Once upon a time…while on a walk around my neighborhood, I came across some discarded apartment building window panes on the side of the road. These windows make the perfect base for a reclaimed wood coffee table if I’ve ever seen one! To add some more magic to this DIY furniture project, I gathered some discarded wood branches to add some extra detail. Combined with moss, fake flowers and a little love, and you have yourself a unique furniture piece made mostly from upcycled (and FREE!) parts!
How To Make a Reclaimed Wood Coffee Table Out Of Windowpanes: All images and text by
Supplies You Will Need to Build Your Reclaimed Windowpane Wood Coffee Table:
- 2 windowpanes (ideally found, check the free section of Craigslist)
- One quart black matte paint
- One quart white mattte paint
- Two 3 in. chip brush
- Electric sander/sand paper with at least 80 grit paper
- Straight edge ruler or tape measure
- Wood glue
- One 10.1-oz. all-purpose, quick drying caulking with caulk
- Painter’s tape
- Black permanent marker
- Dust mask
- Bypass pruner
- One box of 2-1/2 exterior screws
- Cordless driver kit
- Four 2″x4″ blocks for your base (just cut a standard piece of 2″ x 4″ lumber into two-inch sections)
- Four 14″ table Legs (available at most hardware stores, you can obviously go bigger or smaller than we did)
- 1 bag of sheet moss
- 1 bag of Spanish moss
- 1 bag of faux flowers on wire
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- 20 pieces of found tree branches
Step 1: Sand Down Reclaimed Windows
Elevate your project to make an easier working space. Put on your dust mask!!!
Next, start sanding down the old paint. When sanding, I found it easiest to move your electric sander in small, clockwise circles. Sand until you can feel a slightly rough texture to your wood. Repeat on all sides of both windows. After this step, you can discard your dust mask.
Step 2: Seal Gaps With Caulk
Because I am using vintage windows, I need to reinforce the molding that holds the window glass in place. Bust out your caulking gun and hold it at a 45 degrees angle to your window. Slowly spread the caulking along the edge of the glass until all the panes have been reenforced. If needed, go over work with a straight edge to smooth the caulk, though often the best tool for leveling caulking is the good ol’ human finger. This will take about 30 minutes of dry time for each side, so long as you buy quick-drying caulking.
Step 3: Apply Black Base Coat
Tape all seams of the glass with painter’s tape. Take your brush and apply a solid black coat to all sides of your window. If you get some paint on your window, don’t fret! Allow paint to dry, then take a straight razor to remove.
Step 4: Apply White Top Coat
After the wet paint has dried, take a dry brush and dab your brush into the white paint – a little paint goes a long way with this technique! Start streaking the paint onto the wood. The goal is to show the previous layers of paint to give the illusion of a worn, aged feel. I just love this shabby-chic furniture look. Apply as many coats of white streaks as desired. Apply to all sides of both windows. After you finish this step, you can remove the painter’s tape.
Step 5: Pick Your Side, Mark Your Holes
Before we go any further, it’s time for you to decide which window will be the top of your table and which will be the bottom. As you saw in our finished image at the top of this tutorial, we are separating our two panes with four, pre-made table legs. These legs come in a variety of styles at your hardware store, but they all come with a threaded attachment on the top for screwing into a table.
After deciding which pane will serve as the TOP of our coffee table, we need to affix our table legs. You will be affixing the legs to the underside of the top pane, so flip your pane over. Line your ruler or tape measure to the window’s edge and mark with your pen at the 2-inch down from the corner. Then measure about an inch in from this mark. This is where you will be drilling. You’ll want to do this with all four corners of this pane.
Step 6: Drill Holes For Table Legs
Take your 5/32 inch drill bit from your drill kit and attach it to the drill. Place your drill over the pen mark and drill halfway through the wood. You do NOT need to go all the way through, just far enough that the threaded head on your legs will have room to sit completely inside the holes. Use both hands to brace the drill to keep it steady and in place. Do this to all four corners.
Step 7: Screw In Table Legs To Top Pane
Take your table legs and apply wood glue around the end with the exposed threaded attachment. These ends will be inserted into the holes created on your top pane.
Dab on some wood glue before screwing them in. Your pre-drilled holes are going to be a little smaller than the threads of your legs, which is good, because you can screw them in and tighten them down nice and firmly into the window.
Step 8: Prep The Bottom Pane
Now that the top pane is firmly in place with legs, break out your tape and mark the other pane (which will be our base) in the same corners as you did the top (2-inches down and one inch in from corners). At this point it does not matter which face of the base pane you mark.
Step 9: Dill Through Bottom Pane
Take the same bit you used before and drill ALL the way through your marks on the bottom pane. We will be affixing the other side of the table legs with screws because these ends of the legs are not threaded (as the ends of the table legs traditionally sit on the ground and not in-between two windows!).
Step 10: Screw Bottom Pane Into Legs
Take the top pane with the legs currently attached and flip it over. Place the bottom pane on top of the legs as shown below. Here we are looking at our table upside down.
Line up your legs so they are centered under the holes you already put through the bottom pane, then pre-drill through the window and into each leg so that your screw will eventually go right down into the center of the legs.
Then finish off by screwing each leg down, one screw into each.
Step 11: Add Blocks (“Feet”) To Table
With the table still flipped over, it’s time to add the real feet to the bottom of your table. If you have purchased your 2 x 4 wood at a home improvement store, you can have them cut it into four-2-inch sections if you aren’t comfortable using a saw. You can also use the handsaw at said stores if you don’t own one. Place the wood blocks at each of the 4 corners.
On our windows, there was a little molding in the way near the edges, so we just put them as close to the edges as we could.
Use the 5/32 -inch drill bit again and drill holes into the feet through to the window wood. Use the screw attachment and some more of your exterior screws to secure each foot to the table.
Then paint your legs and feet as desired. We decided to make everything black!
Step 12: Cut Branches
I collected about 20 pieces of discarded branches. Each branch should be the same height as your table leg. Measure each branch with your ruler and mark off where you need to cut. Use a bypass pruner or shears to trim branches to the correct length.
Step 13: Drill Holes For Branches
Use the black pen to mark where you would like to have your mini trees take root on the bottom frame of your table. Drill completely though the frame to make way for to make holes for the screws with the 5/32 inch drill bit.
Step 14: Prepare Branches
Next, drill into the branches that will be connected to the window base. You don’t have to drill far, just enough for a bit of the screw to grab hold. An half-inch should be plenty, just eyeball it based on the size of the branches you use. If you chose super tiny branches, try wood glue instead.
Step 14: Screw In Branches
Use the screw bit and screw through the frame and into each branch. If the screws happen to peak through, don’t worry, we will be covering them with moss. Flip your table right side up and admire your work – you are almost done!
Step 15: Decorate Branches
Time to make this table enchanting! Hot glue moss on the base of the coffee table, sides, on the branches – anywhere you like! Add flowers to give color and a soft romantic feel. I found these faux flowers attached to wire, which worked great for twisting over the branches. You can also roll the Spanish moss in your hands to create thicker moss vine-like pieces too!
Now you have a coffee table that is right out of a story book! Enjoy your reclaimed wood coffee table that is sure to be a conversation starter at ay home gathering or event.