What you will be making

Hipster coffee table

It is a pile of budget books stuck together with a chopping board on top – dead easy and totally fun!

The books will come from second hand stores and will either be stuck together with glue or drilled and plugged with a piece of wood. The easiest way to make a table top is using a chopping board which also keeps the cost right down!

We ended up completing our book coffee table over a few sessions. This worked out great as it gave us several easy date nights that did not require any planning and was a lot of fun for both of us!

Things you will need

A book coffee table needs books!

You should be able to get a solid stack of book for around $15. Some old books are actually worth a bit of cash so avoid these and just go for the cheaper ones. Also hardbacks will look the best and make your coffee table much stronger

The best 3 sources of old hardcover books are:

  • Garage sales
  • Second hand book stores
  • Your Grandma’s garage
Hardcover books for the table

Note: This part is not a mission! Do some additional shopping, grab a coffee, be romantic and have fun together. This sets the mood that you’re thinking of her.

Stylish chopping board

Choose a table top

An easy trick for getting a smooth table top is to just use a chopping board. We found a great one that only cost a few dollars in a store like Walmart. It looked a bit too much like a kitchen board but that is nothing a small tube of paint cannot solve!

How to keep it together:

There are two ways of making your book coffee table strong so pick one of these:

  • Glue the books together using wood glue. This is really easy wont be as strong
  • Crack out that power drill and bore a hole through the middle of each book ready to be threaded onto a piece of dowel. This makes a sturdy table where you can rotate the books into different patterns to change the look
  • Drill + Glue the lot together – this will give you the strongest result!

Your hipster side table will last longer if you do both but you will require a power drill and a toilet roll stand

Yes that is right… a toilet stand!

Wood glue
Hand power drill
Wooden toilet roll stand

Why? They are basically a wooden stand stuck into a base and make for a totally easy way to solve our problem. Just head to the Walmart’s bathroom section and pick one up for a few dollars

Lastly you will need a drill bit that is slightly larger than the wooden stand. We had to head to a hardware store to get one of these but they are not too expensive

Get the stack order correct before drilling

Design the base

You want the pile of books to look Designed not messy. Try several different orders for the stack and take a photo on your phone when you are happy with it

You can make it even easier by flipping the pile of book upside-down so that when you start building the base it is in the correct order

Drill the Books

Start Drilling those books!

Drill a hole through the center of each book using a circular drill bit. It should be slightly larger than the wooden shaft. This can be hard to do at first but you will soon find your feet.

I did not think Amanda would get much into this part but she was totally excited about doing the drilling!

Trim hole using a utility knife

Trim the edges

The outside of each hole will fray so use your utility knife to trim it flat

Do not worry about these looking a little messy as they will not be seen anyway.

Here’s my Pinterest board of other DIY home ideas

Check the look

Once all the holes are drilled try stacking the books on the stand to ensure you are happy with thefinal look of the table

More books on table stand
Flattening the books with a weight

Flatten the books

The books will have swollen a little after the drilling so help flatten them again by resting something heavy on top while you have a break. The swelling actually helps keep the table top stable if they are at the right height by applying upward pressure onto the chopping board

Build it

Putting it all together

Put the wooden chopping board on top of the book stack and drill a large screw into the wooden stand

If you want to be totally pro countersink the screw so it sits below the table surface and fill the hole with wood putty. This is optional though and you can totally go for a rough look table

Gluing books
Drilled holes in board

Optional: Cover it

You can totally skip this if you like the look of the wooden table top. We thought ours looked a little too much like a chopping board, and wanted something a little more creative, so we glued some old music sheets to the top. You could also use photos, letters, or a world map to give it a similar unique result!

After that you are all done! Remember this is a romantic date night not a mission so be happy to let her make lots of the decisions even if you feel they are not the best. After all if your hipster coffee table is only 80% awesome you still got to have a lot of fun together!

Arranging pages
Spray glue
Finished book coffee table

Up for another fun date at home? You have to try this!

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