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Easy DIY Fluted Side Table Tutorial

Want to learn how to recreate that gorgeous fluted trend you’ve been seeing all over social media? This easy DIY project will help you transform a basic thrift store table to create a stylish haven worthy of a design magazine. Read on for the full tutorial.

diy fluted side table

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​This is hands down one of my favorite DIY projects of all time!

I’ve had my eye on this gorgeous fluted dining table from Arhaus for quite some time, but given that we just completed this large kitchen renovation, coupled with the fact that I still can’t have nice things with small kids, I had to find a way to dupe this look on a budget. 

​Facebook Marketplace to the rescue! I scored this old, office conference table for $25, and it’s super solid and heavy. The cylinder base was a bonus because it wouldn’t take a lot of time to flute it and simply refinish the top.

diy fluted side table

And after I found this gem, tables just like it were popping up in my feed constantly, so keep you eyes peeled and you should be able to find a similar deal for this project. 

It’s much easier to flip furniture than to build your own. Plus, it doesn’t require a lot of expensive power tools. Let’s dive in and find out what I used to go from this…

to this.

Materials used 

Tools

How do you make a fluted table?

Steps to create a fluted table look using an existing table base and top:

Step 1 – Refinish table top

Because the half wood dowels I needed weren’t exactly cheap, and I would need a lot of them. I wanted to make sure that I could salvage the top of the table and recreate the expensive looking finish I was going for first. 

diy fluted side table

I started by sanding the existing finish off using 80 grit sandpaper and quickly realized I was working with veneer. Not a problem, I knew it could stain beautifully, but sanding veneer can be tricky because you have to be sure not to sand through the layers of wood or you’ll end up with this.

diy fluted side table

Glue splotches in the center.

diy fluted side table

And let me tell ya, glue does not stain. I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel, and for $25, I figured I could just cover this spot on the wood top with a vase and nobody would be the wiser.

I carried on and smoothed over the top with 220 grit sandpaper to prepare it for stain.

Step 2 – Stain the table top

The first step to staining is to apply a pre-stain or wood conditioner coat to the surface. I allowed it to dry for 15 minutes before wiping off the excess and then I applied my stain.

​Because I had no idea what type  of wood I was working with, I didn’t know the undertones well enough to pick a stain color.  This was a complete trial and error experiment. 

diy fluted side table

​My first layer using the color provincial pulled way too much red for me. I ended up layering the color smoke gray overtop to help neutralize the red tones and it worked pretty well to give it that rustic dark chocolate brown I was going for.

​Step 3 – Cut dowels for fluting

Next, you’ll want to measure the base height of your table. This will be the length that you cut the dowels down to.

diy fluted side table

I was able to get roughly three cut pieces out of each full dowel, but it depends entirely on your table’s height.

diy fluted side table

This process was a bit time consuming because you have to remeasure for a new cut after completing each one. 

Step 4 – Stain dowel trim pieces

​Since the wood pieces are unfinished you only need to smooth over the grain lightly with 220 grit sandpaper prior to staining. 

Next you’ll repeat the same process with pre-stain and then your stain color(s) of choice.​

diy fluted side table
diy fluted side table

Step 5 – Attach dowels

Finally you’re ready to attach the half round dowel pieces to the base of the table.

For this step you’ll want to use 1 inch brad nails loaded into your nail gun.

Start by applying a generous amount of liquid nails to the flat side of the dowels and attaching it to the table base ensuring it’s straight and level.

diy fluted side table

Next secure it tightly using brad nails at the top section of dowels, middle and bottom of the table. This will help to flatten out any gaps that occur from slightly warped wood.

diy fluted side table

​When you get the last piece, you may find that you don’t have a wide enough gap for a full width dowel piece. Rather than trim mine down, I chose to just secure it on top of the adjacent pieces and it blends in pretty seamlessly. 

diy fluted side table

This was the part where I really fell in love with this project. Was it perfect? No, but for a total cost of roughly $125, I’ll take it over the high-end versions any day!

diy fluted side table

Step 6 – Seal your finish

Lastly you’re going to seal your new fluted table.

But what about the nail holes? Personally, I chose not to fill mine because they weren’t obvious at all once everything was stained. But an easy way to fill them would be to use a wax crayon color matched to your wood stain. It’s easy and inexpensive.

diy fluted side table

The key to creating an expensive-looking finish is getting a smooth flawless coat of polyurethane applied. I used six coats of Varathane clear satin polyurethane for a soft glowing top coat.

diy fluted side table
diy fluted side table

What do you think? Are you ready to try creating your own DIY fluted table? This tutorial would also be great on a diy coffee table in a living room or even as an accent table in a home office. 

diy fluted side table
diy fluted side table

Have a question? I’m here to help! Just drop a comment below and I’ll be in touch. In the meantime, you might want to check out a few other beginner friendly DIY projects, like this easy $10 rustic bench build or how to recover your own dining chair cushions.

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