How to build a console table with MDF boards

Take your creative skills to the next level with a DIY MDF project

Console tables are a popular piece of furniture as they make good use of wall space, while also looking aesthetically pleasing in their simplicity. Console tables are great to place decorative items and picture frames, as well as to store things on the lower shelves.

A console table is relatively simple to build. It can in fact be your next DIY project. Besides, if you have some basic woodworking skills it will be even simpler. Having said that, you can try this project out even if you have never built anything before because you can go for a simple design. You can build a console table by using MDF boards cut to size. It is surely the most affordable way to have a piece of furniture to fill up that empty wall space that has been nagging you for some time. Let us outline how to go about it.

MDF Console Table Template. Image credit: Addicted to Decorating
MDF Console Table Template. Image credit: Addicted to Decorating

First off, you will need to decide on the size of your console table. This will depend on the wall space that you have. Based on this, decide on the most suitable dimensions to apply, and mark them on a plan or a sketch of your table.

You can then start by cutting the different parts of the table. Cut the top of the table, the legs, and the shelves that you may wish to include in the lower part. Since MDF is not that thick, make sure to pick the thickest 18mm variety or better, and you may still wish to consider gluing two boards together. The finished panel will need to have a runner attached to its bottom part. In that way with a cleat at the back you will be better able to get a solid result.

Firstly, cut the legs using a band saw or a jigsaw with a light-toothed blade. Make sure to consider the length of the legs. Console tables do not have to be neither too low nor too high up, and you need to choose a suitable height. Mortises in the legs can be made using a router table. Then, make the tenons for the mortises.

Sanding is a very important part of such a project. Make sure to use a light sandpaper to sand well, especially the parts that were cut.

The legs can then be glued to the base. Gluing a triangular support block at the top of each leg will help to strengthen the leg as well as enabling a more flush result when fixing them to the top. Then, the top can be more sturdily attached using fasteners. Put the table top upside down so as to be better able to set the base into the proper position. Once the base is lined up screw it to the top through the fasteners. Make sure to use screws that are of the right length so as to avoid having them show on the upper part of the top.

Painting is obviously an important part of this project. More than one coating is recommended – if you can, use a paint sprayer for a smoother and neater finish. It is normal to end up with parts that look a bit rougher, even if you sanded as well as you possibly could. The reason is that surfaces that had been sanded are going to rough up more once they are painted when compared to the original smooth surface of the MDF board. In such cases you can apply the rounding-over cutter along the corners, especially in the case of the table’s legs.

White Console Table. Image credit: Pic Click
White Console Table. Image credit: Pic Click

Adding a shelf, or even more than one in the lower part of the console table, is obviously optional. However there is no doubt that if you can do it, you will be able to benefit from more space where to place decorative items or simply store away things onto it. The main issue with including a shelf, or shelves, to your console table is that you will need to make sure that the table’s legs are not too thin to hold the additional boards in that area. This is because these will need to be attached to them. So, you will need to consider this in advance because if you would like one or more shelves, you will need to make sure that the table’s sides/legs are sturdy enough. When screwing the legs to the underside of the top, you will also need to add glue and pin the shelf into place by putting pins through each of the legs. You will also need to full up the holes with filler before painting. It is recommended that you apply a coating of clear glaze so as to improve the wearing ability of the paint’s surface.