|

DIY Retrofitted Dining Table Top

This post is sponsored by Minwax.

Remember back a few months ago when I found this dining table for $100 on a Facebook buy/sell/trade group?

Well, it didn’t look like this when we got it actually.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

It desperately needed a paint job, and I was dead set to sand down the top to reveal some gorgeous wood grain that just HAD to be hiding underneath the worn yellowing paint. Except…

…it wasn’t good wood. It was really ugly MDF that gouged easily and didn’t clean up well. A total “womp womp” of a surprise. But I figured I’d already gotten into this mess; I might as well finish it the best I could and deal with it later on when we could tackle Plan B.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

So, hi! Welcome to Plan B. (By the way, don’t you love it when Plan B works out SOOOO much better than you could have imagined for Plan A? Because that’s what happened.)

Robert and I were looking around at table building plans on Ana White for a solution to somehow take apart the table and remake it when it hit me that we could just build a retrofitted table top with a lip to fit it right over the existing table top. No need to take apart the old table or damage it in any way.

(This would be totally doable for coffee tables, end tables, nightstands, dresser tops, whatever surface you find needs some gorgeous real wood grain.)

Here’s the plan we came up with: 

This is the table top upside-down.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

Supplies Used: (Of course, you will likely have to adjust the widths and number of wood planks to work with the size of your existing table, but this is what fit our table’s measurements.)

  • 8 – 1″x6″x6′ boards – We used red oak, but you could use whatever type of wood you prefer.
  • 2 – 1″x8″x6′ boards
  • 2 – 1″x1″x6′ boards
  • 2 – 1″x1″x8′ boards
  • Miter saw
  • Nail gun with 1 1/4″ finishing nails
  • Kreg Jig
  • 1 1/2″ Kreg Jig wood screws
  • Power drill
  • Palm sander
  • 220 grit, 120 grit, 180 grit, and 80 grit sandpaper pads
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Hand clamps
  • 2-3 bar clamps
  • Minwax Stainable Wood Filler
  • Putty knife
  • Clean, dry rags
  • Stain brush
  • Large foam brush
  • Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
  • Minwax Dark Walnut (That’s just the color we chose. There are more color options depicted lower in the post, if you want more ideas.)
  • Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane in Clear Satin (You can choose whatever sheen you like though.)

(Note: We started out planning to use 1″x2″ boards for the lip, but later changed our plan to 1″x1″ boards, in case you’re wondering why 1″x2″ boards are just hanging out in this first photo. You could really use either one, depending on how thick your table’s original top is. )

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

1. Start out by lining up your 1″x6″ boards.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

2. Lay your 1″x8″ boards on each end of the 1″x6″ boards and mark the edges with a carpenter pencil.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

3. Cut the 1″x6″ boards on the line you just marked with your saw to make sure they are the exact length you need to line up with the 1″x8″ boards on the ends.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

4. Measure and mark the width of the 1″x6″ boards lined up to cut the 1″x8″ boards to the size you need with your saw.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

5. Once all boards are cut to the necessary length and width for the template of your table top, line the boards back up and start marking with a pencil where you’ll need to drill pocket holes.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

6. Then, start drilling pocket holes using a Kreg Jig so that they will attach the 1″x8″ boards to each 1″x6″ board. Drill pocket holes on the 1″x6″ boards so they can be screwed into each other as well.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

7. Use bar clamps to press your 1″x6″ boards together and start drilling 1 1/2″ Kreg Jig wood screws into the holes to start connecting the boards.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

8. As you screw 1″x6″ boards together, connect one end to the perpendicular 1″x8″ board using more Kreg Jig screws. Use a hand clamp as you screw.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

9. Once the 1″x6″ board and 1″x8″ top is fully connected and finished, start on the lip by measuring and marking your 1″x1″ board to the width and length of your table top.

10. Use a miter saw to cut the boards at an angle to create corners.

11. Then attach the 1″x1″ boards around the perimeter of the flat table top using a nail gun with 1 1/4″ finishing nails. Line them up as flush to the 1″x6″ boards and 1″x8″ boards as you can.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

Bam! That table top is built!

12. To start making it pretty, flip the table top over so the pocket holes are facing down.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

13. If you end up with some small gaps, use a putty knife to press some Minwax Stainable Wood Filler into the gap to close it up. Let dry.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

14. When the wood filler as fully dried, start getting the wood as smooth as possible by going over it with the palm sander. Start with an 80 grit sanding pad, then a 120 grit, a 180 grit, and finally a 220 grit to make that wood smooth as butt-ah. Sand down the dried wood filler so that it’s completely smooth too.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

15. Brush off (or remove with a tack cloth) any residual sanding dust from the wood and apply a coat of Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner so that the wood will take the stain in the next step evenly.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

16. Let the wood conditioner soak in for at least 5 minutes but no longer than 30 before you start applying stain. Wipe of any excess conditioner with a dry rag just before staining.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

Before we built our table top, Robert and I had to decide what sort of wood we needed to use, so we tested out 8 Minwax stain colors on 3 different species of wood to help us choose. This dining table will get a lot of use over the years, and we weren’t about to go through the process of building this top without doing it thoroughly.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

Of course, we went with the more expensive red oak because we absolutely loved the look of the grain. And with it being a hard wood, we know it will stand the test of time for many many years.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

But if you need help deciding on a stain color for any of your wood projects, here were the results from our little test.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

Notice how splotchy the stain on that pine board is? I’d definitely use wood conditioner for anything pine that you plan to stain. I didn’t apply it on this piece since it was just a sample, but you can definitely tell.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

We almost declared poplar the winner because it seemed like a nice option that still wasn’t too pricey.

