From Basic to Custom: How To DIY a Cork Furniture Topper

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Post Image
(Image credit: Erin Galvin)

Do you love the smooth look of a single large piece or furniture, but what you actually have are several smaller pieces? In Brandon and Amanda’s House Tour, we noticed these beautiful cork tabletops really pulled things together.

(Image credit: Erin Galvin)

What You Need


1×2 lumber
Hardboard (can substitute plywood or MDF)
1/4″x2″ Poplar Hobby Board
Cork—any size works, but tiles will lay flat more easily than rolls
Wood Glue
Finish nails
Optional: Stain or paint of your choice, double-stick tape


Chop saw
Circular or table saw
Nailgun (ideal) or Hammer (backup)
Paint brush
Utility knife
Metal straight edge
Measuring tape


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Step 1: measure your furniture and assemble a frame to fit (Image credit: Brandon Broadstone)

1. Assemble the pieces you want to cover just as you envision them, then measure the resulting larger piece.

2. Build a frame out of 1x2s to the size you have determined

3. Cut a piece (or multiple pieces) of hardboard to size and use finish nails to secure to the top of the frame.

4. Spread wood glue on top of the hardboard. Ideally it should be a thin layer, but be careful if you live in a hot climate that it doesn’t dry by the time you lay the cork—if this is an issue you may want to spread the glue in smaller batches.

5. Use a brayer (you can substitute a rolling pin if you don’t have one), lay the cork on top of the glue. Allow the cork to overhang the edges of the frame—instead determine the position of your tiles by where you want seams to line up, as they will be just barely visible in the final product.

6. Using the utility knife and straightedge, trim overhanging cork.

7. Cut your Hobby board to fit the edges of the frame. If you have the tools, cutting at a 45º angle looks extra sharp.

7a. If desired, this is the time to apply any finish of your choosing to the hobby board and allow it to dry as directed on the packaging. Brandon and Amanda used whitewash.

8. Spread a line of wood glue around the edge of the frame, position your prepared trim in place (aligned to the top edge), and secure with finish nails.

9. Slide your new top into place! If you’re extra sure about this furniture arrangement, you may choose to secure the topper with double-stick tape or tabs of foam to prevent scratching the tops of the original pieces, but this is optional and going without gives you the option to rearrange at a later date.

10. Sit back and enjoy your new custom furniture!

See more of this great home → Brandon & Amanda’s Handmade Home

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