Modern Concrete End Table

by Erika Woelfel

 

Our idea for this “how to” was to construct accent furniture using a very limited amount of supplies. We also wanted to keep this project very affordable. We decided to build a nesting accent table to sit beside the couch and add a little more substance to the room. We looked up ways to construct these tables and came across a method that involved only Lego bricks and concrete.

Later as we found out, if you do not already own a very big collection of Lego bricks it can get very expensive. Nevertheless, we got our hands on some Legos and began building the mold. The mold was designed to yield two nesting tables, one being bigger than the other. The mold itself took about two hours to construct. As we were removing the Legos from the concrete, the concrete started to crumble because we used the wrong concrete. We HIGHLY recommend using Quikrete 5000 Mix because it is a finer concrete that will mold together very well. After the first attempt did not go as planned, we thought of other ways to build the table mold for readers who do not have access to a large amount of Legos. We then built the mold out of plywood. We took a basic sheet of plywood and cut the pieces for the mold. As a wood sealer, we used boiled linseed oil to keep the concrete from sticking to the plywood. Note that it is very important to use smaller leftover pieces of plywood as reinforcements so the mold does not lose its shape during the concrete curing process. We then gently tapped the mold from the concrete and were left with a beautiful and affordable piece of accent furniture. Total cost of the project if plywood is used was only $24.40.

During the planning stages of this room, Lauren and I were brainstorming ways we could make this project very colorful and exhibit the quality of Behr paint. Also, both Lauren and I being college students, thought it would be appropriate to also keep the college student or individual living on a budget in mind. We then searched for affordable yet good quality furniture, reused old items lying around our parent’s house, and created our own furniture. If one were to replicate this room exactly, it would cost them a total of about $450. In total, this room is very stylish yet affordable.

Two Nesting End Tables Using the Lego Mold:

MATERIALS:

  • Approximately 2,000 Lego bricks
  • Lego base plates big enough to lay your table flat on – we used two 15×15 plates
  • Quikrete 5000 Mix – we used an 80lb bag
  • 5 Gallon Bucket to mix the concrete
  • Behr Solid Color Concrete Stain – We used Behr Ultra Pure White
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Scrub Brush
  • Paint Brush
  • Gloves

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STEP 1:

Lay the base plates flat on top of a towel or paper to make clean up easy. Begin to lay Lego pieces in the shape of the mold. While laying down the mold, make sure to measure the table in order to achieve the desired height and width.

Note: This mold will yield two nesting tables

IMPORTANT: Make sure you use Quikrete 5000 or a very fine concrete only. If you use the Crack Resistant Quikrete your tables will crumble.

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Click image to view a video of how we made the mold

STEP 2:

When the mold is completed to the desired size and height begin to pour and mix the concrete. When doing this we recommend wearing gloves as the concrete can irritate the skin.

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STEP 3:

Carefully pour the concrete into the mold while using a dowel or stick to stir the concrete as much as possible. Note the more water you use in the mix, the smoother the surface, however, you do not want to use too much water. As you pour the concrete into the mold make sure to use the dowel or stick to pack down the concrete as much as possible and make sure that it gets into all of the corners.

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STEP 4:

As you near the top of the mold make sure to smooth out the concrete as much as possible in order to achieve a clean, finished look.

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STEP 5:
Allow concrete to fully harden. With Quikrete it is recommended that you let it sit for at least 14 hours.

STEP 6:

Once dry, carefully begin to pull the Lego pieces off of the concrete. This can take a little work, but we found that using needle nose pliers worked best to pull the pieces off.

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STEP 7:

After the tables are separated, use Behr Solid Color Concrete Stain to paint your tables any color you wish! Depending on the color you choose it may take two coats to achieve a solid color.

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STEP 8:

To clean the Legos simply run them under cold water and use a scrub brush to get in-between the bumps. The concrete comes off very easily and shouldn’t take too long to get the Legos back into shape for playing.

 

One End Table Using the Plywood Mold:

MATERIALS:

  • Plywood – 2 boards: 1 big enough to fit your table on and catch any spills + 1 board to cut up to make the mold
  • Boiled Linseed Oil- This is to seal the wood and keep it from sticking to the table.
  • Quikrete 5000 Mix – we used an 80lb bag
  • 5 Gallon Bucket to mix the concrete
  • Behr Solid Color Concrete Stain – We used Behr Ultra Pure White
  • Paint Brush
  • Nail Gun (Or hammer and nails if you do not have a nail gun)
  • Hammer or Flathead Screwdriver for prying the wood loose from the concrete
  • Level
  • Gloves

NOTE: If you like the idea of the nesting end tables, but don’t have Legos you can very easily use plywood to make a similar mold to the Lego one that will give you two nesting end tables as a final product.

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STEP 1:

Use a paint brush to coat all of the plywood with a thin layer of Boiled Linseed Oil and allow to dry for at least an hour. The oil will be somewhat wet to the touch but is dry enough to start pouring the concrete.

STEP 2:

Begin to cut the plywood into piece for the mold. Make sure to measure everything very carefully so that the table does not turn out lopsided. Most of the wood pieces need to be cut in pairs so we recommend cutting both pieces together to ensure that they are as equal as possible. When decided how large to make the pieces keep in mind that it will be the exact size of your end table. We cut two 14.5in x 7in pieces, two 11in x 7in pieces, two 3in x 7in pieces, one 12.5in x 7in piece, and one 8in x 7in piece. Don’t forget to cut out a few small pieces or scraps to lay across the top of the mold for reinforcements.

STEP 3:

Use a nail gun (or a conventional hammer and nails if you do not have access to a nail gun) to hold the pieces of the mold together so that it can stand up on its own. While doing this we recommend using a level to ensure the best end result of your table.

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STEP 4:

When the mold is completed to the desired size begin to pour and mix the concrete. When doing this we recommend wearing gloves as the concrete can irritate the skin.

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STEP 5:

Carefully pour the concrete into the mold while using a dowel or stick to stir the concrete as much as possible. Note the more water you use in the mix, the smoother the surface, however, you do not want to use too much water. As you pour the concrete into the mold make sure to use the dowel or stick to pack down the concrete as much as possible and make sure that it gets into all of the corners.

STEP 6:

As you near the top of the mold make sure to smooth out the concrete as much as possible in order to achieve a clean, finished look.

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STEP 7:

Allow concrete to fully harden. With Quikrete, it is recommended that you let it sit for at least 14 hours.

STEP 8:

Once dry, use the back end of a hammer to pull the pieces of plywood apart from the concrete.

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STEP 9:

After the table is separated use Behr Solid Color Concrete Stain to paint your table any color you wish! Depending on the color you choose it may take two coats.

LegoEndTable13Add to your home or loft to give it a clean modern feel.

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Colorfully yours,

Lauren and Bryce

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