If you've seen birch log tables at your favorite home design stores but the prices scared you off, then you may like this option. This little DIY table is a breeze to construct (no power tools required!) and cost a whopping $15 in materials. Estimated time to complete: 3 baby naps.
a 12" diameter Sonotube concrete form
sheet of 1/4" thick mdf or plywood (at least 12" x 12")
5 bits of scrap wood (at least 1/2" x 1/2" x 1")
5 wood screws
Decide how tall you want your table to be and mark a straight line around the Sonotube where you will cut. Sonotubes usually come in 48 inch lengths, so you'll actually have enough leftover to make a second table. Using a handsaw (I used a $7 keyhole saw from Target) cut the cardboard.
Now set the Sonotube piece you just cut onto the sheet of mdf or plywood and trace just inside the tube. Cut out the circle with your handsaw. It takes a little elbow grease, but you can do it. The circle you cut should fit snugly inside the Sonotube.
Screw the scrap wood bits inside the Sonotube 1/4 inch from the top.
Squeeze a bit of wood glue onto the top of the scraps, and pop the mdf circle inside the Sonotube so it rests on the wood scraps.
To make the knothole texture, soak 2 or 3 squares of toilet paper in wood glue, and then press the wet wad of toilet paper onto the Sonotube. **If you have any gaps between the Sonotube and the mdf circle that you want to fill, you can push some glue-soaked toilet paper into the cracks.** Let dry.
Cover the screws with circles of craft paper or paper bag. Glue in place.
Cover the Sonotube with gesso. To make a birch-like texture, use short, horizontal brush strokes. Use plenty of gesso and make sure to cover the seams in the Sonotube. Let it dry.
Paint the top. I squirted some white, beige, and brown paint onto a plate, dipped a wide, dry brush into the paint without mixing it, and then painted in a circle on the top. I spun the table on a swivel stool while holding the brush still and used a lot of paint to create deep brush strokes. Also paint tiny, horizontal grey brown lines randomly around the table. Stipple a little grey brown onto the knotholes. Allow to dry, then cover the whole table in polyurethane.
You did it! Now you can use your leftovers to make another one!
(Images: Katie Steuernagle)