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Trunk Side Table Tutorial



DIY Trunk Side Table

I’m in the process of upscaling my living area. It all started with my husband buying a new sectional that didn’t match any of our decor. Instead of buying all new furniture, I decided to make a few pieces to help cut costs, and I did I mention how much I love making things? It was the perfect opportunity for me to hone in on my new wood-working skills. I instantly fell in love with Ana White’s Emmerson Changing Table (by: West Elm).  Pen to paper, I scetched my first plan. My idea became a reality in a few days and it was so simple. I love the rustic reclaimed wood appearance. What do you think?



DIY Trunk Table

Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 25 3/4″



5 – 1×2 pine or white wood @ 6′

6 – 1×4 pine or white wood @ 6′

1/4″ plywood cut to 18×18 for base

3 1/2″ Bun Foot Wood Table Legs

Handful of Nail Heads

Hardware of your choice

1 1/4″ pocket hole screws

Wood Glue

1″ & 1 1/4″  nails for nail gun

Minwax Provincial  and Walnut Stain

White paint


Miter Saw

Kreg Jig

Nail gun

Orbital Sander


Measuring Tape


For Front and Back Panels:



4- 1×2’s @ 17 1/2″ (vertical)

4-1×2’s @ 18″ (horizontal)

10 1×4’s @ 15″ (all going horizontal)


For Side Panels:


4- 1×2’s @ 17″  (horizontal)

10- 1×4’s @ 17″ (all going horizontal)



4 – 1×4’s @ 18″ mitered at 45 degree angles (for the top)

2-1X2’S @ 18″ (I screwed these under the lid mitered pieces)

2-1X2’S @ 15″ (I screwed these under the lid mitered pieces) Random pieces to fit in the middle. I used scrap pieces and cut to fit or you could use an 11″x11″ piece of 3/4″ plywood. – See more at: http://ana-white.com/node/13607#sthash.OfKz26fM.dpuf

Cutting Instructions:

Take all your 1X4’s and cut them to size. You will have a total of (10) 1×4’s @ 15″ for your front and back panels and (10) 1×4’s @ 17″ for your side panels. I saved cutting my wood for the lid until the very end. Next, cut your 1×2’s to size. You will have a total of (4) 1×2’s @ 18″ (horizontal) and (4) 1×2’s@ 17 1/2″ (vertical) for the front and back panels. You will have (4) 1×2’s @ 17″ (horizontal) for the side panels.

Step 1:

Start by making your front and back panels. Glue, screw and attach your (5) 1×4 wood planks together. I made pocket holes on all my 1×4’s, but you don’t have to. You can use wood glue and clamps. Repeat this for your back panel.


Step 2 Instructions:

Build your frame for the front and back parts of your trunk. See below. Take your two 1×2’s @ 17 1/2″ long (brown) and drill pilot holes into the ends with your Kreg Jig. Next attach your bottom 1×2 @18″ (green) by using your 1 1/4″ pilot hold screws. Repeat this for your back panel. You will attach your last 1×2 after you add your 5-piece panel of 1 x 4’s.



Step 3 Instructions:

Make your side frames. Add your 17″ piece of wood to the bottom. Attach it by using glue and nails with your nail gun. You cannot use your 1 1/4″ ph screws because they are too long. You could use smaller size pocket hole screws. Do this for the other side too. Remember, you will add your top piece of wood after you insert your 5-layer panel of 1×4’s.


Step 4 Instructions:

Add your 5-layer panels of 1×4’s to all your frames. I started with my front and back panels first. I added some glue and they fit snugly into the frame. You could use a few nails for extra security by using your nail gun.




Step 5 Instructions:

Attach your top piece of 1×2 wood (green) by using a 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. You already made the pocket holes on the vertical pieces of wood (brown). Do this for the back panel too.


Step 6 Instructions:

Complete your side panels in the same way you just did for your front and back panels.


Step 7 Instructions:

Attach your now complete base to the 1/4″ plywood bottom. You can screw, nail or glue this portion. I used a nail gun and glue to secure both pieces together.

Step 8 Instructions:

Add the legs per manufactorers instructions


Step 9 Instructions:

Make the lid. Use your miter saw to cut the 1×4’s at a 45 degree angle. Attach them together using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.

Use scrap pieces of wood to make the center portion of the lid. You can be as creative as you want or simply cut out a piece of wood that measures 11×11. You can use a kreg jig to drill holes and attach the pieces with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.

**Optional Step**

I added a “lip” to my lid. I just took some extra 1×2 pieces of wood I had and drilled a screw through them to secure them to the lid. I layed my 1 x2’s flat to the lid (see photo). My lid measured 1″ tall (1/2″ from the 1×4 from the lid & 1/2″ from the side of the 1×2).


Step 10 Instructions:

Decide on whether you want to paint or stain it. I got all my inspiration from Ana White’s Emmerson Changing table. So please visit her site to see the exact way I finished it. I did sand all the wood prior to application.
Add your decorative hardware and hinges. I also attached a handful of nail heads to the bottom piece (I attached them to the 1/4″ piece of plywood that was visible).
hope you enjoy this affordable knockoff as much as I do. Total cost excluding the hardware was $65.00!! What a bargain. Price with hardware put me at $100, but still not bad.

Preparation Instructions:
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Finish Used:
To achieve this stain, the entire cabinet was stained a medium stain. Then for the doors, selective boards were sanded down to remove some of the stain, lightening the boards. Other boards were given another layer of darker stain. And for the lighter areas, I taped off areas and sanded all the stain off to give the appearance of a past board to board joint.


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