of paint. Then, I did a coat of sealant, since it would be used in my living room for holding drinks and things. I wouldn’t want the paint damaged by a spilled cup of coffee! Once that was done, you couldn’t tell how many little fixes were needed to get this table looking the way it should. I am so happy with how this turned out.
This table adds so much to my living space! The double fluted look I achieved by putting the same half-round trim on the edge as well as the base makes my table unique and eye-catching. I love the color I chose too, although if I do this again I would be tempted to use white spray paint for a totally different kind of neutral look. Even though this is the smaller of my fluted tables, it was definitely the one where I had to do the most work. I think it was totally worth it. It’s so fun to be on top of an emerging trend just by completing a couple of DIY projects!
Have you made over some furniture (or a spool!) to make it more trendy? Tag me @designingparkside with your pics, I would love to see them!
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