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How to Build a DIY Fluted Side Table

Updated: Aug 5, 2021



The fluted trend is ALL over social media right now, so when we were making our mood board for the One Room Challenge, we knew we had to incorporate a fluted piece. We were originally inspired by this end table from West Elm, however it was on backorder AND we thought we could make something similar ourselves.


We also came across another DIY account who made a fluted coffee table of much a larger size. Her blog is incredible and she did a post about her steps to make the coffee table, which really helped us. We made a few tweaks to her tutorial and are sharing our version below.


If you love how this fluted side table turned out, check out our moody office in it's entirety including links to everything you see or similar items.


MATERIALS

TOOLS

CUT LIST

  • (4) 21in pieces using the 2x4 - these will serve as the sides of the rectangular frames

  • (4) 6.5in pieces using the 2x4 - these will serve as the top and bottom of the rectangular frames

  • (45) 21in pieces using the wood dowels - we recommend cutting the 1 piece at a time initially to make sure the dowel fits, after a few you can begin to cut them in mass

PART 1: BUILDING THE FRAMES

  1. Use your 2x4x8 to make 4 separate 21in cuts

  2. Use your 2x4x8 to make 4 separate 6.5in cuts

  3. Attach a 21in cut to either side of the 6.5in cut using wood glue and 2.5in screws

  4. Attach another 6.5in cut to the top using wood glue and 2.5in screws. Tt will rest in between the 2 sides

  5. The result will be a rectangular frame that is 21inches in height and 9.5inches wide

  6. Repeat steps 1-4 to build a second frame



PART 2: SECURING THE FRAMES TO THE ROUNDS

  1. Pick which side of the 15in pine round you would like exposed. You will NOT attach the frames to this side.

  2. Apply wood glue to the bottom of one rectangular frame and the top of the round (the side you DO NOT want to show)

  3. Use your brad nailer and 2in nails to nail the frame to the round from the inside

  4. Repeat this step for the second frame. Make sure there is enough space from the edge of the round to the frame for your 0.5in wooden dowel to fit.

  5. Flip the frame upside down onto the second round (once again make sure the side you DO NOT want exposed is the side that will be in contact with the frame)

  6. Repeat steps 2-3 to attach the second round



PART 3: ADDING THE DOWELS

  1. Use your miter saw to cut a single 21in dowel. We recommend cutting the first one slightly longer as it is always easier to cut something shorter afterwards. Test out the dowel to make sure it fits between the two rounds. For dowels that are only slightly large we recommend using 60 grit sandpaper to sand the dowel to size as it can be difficult to make very small cuts on the saw.

  2. We recommend dry fitting a few of the dowels at first to ensure they will fit in the space between the two rounds

  3. For the first dowel apply wood glue to the top and bottom rounds where the dowel will go and insert the dowel. As this is the first dowel make sure to use a level and make sure the dowel is completely perpendicular. If it is not level it will cause all the following dowels to be crooked.

  4. For the following dowel, first spray insta-set accelerator on the top, middle and bottom of the PREVIOUS dowel where the two dowels will touch.

  5. Apply a few drops of CA glue on the top, middle and bottom of the CURRENT dowel you are about to insert.

  6. Insert the current dowel and press firmly for at least 20 seconds to secure the current dowel to the previous dowel. This step is important to make sure that there is not any space between the dowels, which can frequently happen as some of the dowels can be bowed.

  7. Repeat steps 4-5 until you have made it all the way around your structure.

  8. When you get to the last dowel you may have to sand it down circumferentially if the space leftover is too small for the dowel.



PART 4: FINISHING TOUCHES

  1. Use wood filler on any small cracks that you may have between dowels. We had a very small one on either side of our last dowel.

  2. Once the wood filler is dry (24hrs) lightly sand the entire structure using 220grit sandpaper to remove any rough surfaces

  3. Apply paint using a brush that works well with the type of paint you are using. Latex-based paints work best with synthetic bristle brushes whereas oil-based paints work best with natural bristle brushes. The paint we used was a paint and primer in one. If the paint you are using does not include primer, then always make sure to prime before you paint. Here is one of our favorite primers.

  4. If you choose to stain your table apply a single coat of wood conditioner first and then apply your stain using a cotton cloth or pad. We recommend testing the stain on a scrap piece of wood of similar material to make sure you love the stain you chose. Here are a few of our favorites stains: Early American, Provincial, Kona

  5. Let the first coat dry and then apply a second coat of paint

  6. Once the table is dry to the touch (paint or stain) apply a layer of poly

  7. For the top we applied a second layer of polycrylic as this will be a highly trafficked surface.

Enjoy your new side table!


If you do not enjoy the tedious task of installing 45 wooden dowels by hand here are a few similar pieces that inspired us in the first place: West Elm, West Elm, Serena and Lily, Pottery Barn


For more sources of this room, check out our Office page!