Last week I had a go at making a small DIY side table following instructions given in a tutorial I saw on design sponge by Silvia Song. I picked up the wood for the project from my local timber yard – Catford Timber. The total cost was around £40 with free delivery.

I’m a bit of a rookie when it comes to woodwork but I try to have a go and am attempting to expand my knowledge beyond basic frames which I use in the paper making kits that I currently produce (coming soon – a shop!).

I made a couple of fairly unforgivable mistakes all of which were luckily easily correctable and didn’t involve me having to buy the wood again. It’s definitely always a good idea to measure the actual dimensions of the wood instead of just presuming they’re exactly what you asked for. The rest I’m almost too embarrassed to admit (involves some upside-down handiwork and a lot of brutal corrections). Next time I’ll be forcing myself to sketch everything out and check dimensions. I always excitedly rush into DIY things in a wave of chaotic energy.

  • diy side table photo 1
  • diy side table photo 2
  • diy side table photo 3
  • diy side table photo 5

I stuck to the original design fairly closely with some slight changes to the design of the drawer (a lip to allow it to be pulled out easily without a handle). At the moment I’m using the cabinet sanded with no finish as was shown in the original tutorial but I’m debating whether or not to give it a lick of varnish or even paint – I went in to the project with bold intentions of a contrasting primary coloured drawer, but have yet to pluck up the courage or purchase the paint.

This is what Silvia says about the design (quoted from design sponge)

I chose this project as an exercise to see if I could design and build a simple drawer unit in the spirit of Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione (self-design). I wanted to use just a few simple hand tools and assemble each part by cross cutting only off-the-shelf lumber. The biggest challenge was to find a way to work with the actual dimensions of lumber to come up with puzzle-like pieces simple enough for a novice to build, but not lacking in versatility. My intentions were to keep things as simple and organic as possible, but you can easily personalize it by staining or painting the wood. I really enjoyed designing it, and I hope you enjoy building it! — Silvia


(What I was aiming for)

I had a great time making this DIY side table and got it finished in a few hours, really recommend this one.