But…

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

We just couldn’t get over this gorgeous red oak grain, and we splurged. (When the table itself only costs $100 though, you can do that, right?)

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

We decided Dark Walnut was our winner since I just love the contrast of a dark wood table top with a white table base.

So to finish the steps…

17. Apply a coat of the Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain following the directions on the back of the can. We only applied one coat, but you could do two or three, if you wanted it darker. (For some of the lighter stain colors in the past, I’ve applied two to three coats.)

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

18. We let the stain dry for 24 hours and then, using a foam brush, we applied the Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane. I prefer to use a foam brush because it eliminates bubbles in the final finish. Add 2-3 coats to protect the table top from wear, especially from condensation on drink glasses and food spills.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

Robert and I hauled this baby right in and set it right down on top of our existing table. It fit like a glove! Maybe we should just put green felt down on the original table top and make it a poker table to hide underneath our fancy dining top. (Kidding… or am I? Maybe I should learn to play first. Ha!)

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

I absolutely love how this dining room feels so much warmer and cozier with this pretty wood grain front and center.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

And the satin finish gives it just enough of a sheen to make it catch your eye as soon as you walk in.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

This room is starting to feel more and more complete now with this table finished and the mirror gallery wall complete and fresh paint on the walls.

We still have to swap out the chandelier. Two of the glass beads fell off the other day and were beyond repair, so that’s just a sign to me that it’s about to bite the dust. It’s a remnant from the former owners of this house.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

Okay, I swear I’m done taking pictures of this table. I just can’t stop looking at it.

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

Now, I’m wondering if there are any other tables in our house that could use the retrofitted top treatment. Maybe we could even build a coffee table top with a checker/chess board painted on the underside that we could flip over to play on whenever we wanted. How legit would that be?! I need to find more furniture. 😉

So. many. possibilities.

If you want to save this post for later, you can pin it here:

A tutorial for how to build a retrofitted table top to fit over any existing table using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. #build #furniturebuilding #tabletop #diningtable #diytable #farmhousetable #diyfurniture #woodworking #furnituremakeover #tablemakeover #minwax #woodstain #walnut

Similar Posts

33 Comments

  1. Thanks Lauren. I’m glad it’s still looking good for you. A copy of the photo made its way to a Facebook Woodworking group and a number of us were expressing to beginners in the group that it was, no offense intended, not the way such a thing should be done because of seasonal wood movement issues. Maybe you’ll be the lucky exception over the long term. Either way, you are putting content out there with lots of great DIY projects. Best regards as you continue on with your blog.

    1. If this isn’t “the way it should be done”. What would the “proper “ way be?
      I’m in the process of doing this same thing to my table.

  2. Ok, it’s been two years. Let’s see a picture of it now. Has it begun to crack or separate because of the way you used the pocket screws?

    1. None at all! But we used a hardwood, and I think that is key. If you build it snug on top of an existing tabletop though, even with a soft wood, you shouldn’t have that issue.

  3. Is the table top sitting directly over the original table top or do the sides go around it? Could just be my eyes but I can’t tell, lol. It is beautiful.

    1. The sides go around it, so the original table top fits right inside of the new one and is encased by the sides.

  4. This is genius and stunning! Do you have any trouble with crumbs collecting in the gaps in which you didn’t use wood filler? I’ve seen lots of people use a table saw to get the edges super straight and a planer to get the top perfectly flat, but I don’t have those tools but do have the ones you used for your gorgeous top. Thank you for sharing!!

    1. This is a completely understandable concern. However, Robert did such an amazing job getting the boards tight that they flow as one piece. We do not have space for crumbs to get caught.

  5. Hey! This dining room is gorgeous!! I’ve been trying to find a link to the rug you used? Did you by chance buy this recently? Thanks!

  6. so pretty! Such creative thinking! I would love to make a new top. My table is an extension table. I have family nearby too, and need to have a big table at times. I wonder if there’s a way to make it in two pieces so I could add the leaves. Hmmm…..

    1. Hi Linda,

      You might be able to reproduce the same concept that the table with leaves has. Instead of putting the clips on the underside of the table (since that would not allow it to lay flat over the existing table) perhaps you could get smaller hooks and place it on the underside where it overhangs on the side. Would be a little more work, but definitely cheaper than a new table. 😉

  7. I’ve been toying with the idea of building a new table top. The legs of my dining table are hardwood. But the table top is not; it’s covered in veneer which is coming off in strips. I thought of removing the table top completely and utilizing the existing legs with a newly built hardwood top. But you’re solution seems easier! However, my tabletop is much thicker than yours, a 1 x 1 inch lip would not suffice. Can I just adjust the size of the lip, 1 x 2 inch? Or do I have to adjust the size of all boards used? Thanks!

    1. Absolutely! We almost used a 1×2 but discovered a 1×1 would work just fine. You could certainly make it thicker, if you needed, without having to adjust the other measurements. Your own table’s dimensions might change how many boards you need or board widths you need though.

  8. Take as many photos as you want Lauren. It is definitely a beauty and worth all those shots! Oh and I can totally see a checkerboard. I once did that on a small dresser turned table top.

  9. This is amazing and I kid you not, I’ve been wanting to do something very similar to this to my beat up/kid marked coffee table! You’ve just inspired me like crazy to get it done!!! Thanks for the kick in the booty to make it happen! You’re so talented and such an inspiration!!!

  10. Gorgeous table!! Great job. If you are wanting to rid yourself of the chandelier, let’s talk!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.