Friday, July 4, 2014

Sandbox to Tabletop - My Rustic $23.00 Replacement

What does a old sandbox (aka super-sized litter box) and a shattered glass table top have in common?

Follow my post and find out!

Sandbox built by previous homeowner.
Shattered glass tabletop.
New Tabletop.

I hated the sandbox. I don't have little kids and my cats were taking liberties with it. It was an eyesore and stinky.  I'm always thinking of ways to reuse stuff around the house to save a buck and to avoid unnecessary consumption of new materials. I had an idea- could the sandbox become a replacement top for the table that shattered last September in a 60 mile an hour wind gust?

I took measurements and counted the 2"x6" boards to make sure there was enough wood to cover my old table...and YAY there was enough!

Until I got it apart and found some of the boards were rotten :(

But there was enough to get started. I washed the boards and cut them with a chop saw, 8" wider than my tabletop frame at the widest point, so 48". I used the already cut angle boards for the end pieces. I had to re-cut the angles about an inch.

I hit Home Depot for two 2" x 6" x 8' boards to make up for the shortage in sandbox boards ($9.38) and two 1" x 2" x 8' pine strips. ($2.60) and grey beige paint (Martha Stewart "Mushroom"- mixed in Glidden Exterior Satin ($10.88).

I set the boards good side up on the table and this is how it looked with old and new boards;

I flipped the boards over, made a line along the boards outside of the frame width, and screwed the pine strips to the boards to hold them together. I screwed from the strip into the recycled boards to avoid more nail holes on the top. The original frame is curved but it was not necessary to follow that. I then made a hole in the center with a hole saw.

This is how it looks from underneath (this is NOT fancy carpentry FYI);

Next I filled the holes and knotholes in the top of the board from the sandbox days, sanded all over to smooth rough spots and edges. I could have left it at this point but that was a little too recycled looking for my taste.

I coated it with two coats of the grey beige paint in the direction of the grain of the wood;

I totally could of stopped here and had planned to, but it just seemed too "park table" like. Way boring.

I envisioned rustic barn wood or driftwood, and dug out some Faux Effect's Stain and Seal in American Walnut and Van Dyke Brown (on hand). Any polyurethane stain gel would work. I mixed in a little of Faux Effect's Clear Glaze (another glaze would work) until I had a translucent warm brown/ black easy to wipe stain. The glaze thins the color and slows drying time.

I  layered the glaze on with a brush, one board at a time. (See picture below.) It's very important not to do more than one board at a time as it dries fairly quickly, and you'll be stuck with an ugly mess that you will have to paint over. I wiped the glaze off lightly in the direction of the grain with a damp cheesecloth pad (a rag will do as well). This takes a little finesse as you don't want to take off too much glaze by pressing too hard. You want it to stay in the grain and the imperfections, and leave a grain striae behind.

Two coats of Minwax Satin Polyurethane by brush (from a previous job) and I have a new heavier, wind proof tabletop!
Total time-four hours and $22.68 plus tax!

Regrets/ Mistakes? 

Yes, I regret I was too cheap and lazy to go to store to buy one more 2"x6" so the table overhung the frame on the ends. I did paint the end frame pieces to match...

2"x2" boards would have made a nicer edge under the table instead of 1" x 2" strips, and if I would of extended the table I could have used them on the end for a better finish.

This project could have been nearly free had I spent some time scrounging around for the extra wood from friends and/or recycle stores. Also, had I known I would be glazing it I could have used any grey brown in my garage saving $10.88.


  1. "Regrets/Mistakes"... I think you did a fabulous job,,, so as I see it, No Regrets or Mistakes!

  2. Thanks for the compliment :) I guess mistakes/regrets may be a little harsh :) but I like to re-think things I've done and may be improve next time.