How to Make a Farm Table from Inexpensive Craigslist Furniture

LAST UPDATED: Aug 03, 2020 | PUBLISHED: Oct 26, 2012 | By: Julie Blanner
Over the summer, I started dreaming about redoing my patio.  I began pinning {you’ve been there before, right?} and then realized, Fall is near and there is entirely too much to complete in the interior of  our home first, like the dining room.  Traditionally, my favorite room.
I started with this photograph from Kinfolk Magazine.  And then I had an idea!  What if I search for the perfect table, and make it work for both the dining room and patio?  Aha!  That will convince the husband that I’m not completely insane.  
I’ve always loved this harvest table from Williams Sonoma.  It’s clean, simple, rustic enough, without being too rustic.  The classic legs give it a more traditional feel.
Here is another example I have been admiring from Restoration Hardware for years.  But let’s be honest, $1,600 is far too expensive for an outdoor patio table. 
I have a beautiful dining room set that was my grandmother’s, then my mother’s, awaiting me at my sister’s house-in St. Louis.  Eventually, it will make it’s way to Kansas City.  But for now, I need a large dining table to entertain guests and fill the void in our dining room.  Our dining room currently only hosts a chest of drawers and my great grandmother’s piano.  Oh, and the most amazing crystal chandelier!
So, I started the Craigslist search and found a great, solid wood table {the heaviest I could find, according to Chris} with a leaf – at a mere $50, the project begins!  I don’t anticipate spending more than $75 total for the cost of table and supplies, a significant savings from the tables above, that won’t leave me feeling guilty when I allow it to weather on our patio – next summer.  For now, I have ordered the dining room chairs that will coordinate well with this table, and my mom’s set.  Here’s a sneak peek.  Sorry, I couldn’t put the table together myself-entirely too heavy to even scoot!

I love an antique harvest table like this one here, but can’t quite manage the expense right now. I decided to make my own farm table with an inexpensive find on Craigslist – you’ve seen these tables time and time again, but probably see the yellow or orange glossy coat and run. Don’t. This table was just $50 and with very little effort, I have my own farm table to enjoy! 

DIY Harvest Farmhouse Table via
Like any crazy pregnant woman, I have changed my mind a few times in the process, but let’s start with the DIY I did.
1} I started with a traditional table, made of solid pine.  Using a hand belt sander, and 60 grit sandpaper {rough}, I removed the varnish.  Then using my hand sander {I recommend at least having this} I used a sandpaper grit of 120 to ensure a smooth surface.  I also used this for the divets around the edge.
$50 harvest table via
I left just a tad of vanish/color in them, which adds a lot of character and saves a lot of time.  No hand sanding here!
diy harvest table via
When I got to this point, I just couldn’t continue with my original plan to sand the sides, legs and give them all a slight stain.  It just looked so simple and beautiful as is.  The transformation from it’s honey color had captured my heart!  And hey, who doesn’t like eliminating steps?
2} So I let it weather a few days.  Not long, just enough to give it a little more variation in color and darken it a little.  To give it a quick and deeper weathered look, break apart a steel wool pad and soak it in vinegar overnight.
harvest farmhouse table via
3} To give it a little protection, I “waxed on” tung oil. Yep, just like a car.  It penetrates into the wood giving protecting it, without giving it a gloss coat, making it useful for now!
The table that will eventually go in the dining room is walnut, matching the current furniture and floors, but for now, the table will be used in the dining room.  The table seats 9 with the leaf and will be perfect for hosting Thanksgiving.  The next two photos are the first final result, including one with a Fall table setting.
diy harvest table via
DIY Harvest Table Tutorial via
At risk of sounding like Brittney Spears, oops, I did it again.  I couldn’t resist.  I just couldn’t stop thinking about the final product. This photo {via Williams Sonoma} and the one above continued to burn in my mind.  So…
DIY harvest table - image via Williams Sonoma
I considered the vinegar, tea and steel abrasive pads to age the wood, but wasn’t sure if that was the look I really wanted to go for.  It had a little rustic look already because I didn’t give it a completely smooth sanded finish and didn’t eliminated all of the tarnish from the edges.  I decided to use two stains to achieve the color I wanted.  The first, Minwax “driftwood” to give it a little dirty look, followed by their simple special walnut.  I used really thin coats, continually stroking the brush to “pull” the stain.  I also used an old towel to brush off stain on areas below that naturally collected too much.  I wanted those to be a little darker, just not as dramatic as they were.  I allowed extra stain to seep into the crevices and edges of the table to continue a little rustic look.
The finished project:
DIY farmhouse table via
What do you think?
DIY harvest table via
outdoor dining patio furniture
Would you believe it just took me a couple hours? I look forward to hosting lots of friends at this table! Am I the only one that changes my mind each step of the way?


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mini loaves of bread gift wrapped