Need a REALLY wide table for you to work on? Buying one can be expensive. This DIY PVC table solves your budget concern, plus it’s relatively easy to build!
DIY PVC TableIt’s ideal for those who work with a team that needs more than one unit as each only costs around $74. Imagine the amount of money saved as compared to store-bought desks!
This DIY desk uses a hollow core door tabletop which can be used for simple workloads like computer work, crafting, drawing, or kids’ table. If you are planning to use this table as a workbench, you can use a solid core door instead.
This desk measures 80 x 36 inches! What’s even better is that this table doesn’t shake or wobble. 😉
Is this the desk perfect for your needs? Then read on this tutorial by trevormates!
- Hollow Core Door
- Furniture Grade PVC Fittings
- 5 x 1-1/4” PVC External Caps (F114EEC)
- 5 x 1-1/4” PVC Table Caps (F114ECT)
- 4 x 1-1/4” PVC 4-Way Tees (F1144WT)
- 4 x 1-1/4” PVC Regular Tees (F114TEE)
- 2 x 1-1/4” PVC Crosses (F114CRX)
- Plumbing Grade PVC Pipe (see the list in the first step)
- 1-1/4″ to 1-1/2″ long threaded Screws
- Drywall Screw Inserts
- PVC Cement
- Hacksaw, Ratcheting Plastic Pipe Cutter, or Power Miter Saw (for cutting pipes)
- Power Drill
- Measuring Tape
I used plumbing grade pipe to keep costs low, as shipping of furniture grade pipe, while much more attractive, ridged, and strong can be expensive. I used off-the-shelf pipe for home depot, at $3.60 for a 10’ stick, with a total of four (4) sticks being used (or 40 feet). The pipe was cut to the following lengths and quantities:
- A quantity of five (5) 3” lengths.
- A quantity of ten (10) 12” lengths.
- A quantity of four (4) 20” lengths.
- A quantity of four (4) 30” lengths.
The first thing you want to do is assemble to the first of the two sides of the PVC frame using the Tees, 4-Way Tees, the End Caps, and the Table Caps, as shown in the attached photo. The fitting placement is in BLACK, and the pipe size to use is shown in RED. This will be ‘SIDE 1’, or the left side of the table.
I recommend a dry fit first, THEN pull everything apart and reassemble using PVC Cement. As many of you know, once you apply PVC cement, it will not come apart again.
Apply the PVC cement to the inside of the fitting at the ‘stop’ point of the fitting only. Make sure things are being inserted the way they should, then press the pipe into the fitting and hold for 30 seconds to secure the weld.
NOTE: THE SEQUEL: If you don’t want to use PVC cement (as it is noxious indoors), use 1/2″ screws between where the pipe and fitting meet to secure them both in place.
The next step is the same as the previous, however, you want to build your ‘SIDE 2’ or the right side of the table as a mirror image to the SIDE 1, so that the ports on the 4-Way Tees face the other direction, when in the rear.
Another diagram is attached which shows a pipe and fitting placement, with a pipe in RED and fittings in BLACK.
Now its time to build the ‘BACK’ of the table, which is fairly simple. For this step, you will need a Table Cap, an External Cap, and two Crosses, both of which should not have not yet been used. Assemble them, along with the long pieces of 30” pipe to make something that looks like it belongs on the top of a telephone pole.
When assembling the ‘center stack’ with PVC cement, lay this flat on the floor so that everything is flat and your pipe is all parallel.
Now it’s time to bring everything (PVC-related) together.
Insert the ends of the pipes from the BACK into each of the SIDE 1 and SIDE 2 elements to end up with something shown in the diagram. Again, I recommend a dry fit to make sure everything lines up before applying PVC cement.
Once you a comfy with the dry fit, pull them apart and apply PVC cement into the fittings on SIDE 1, and insert the BACK pipes into the 4-Way Tees on SIDE 1. Quickly make sure everything is sitting at the right angles. Press together and wait 30 seconds.
Next, apply PVC cement into the fittings on SIDE 2, and insert the BACK pipes into the 4-Way Tees on SIDE 2. Quickly make sure everything is sitting at the right angles. Again, press together and wait 30 seconds.
You should now have a completed frame! Almost Done!
The Trouble with Hollow-Core Doors:
Hollow-core doors are constructed of an outer frame and various slats that run (when stood upright) along the horizontal plane of the door. The remainder of the area between these slats is either filled with cardboard (seriously), foam, or just plain nothing.
Since we can’t see where those slats are, I found that it is a hit-or-miss scenario as to where our table caps will end up attaching to the door, be it a slat or a fluffy piece of cardboard. Where it is cardboard we want to use a drywall insert, to attach the cap to the wood or wall of the door instead. Here is how we do it:
- Lay the hollow-core door on the floor, with the side you want to be the top, facing the floor, then flip the PVC structure over and place it, upside down onto the door, with the table caps against the door.
- Center the whole structure by eyeballing the placement of the PVC pipe segments and their relation to the edges of the door, then using a pencil or Sharpie marker, mark where the holes in the Table Caps meet the door.
- Remove the PVC structure and place it to the side. With a drill or electric screwdriver, insert a screw into each of the marked points you just made on the door.
- If it goes in easily, you have hit a hollow point in the door. Remove the screw and insert a drywall screw insert into these holes (if you need to, make the hole bigger with a drill bit).
- If it goes in and catches the threads, you have hit a slat, and the hole is good as it is. No drywall screw insert is needed. Remove the screw.
Once you have determined where you need/don’t need inserts, make sure all of your ‘test screws’ have been removed and replace the PVC structure onto the tabletop and align the table caps with the holes that have been predrilled.
NOTE: All of this can be avoided if you use a solid-core door. I am $25 under budget on each table for not doing so, but alas, I am a cheap, cheap man.
Finally, insert the screws into the table caps and the door/screw inserts. You now have a fully completed, upside-down table.
Finally, flip the table over and you should have (if I have explained myself correctly) a fully functional, huge, sturdy table.
You can finish the table with paint, or a nice stain if so desired. We chose to keep ours ‘natural’, however water stains show up like mad on the thin wood, so we recommend a light waterproofing stain or paint.
As with any project involving PVC and found parts, you can make any adjustments to suit your particular needs. Doors come in shorter lengths, so you can easily change the length of the 30″ pipe segments to 24″ or 28″ to accommodate shorter doors. You can also increase the height of the table by increasing the 3″ lengths of pipe under the table caps, to make a table that is more suited for standing or counter height.