How to Build a Side Table/Night Stand


In just a weekend's worth of time, you can make a piece of furniture that offers additional storage and decorative possibilities beside your favorite reading chair or your bed. When topped with a lamp, vase of flowers and other decor, you can transform an average crate into a beautiful showpiece.

Turn a wooden crate into a useful nightstand as a weekend project.
(Carrie Waller)
  • Wooden crate
  • 2 3/4-by-48-inch wooden dowel rods
  • Ruler
  • Handheld hack saw
  • Miter box
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Electric drill
  • 11/64-inch drill bit
  • 4 #12 1-3/4-inch Phillips flat-head screws
  • Stubby, manual Phillips screwdriver
  • Wood stain
  • 2-inch foam brush
  • Utility paper towels
Start by laying out your supplies.
Carrie Waller

This nightstand measures 22 inches in height. Taking into account the crate's 9-inch-wide opening, the dowel rods, used to make the legs, need to measure 13-inches long. Use a ruler to make marks every 13 inches on the dowel rods, and then cut them to size with a handheld hack saw and miter box. Set the excess wood aside, and sand the sawed ends with 120-grit sandpaper.

Before attaching the wooden dowels, inspect the crate for weak spots and sand the rough parts of the wood.

Turn dowel rods into nightstand legs by cutting them to size with a hack saw.
Carrie Waller

Choose one of the crate's long sides as the nightstand's underside. Then, with a ruler and pencil, mark a hole 2-inches in from the edge at each corner. These marks are where the legs will be attached.

Mark each of the four leg holes on the crate with a ruler and pencil.
Carrie Waller

Outfit a handheld electric drill with an 11/64-inch drill bit and drill the marked holes on the crate's side. Brush away the wood dust.

Drill holes for the legs with a drill bit.
Carrie Waller

Drill holes into the top of each of the dowel rods.

Drill holes into the tops of each of the four dowel legs.
Carrie Waller

Screw 4 #12, 1-3/4-inch, Phillips flat-head screws through the drilled holes from the inside of the crate. Use your stubby-handled, manual screwdriver for this step because of the limited interior space inside the crate. Make sure the screws are twisted all the way through the crate.

Screw in the hardware first.
Carrie Waller

With your manual screwdriver securely fixed inside the crate on the head of the screw, use your free hand to twist each dowel rod in place.

Screw the legs onto the hardware.
Carrie Waller

Lightly sand the crate and legs to remove any rough spots first. Then, brush on a coat of wood stain with your foam brush. Choose a stain that most closely matches the existing finish of your vintage crate. If you purchased a new, unfinished crate, coat the entire nightstand with stain.

Allow the stain to soak into the wood for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and then wipe it off with a utility paper towel. If desired, apply a second coat of stain for another 30 seconds. Set the nightstand on a drop cloth in a well-ventilated area, and allow it to dry for 24 hours.

Stain the legs to match the crate.
Carrie Waller

Once dry, fill your new nightstand with books and other decorative accents.

Decorate the nightstand with your favorite bedside accessories.
Carrie Waller

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