Design & DIY

How to make a flip-top side table with built-in storage

Photo by Paul Lewis

This simple side table does double-duty as a secret stash for all that little outdoor stuff you need close at hand—mine holds matches and spare cottage key.

Building the table is a breeze because it uses off-the-shelf cedar for the parts and pocket-screw connections for the assembly. If you’re not familiar with pocket screws, a simple jig kit can be purchased for about $30—combined with a cordless drill, pocket screws are unbeatable for quick, solid connections. Start by cutting all the cedar to length.

The apron and top pieces are cut from 5/4” deck boards and the legs are railing balusters. Give everything a quick sand using 150-grit sandpaper before assembling the parts together.

Starting with the top, attach the three pieces together along their edges with four pocket screws per connection. Next, connect the ends of the aprons to the legs with a couple of pocket screws each.

Offset the screws on each apron so they don’t collide inside the legs. Cut the compartment bottom from a piece of ¼-in. plywood and notch the corners to fit around the legs.

Attach small cleats to the inside of the apron with a few 1-½” finishing nails and drop the bottom in place. Lastly, attach the top with a couple of 3-in. strap hinges.

Click here for a PDF illustration to get started.

What you’ll need:

Top Boards 3 1” x 5-⅜” x 16-⅛”

Aprons 4 1” x 5-⅜” x 11”

Legs 4 1-½” x 1-½” x 23”

Plywood panel 1 11-¼” x 11-¼”

Pocket Screws 24 1-½”

Strap Hinges 2 3”

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