Coffee tables are the centerpiece to every living room. Searching for a unique, sturdy yet simple design can be a difficult process. For example, the table that this one was modeled on cost $760!

But with tools, ingenuity, and some patience, you can create your own coffee table. This DIY coffee table is an inexpensive yet stylish centerpiece that you can be proud of.

Required tools

  1. Welding Equipment – This project requires some welding aluminum. We have a blog post about that as well.
  2. Electric Drill
  3. Sander (or sand paper)
  4. Miter Saw
  5. Tape Measure
  6. Pencil
  7. Safety Glasses and Gloves

Required materials

  1. 2x Aluminum rectangle tubes, 1″ x 3″ x 24″ long
  2. 4x Aluminum rectangle tubes, 1″ x 2″ x 15″ long
  3. 2x Aluminum rectangle tubes, 1″ x 2″ x 12″ long
  4. 2x pieces of lumber, 2″ x 6″ x 24″ long
  5. 1 quart of wood stain –  We used Varathane Fast Dry stain in Kona brown
  6. 20x Zinc-plated corner brace, 1″
  7. 20x Phillips head self-tapping screws, 1-7/16″

Note about building materials and finishes:

We love how versatile this design is. For our version of this project, we used aluminum and a coffee colored stain. Specifically, the aluminum was chosen due to the low weight, low cost, corrosion resistance, and ease of machining.

But if you want, you can easily use hot roll steel tubing for a more rustic or industrial look. Similarly you can use a lighter or more dramatic stain for a more modern and eye grabbing look. Or, you can use brass tubing and black or a copper stain for a much more art deco aesthetic. Glossy paint or lacquer on the metal and say a blue or white stain on the wood looks futuristic and sleek. The options are nearly endless!

*Images courtesy of DesignInFocus

diy coffee table

DIY coffee table construction

Step 1 – Cut aluminum tubes, clean the cuts

Using your Miter saw, cut 45° angles on the edges of the 12″ and 15″ aluminum tubes. Use the image above and below for examples.

diy coffee table

Step 2 – Weld sides together

Once the cuts are cleaned, weld the 12″ and 15″ tubes together as shown in the image above.

Step 3 – Weld main support beams to side frames

Stand your two rectangular side frames up, and then weld the 24″ beams to them as shown below. The frame once done will look the same from the top or bottom.

diy coffee table

Step 4 – Sand and stain wood pieces

We suggest you stain all of the wood pieces. This will help make sure no bare wood peaks through. Also it will help protect the wood.

Step 5 – Mount braces on wood

You will note that the wood is 2″ thick while the frame is only 1″ thick. Because of this, when you make the wood flush with the tabletop, there is an extra inch of lip on the bottom of the table. This is what you are using to mount the wood to the frame.

We suggest you do a dry fitting mockup on this first. You will mount three braces on each of the short edges of the wood, and then four along one long edge. Lay out the braces so they are flush with the bottom of the wood, as shown in the picture below. Next, mark where the holes will be. Then, drill the necessary ten holes and screw the braces on.

diy coffee table

Step 6 – Mount wood to frame

Now, slide the wood up under the frame and push it up into position. Having an an extra person or two helps here. Or if you have a lot of clamps, that would work.

Make sure the wood is flush with the top of the frame and the braces are flush with the underside of the frame. Finally, use the self-tapping screws and screw all of the braces to the underside of the frame.

diy coffee table

Step 7 – Clean up and enjoy!

Make sure all of your welds and lips are sanded and flush. Restain or refinish as needed.

And you’re done! Enjoy your beautiful and skillfully built DIY coffee table. Make sure to brag a bit that you made it yourself.

Would you like to know more?

Are you welding this yourself? Do you have questions about welding aluminum? If so, good news, we have a post all about that!