How To Make a Unique and Affordable Slipcovered Side Table

After shifting around some furniture in my home last year, I found myself looking for a small, interesting table. Inspired by ottomans from Anthropologie that were beautiful but cost hundreds of dollars, I ended up making something similar but one-of-a-kind for just $20.

This was my first foray into making furniture, but this sturdy table has lasted with me from my old apartment into my new home. The project has many steps but overall is simple enough for other novices to try. I made it with the intention that you or I wouldn't have to travel far to get the components.

The frame is metal mesh; the interior is old blankets, T-shirts, and sheets (you can get creative here); and the exterior is a sewn slipcover. Sewing the circular top of the cover is the only part that is a little challenging, but I've included a trick and a helpful link for that step.

What You Need

Materials
• metal mesh (sold at neighborhood hardware stores - my piece was 19 x 47 inches and cost $5)
• old blankets, T-shirts, sheets, egg crate mattress, pillow inserts, etc.
• home decorator or upholstery-weight fabric (I bought 1.5 yards from Etsy for $15)
• 3 or 4 large pieces of corrugated cardboard
• wire
• duct tape

Tools
• scissors (regular and fabric)
• sewing machine
• ironing board
• iron
• pen or pencil
• wire cutters
• pliers

Instructions

1. Start with the metal mesh. The edges will be prickly — be careful! Use the pliers to fold the points down or the wire cutter to clip the tips.

2. Create the cylindrical frame for the table. Stand up the metal mesh on the floor, and let the edges overlap until the frame is the diameter you want. Using the pliers and wire cutter, secure the top, middle, and bottom of the overlapping section with wire.

3. Place one piece of cardboard under the frame, trace around the circle, and cut out it out. Trace that circle three times on your other pieces of cardboard (to be used in step 5). I used a liberal amount of duct tape on the outside and inside of the frame to attach the cardboard bottom to the metal mesh. (Thanks to the holes in the mesh, the duct tape on one side adheres to the other.)

4. Fill the frame. I used what materials I had on hand: a beat-up fleece blanket, an old sheet, and many worn out T-shirts. You could also use old pillow forms or an egg crate mattress. Adjust so that your filling is roughly the height of your metal mesh frame. I laid out my filling layer-by-layer, with the fleece blanket on the bottom, and rolled it up. Insert this "filling" into the frame — it should be snug.

5. Create the tabletop using the extra cardboard circle you traced in Step 3. Trim it if it doesn't fit properly inside the frame, and then place it inside. Depending on how high you filled the frame, you may need to trace and cut out more cardboard circles. Press your circles down firmly to make a sturdy tabletop.

6. You have a table - now you need to cover it! Iron your fabric and cut it in two pieces. One piece will be about two inches longer than the frame's circumference and an inch taller (for ease, seam allowance, and the bottom hem). The other piece of fabric will be a circle about an inch wider across than the frame's diameter.

7. With right sides of the fabric together, sew the two short ends of the long piece of fabric together with half an inch of seam allowance. Iron the seam open. To hem the bottom, fold the bottom up half an inch. Iron the fold and sew the hem.

8. Fold the piece you just sewed into eight equal parts and mark the eight spots with pins. Do the same along the edge of the circular piece. Turn the two pieces to have right sides facing, and match up the eight pins on that piece with the eight on the circular piece. Pin the pieces together and carefully sew them with a half-inch seam allowance. (For more about the math behind this step and some helpful additional photos, check out "How To Sew a Circular Bottom Neatly" from Cotton & Cloud.)

9. For crisper edges, iron the circular seam. Turn out the slipcover, put it over the table frame, and admire your handiwork.

Images: Kim Rinehimer