Coffee Table

Build a Coffee Table or a Day Bed by Yourself

The latest survey shows that sometimes homemade furniture pieces may last as long as, for instance, the IKEA mattress warranty. If you have good guidance and quality materials, you can easily create eye-catching interior detail that will serve you for years.  Let’s focus today on adding some color to your table or making a day bed. 

Quick Project Guide

Hard labor 4/10 

Skill level  5/10 

Time needed  3 hours 

Finished size  450mm (H) x 450mm (W) x 1100mm (L) 

Do it yourself for: ±R620: MDF R400; screws, glue R60; wooden handle R30; handles R30; glass R100

Shopping list

• 16mm MDF cut to: 1085 x 450mm (table base), two 450 x 146mm (drawer housing – sides); 

• one 450 x 166mm (upright), one 466 x 450mm (top), two 430 x 130mm (drawer – front and back), two 418 x 130mm (drawer – sides), one 418 x 398mm (drawer bottom);

• 25mm-diameter meranti rake handle, cut it to four 300mm lengths; 

• 6mm glass cut to 618 x 450mm


• cordless and corded drill; 3mm, 5mm, 10mm drill bit; 

• router, and straight bit; 

• screwdriver;  

• G-clamp; 

• 25mm Forstner bit or 25mm spade bit; 

• pencil;

• measuring tape; 

• sander


• cold glue 

• 32mm drywall screws 

• 50mm chipboard screws 

• 120 grit sandpaper 

• wood filler 

• paintbrush or foam roller

1. Adjust the guide on your router (with straight bit fitted) to create a 6 x 6mm recess along the long edge of the 450 x 166mm upright, as well as along one edge of the 466 x 450mm piece (top), as shown.

2  Measure 16mm-wide bands across the 1085 x 450mm table base. Mark 16mm from either side, measure and mark a line 434mm from one line, then mark another 16mm apart. Drill pilot holes (using the 3mm drill bit) between these lines then fix the 450 x 146mm (drawer housing – sides) along the edge and middle, then the 450 x 166mm upright at the end. Use the drywall screws to fix in place, then fill the holes with wood filler.

3. Apply glue to the top edges of the 450 x 146mm (drawer housing – sides) and place the 466 x 450mm top onto these, as shown. Fix in place along the side. Simply place weight onto the side (with the edge cut out) and leave to dry; it’s not necessary to fix this edge with screws, as the glue will provide a strong enough bond.

4. Construct the drawer using simple overlap joins: overlap the 418 x 130mm lengths (sides) with the 430 x 130mm (front and back) lengths and then fix the 418 x 398mm (drawer bottom) inside this frame, as shown. Use the 32mm drywall screws to construct the drawer after drilling 3mm pilot holes and countersinking the holes with the 10mm drill bit.

5. Mark the center point along the drawer fronts and mark the position of the handles. Use the 5 mm drill to drill holes for the screws before using the screwdriver to fix them in place.

6. We decided to create unique legs for this table using offcut pieces of MDF and short lengths cut from a meranti rake handle. Glue eight 80 x 80mm offcut pieces of MDF together in pairs. Once the glue has hardened, use the G-clamp to hold these firmly to the work surface while you drill holes for the legs using the 25mm Forstner or 25mm spade bit. Use a second clamp as a guide to ensure that you drill all four holes for the table legs at exactly the same angle.

7. Fix the blocks in the corners on the underside of the table, roughly 50mm from the edges, using glue and the 50mm screws. Then cut the 25mm meranti rake handle into four 300mm lengths and glue these into the holes.

TO FINISH: Sand all the edges and then apply a primer or sealer to all the surfaces. Once dry, apply one or two topcoats in the color (s) of your choice; we applied two coats of Plascon Velvaglo.

Build a Day Bed 

Need a break but can’t get to the beach? Lounge around in your own garden on this comfy daybed – just don’t forget the sunblock!

Quick Project Guide

Hard labor 5/10 Skill level  4/10 Time needed  about four hours (excluding drying time) Finished size  ±1900mm (W) x 900mm (D) x 2200mm(H)

Shopping List

Three 2400 x 144 x 22mm pine cut to: two 1880mm (base, front, and back) two 955mm (base ends)

Four 2400mm x 96mm x 22mm pine cut to: two 1880mm (backrest, back) two 955mm (backrest, sides)

Four 2400mm x 69mm x 32mm pine cut to: four 2200mm (uprights)

Five 2400mm x 22mm x 22mm pine cut to: two 1860mm (braces) two 1880mm (top frame, lengths) two 998mm (top frame, sides)

Six 1800mm x 69mm x 22mm pine cut to: twelve 900mm (slats)

Other Items

±fifty 35mm chipboard screws

±fifty 50mm chipboard screws

±fifty 75mm chipboard screws

wood glue

wood filler, primer, paint


drill and combination countersink drill bit


measuring tape

combination square or tri-square

paintbrush or foam roller

corner clamp (optional)

Project Notes

We designed our daybed to accommodate a standard single mattress (910 x 1880mm).

Should you make the dimensions of your daybed slightly narrower (890mm) and shorter (1790mm) you could use 1800mm lengths of pine instead – and so, lower the overall cost by around R200.

You can then have a piece of foam cut (and covered) to this size instead of using a standard size.

Get started

  1. Create the bed framework by overlapping the 1880mm planks with the 955mm pine planks. Measure and mark lines 22mm from the ends of both 955 x 22mm pine planks. Then drill three pilot holes and glue and screw (using the 50mm chipboard screws) these to the ends of the 1880mm planks. Use a tri-square or corner clamp (shown here) to ensure that the corners are perpendicular.
  2. Fix the two 1860mm braces inside the framework. Position these about 44mm (use an off cut as a spacer) from the edge of the longer (1880mm) sides of the framework. Fix in place, using the 35mm chipboard screws. Remember:  Apply wood glue to the joint before screwing.
  3. Attach the 69 x 32mm pine legs to the framework by placing the frame on its side. Place the uprights (two at a time) under the corners of the framework and use a measuring tape to position the framework so that the ‘top’ of the frame is 450mm from the ends of the uprights. Fix in place using three 50mm chipboard screws. Important: Use a tri-square to ensure that the corners are perpendicular.
  4. Once you’ve affixed all four legs, turn the bed upright onto its legs. Draw lines on the ‘outside’ of the legs to indicate the position of the frame sides: 144 x 22m (see image). Now drill two countersunk pilot holes between these lines, remembering to position these between the three screws used to fix the framework, as shown, using 75mm chipboard screws.Position the backrest sides (955mm) between the uprights (flush with the outside edge) and screw in place, as in step 
  5. Space this 96mm apart (use an offcut piece as a spacer). Do the same on the other side. Now fix the two remaining lengths (1880mm back) between the ends of the backrest sides and fix in place using 75mm chipboard screws.
  6. Turn the bed back on its side to attach the 22mm top framework, as shown. (You could also do this after completing step 3.) Position the top framework sides (998mm) flush with the edge of the upright and then fix the top frame lengths (1880mm) inside the ends, as shown.
  7. Space the twelve 900mm slats roughly 90mm apart, along with the length of the 22 x 22mm braces (fixed to the inside of the frame). Fix these in place using the 50mm chipboard screws. TIP Create a spacer by fixing a 22mm offcut to a 69mm offcut (see image below).
  8. Then fill all holes and blemishes with wood filler. Choose a color filler that matches the wood you are using, if you intend to stain the piece instead of painting. When the filler is dry, sand all surfaces lightly and also the edges. Then add a coat of multisurface primer or universal undercoat followed by enamel paint in the color of your choice.