Guest Project: Make an old Window into a Coffee Table!
June 9, 2010
Thank you so much, Jen, for inviting me to post here at Tatertots and Jello! This is my favorite craft blog, so it’s truly an honor to be guest blogging today.
I’m Emily, from Martha Shmartha. I’m a SAHM to Nate, 7, and Abbie, 4. They are my curly-haired sweethearts (when they’re not driving me crazy…)!
I’ve been married for almost 8 years to my best friend from high school. Alan is a Psychiatry Resident, so we don’t see each other nearly enough, but we love each other more than anything else and we have a whole lot of fun together!
I absolutely love crafts of all types. I have little inhibition when it comes to trying anything new, and while I sometimes end up in over my head, I can say that I’ve tried a lot of different things! I like to sew, love Mod Podge and can do some pretty neat things with freezer paper. The project that I settled on for my guest post is making a coffee table out of an old window. I’m even going to show you how to replace the glass with tempered glass, making it safe for little ones! I was actually surprised by how simple it was! Let’s get started, shall we?
4 Table Legs
Hardwood: 1x3s (I used Maple)–You’ll need enough to equal the perimeter of your window)
2″ wide x 1/4″ thick (I used Aspen)–Enough to equal the perimeter of one pane x2
Screws: 2″ and 1 1/4″
Tape Measure and Pencil
Saw: Circular and Straight (with Miter Box)
Paint (Primer if it’s not included in the paint)
Paint brushes: Bristle and/or Foam, depending on your preference
The first step is to prepare your window. Remove any old hardware.
Now you want to start measuring your frame. Lay the window on top of a 1×3 to measure the length. Mark the length with a pencil. (Some of you fancy people might just measure the window and transfer that measurement to the board, but here in our house, we like to keep things nice and complicated.)
Make sure that you transfer your marking to the inside of the board, where you’ll be sawing.
Now make the cut!
Since you need another board of the same length for the opposite side of the window, you can measure with the board that you just cut.
(That’s my hot hubby!)
Make that cut too. Here’s another picture, just in case you missed the first MAKE THE CUT shot.
To measure the short sides of the window, lay the two boards that you just cut together along one side. Then measure and mark your board. This allows you to account for the width of the boards, without having to measure between them.
Make the cut, then use that board to measure the board for the opposite side of the window. Make that cut as well. Look back two shots if you need another picture of the saw.
Your frame is ready to go!
The next step is get the table legs ready. The legs that I chose had screws in the top. If your legs came that way too, just use pliers to twist the screws out.
Time to put it all together! The first step is to lay the entire frame out, with the table legs in place. You want to be sure that all of the corners are squared up and that everything fits together correctly.
Now just pick a corner at which to start. I drilled holes before putting the screws in, but it’s up to you whether or not you do that. Check the box of screws for that information.
Use a screwdriver to insert 2″ screws. I placed two screws on each side of each corner for a total of sixteen screws.
Making sure that your table is properly aligned every time, continue to place the screws until there are two screws on each side of each corner.
Hurray–Your frame is built!
If you would like to use the glass that is already inside your window frame, the next step would be to screw the window to the top of the frame (see below). If you have small children like I do, and want to change the glass out for tempered or thicker glass, continue on with the following steps.
We’re going to start out by building a small support frame for the glass. In my window, the glass was only supported by a few nails and I didn’t think that support would be strong enough for use as a coffee table. We’ll begin by pulling out all of the nails.
Carefully remove the glass. When it is time to replace the glass, we will actually be replacing it through the front of the table. (We’ll be removing the molding, replacing the glass, then replacing the molding.)
For the glass support, measure the length between the table legs on one long side of the window, inside the table frame.
Transfer that measurement to a 2×1/4 slat. You can simply use a straight saw to make this cut.
Measure the lengths between the table legs for the other three sides of the window. Don’t assume that the two long sides and two short sides will have the same lengths. Placement of the the table legs and layout of the table itself meant that one of our lengths was just slightly shorter than the opposite side.
Make the remaining three cuts. Lay them inside the table to be sure that everything fits correctly.
With the glass supports laid out, measure the length of the window’s center bar.
Measure, mark, and cut this length on two of the slats.
This is what the underside of your table should look like thus far:
We won’t screw the glass support slats on until later, so remove those pieces and set them aside.
Attaching the Window to the Frame
Right now it’s time to screw the table to the base! Set the window on the frame, lining it up as best you can. Measure to find the center of the windowpane because that’s where we’ll be placing the screw.
Insert the screw (and make sure that you’re having this much fun):
I placed two screws on the long sides and one screw on each of the short sides. Be careful to drop your screw into the middle of the 1×3, under the window. (It won’t be centered on the width of the window itself.)
Time to attach the glass support slats, so turn the table over. Layout all of the frame pieces to be sure you have them in the correct places. Insert two screws into each pane area on the long sides (4 per long side total) and 2-3 on each short side.
For the center supports, place three screws into each piece.
Now take a quick break and check on your kids. This is what I found (That’s supposed to be a mustache–What?!):
Now it’s time to paint! I purchased a paint-and-primer-in-one, but if you don’t have that, it’s probably a good idea to do a quick coat of primer before your paint. I forgot to take a picture, but before you paint, sand down the old window frame. I didn’t take off all of the paint because I wanted it to retain a little of its texture and charm, but be sure to even everything out so that the paint goes on smoothly. After sanding, use a wet washcloth to wipe away all of the sawdust and paint chips. Wait for this to dry before painting.
For the actual painting, we used a combination of bristle brushes and foam brushes. There were a few areas, especially on the legs, that necessitated a foam brush. I also used them to smooth things out at the end. Don’t forget to lay down a drop cloth; I have a white rectangle from a past paint project on my driveway that I’m starting to think is never going to go away.
Let the paint dry according to the directions on the can. If you just want a white table, skip ahead to the directions on replacing the glass. I wanted my table to look somewhat aged or antiqued. This is what I did:
I used a rag to wipe Wood Stain onto the table, then used a clean rag to wipe it back off. I mixed my stain with a little bit of water so that it wasn’t so thick, so just see what works best for you. I tried it out in an inconspicuous place on the table just to see how it was going to work, before I smeared it all over the top. I went for a little darker look on the areas that would supposedly be the most aged, like the corners and edges.
The stain will give your wood a bit of a worn look, sort of antiqued. I only used the stain on the actual window itself, as I wanted it to appear just a little bit different than the rest of the table.
Replacing the Glass
Start removing the moulding from the window frame. Use the hammer to gently tap the moulding remover between the moulding and the frame. Carefully pull the molding away from the frame. Be extremely gentle or you’ll end up cracking the wood. If at all possible, leave the nails in the moulding! (We’ll use them when we put it all back together again.)
After you have removed the four pieces of moulding from each pane, remove the old glass. Gently place the tempered glass into the window frame. Then replace the pieces of moulding into their original positions. If you left the nails in the moulding after you pulled if off, you should (hopefully!) be able to just hammer the nails back into their original holes.
Now do a little dance because you built a coffee table from an old window! What do you think? I absolutely love my new table. My husband and I have never owned a real coffee table before, as they’re all very expensive and he’s still a Resident, but now we have one and even better, it’s homemade! I owe a huge thank you to my dear hubby, who was more than helpful in the building of this table. I had back surgery a couple of months ago and just could not have done it all alone. Thanks, Honey!
Thank you, Jen, for letting me blog for you today! I had so much fun building our table and am so pleased to be able to share it with your readers. Thank you!
Thanks Emily — that is an amazing project and a wonderful tutorial! Here is a button for sharing your tutorial with us!
Emily is so so talented. You really need to check out her blog —