How to make an art-deco style coffee table

Set the scene for coffee and conversation with this DIY art deco-style coffee table. The finished size is 570mm wide and 400mm high, making this piece perfect for a side or coffee table.

Bunnings magazine, April 2020

Tools and materials

1.2m length 42mm x 42mm DAR pine

10mm drill bit

11 x 2400mm lengths of 19mm tri-quad moulding

120-grit abrasive paper with sanding block

400mm x 35mm x 75mm timber offcut

40mm timber screws

50mm angled paintbrush

60mm timber screws

8G countersinking bit

Brad nailer with 25mm nails

Builder’s square

Clean cloths

Drill with driver bit

Jigsaw with wood-cutting blade

MDF panel 1200mm x 600mm x 16mm

MDF panel 900mm x 600mm x 9mm

Measuring tape and pen

Mini roller with tray

Mitre saw or hand saw

Paint in contrasting colours (we used Taubmans Endure interior doors & trims semi gloss in Crab Shell for the top and Plum Jam for the base)

Random orbital sander with 120-grit abrasive disc

Safety equipment

Small hammer

String

Timber filler

Woodworking adhesive

1. Measure and cut the MDF

Using a mitre or hand saw, trim MDF panels to make one 9mm-thick 600mm square and two 16mm-thick 600mm squares. Cut a 9mm-thick tabletop circle 530mm in diameter. Use the tabletop to mark and cut structural top and base circles from the 16mm-thick MDF.

Expert tip: The trick to cutting circles for this table is to use MDF, which is a composite material that doesn’t have a grain, making it easier to cut with a jigsaw.

A sheet of MDF cut into a circular shape

2. Cut the supports

On the 42mm square pine, measure three 320mm supports and three 50mm feet, cutting with a mitre saw. Use a countersinking bit to drill holes into each third of the top, apply adhesive and secure the supports with 40mm screws. Turn assembly upside down to attach the base, using a builder’s square to line them up.

Drilling through a round piece of mdf to countersink and attach the table supports

3. Measure and cut the quad

On a length of 19mm tri-quad moulding, measure 395mm, then use a stopper on the mitre saw to cut 62 strips of equal length.

Tip: To set up a stopper, use the fence on the saw table or use a clamp with timber offcuts, cutting up to three lengths at a time.

Using a Ryobi mitre saw to cut lengths of timber

4. Apply the adhesive

Working in sections of about 150mm, apply adhesive around the edges of the top and base.

Tip: The top is upside down on the work surface. Position a strip against the adhesive, resting the end flat on the work surface and nailing into the base. Use a builder’s square to check the strip is straight before nailing to the top. Position the next strip flush against the first to secure.

Applying adhesive glue and using a nail gun to secure timber to table

5. Continue to glue on the quad

Repeat with the remaining strips, working in sections and wiping adhesive drips with a damp cloth. To start each section, use the builder’s square to check the strip is straight. At the last section, before applying adhesive, dry-fit the strips to check if they fit evenly or require spacing out slightly.

Using a ruler to align and glue on the surrounding timber

6. Screw on the feet

Use a countersinking bit to drill holes into the centres of the feet, position them onto thirds of the base, apply adhesive and secure with 60mm screws. Turn the assembly over and check all the nails are secure, tapping any protruding heads with a small hammer.

Assembled table turned upside-down to attach three cubed feet

7. Sand and fill holes

Use a random orbital sander with 120-grit abrasive disc to smooth around the strips to ensure theyre level with the top, then smooth around the base. Cover nails and the guide hole in the tabletop with timber filler, leaving to dry before sanding lightly using 120-grit abrasive paper with a sanding block.

Sanding the top of the table with a Ryobi orbital sander

8. Paint your table

Elevate the table on offcuts, then use a 50mm angled brush to apply three even coats of paint, leaving to dry between each. Use a mini roller with tray to apply three coats to the tabletop, leaving to dry.

Using a brush to paint the assembled table a shade of deep red

9. Attach the tabletop

To attach the tabletop, apply adhesive underneath, centre it over the top of the table, push down and leave to dry.

a complete art-deco table, painted red with a round, orange table top

Photography credit: Cath Muscat, Natasha Dickins

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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