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Build a dining room table in 1 hour

Filed Under: household hacks, entertaining

kids eating at a picnic tableYour family is coming over for Thanksgiving. Your brother is bringing his girlfriend and the neighbors that first declined your invitation are now going to make it. The more the merrier, right? You're happy to have the extra people, but visions of grandma balancing a plate of turkey on her lap while sitting on the couch, or sending your 15 year -old cousin to the kid's table are not your idea of a relaxed holiday meal.

If you have 1 hour and $40, Tim Carter will show you how to build a big dining room table. If you have no table at all, you'll need two empty cable reels and a large piece of plywood. You'll find the cable reels at an electrical part distribution center. They should have a bunch of them out behind the warehouse.

The cost should be minimal, and they might even give you a couple in holiday spirit. The plywood can be found at your local lumber store. You'll be covering it with a table cloth so you don't need to worry too much about imperfections.

Tim's site offers full instructions and pictures. When the table is covered, you'd never guess that it's a temporary hack. Invite the kids back to the table. It's the perfect quick fix for your Thanksgiving dinner, and it will be useful again when you have Christmas gatherings.

If you already have a table, use that as your base and add plywood on top to make it bigger. Be careful that you don't end up with all the food on one end or somebody will be wearing it!


  • leni

    I've been doing this for a decade. I put towels on the table to protect the surface and top it with a 4'X8' sheet of plywood. For Christmas I wrap bricks as gifts and use them down the center of the table for added stability. You can rent folding chairs but as chap as you can find them to buy it's probably more practical to do that. Then you have them to use whenever you need them.
    Even with a small living room if you push all of the furniture back against the walls you may have room. I reverse the living and dining room for family dinners putting the sofa, chairs and tables in the dining room leaving plenty of room for the table in the living room. If that doesn't work you can always cram the living room furniture into the bedrooms and use the folding chairs to scatter for seating and move them to the table at meal time. It was sort of a pain but I did that the year we were in an apartment and it worked out great.

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