How to Build an Outside Cocktail Table

By Pat Olsen ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • One 24-by-36-inch sheet of 3/4-inch plywood
  • Two 2-by-1-by-36-inch pine boards
  • Two 2-by-1-by-24-inch pine boards
  • 16-inch screw-on legs
  • Hammer
  • Finishing nails
  • Black lacquer
  • Disposable foam paintbrushes
  • Decoupage liquid
  • Wine labels
  • Corks
  • Spray lacquer
  • One 5/8-by-24-by-36-inch bevel edge nontempered glass

Making a cocktail table is as simple as building a wooden base, attaching legs and top. But what if you really wanted to make a statement? Collecting the labels and corks for this project will take time, but the table you build will be eye-catching, fun to use and withstand the elements outside.

Have the lumber company cut and sand the pieces for the table frame. Use black lacquer to finish all wood pieces. Use two or three coats and dry thoroughly between coats.

Build a frame by countersinking the nails into the sidepieces to build a rectangle and then nailing this to the plywood base. Attach the four screw-in legs at the four corners.

Decoupage the wine labels to all of the outside surfaces of the table, including the legs. Let some of the black lacquer show through. Use several coats of decoupage, drying thoroughly between each coat.

Glue the corks onto the tabletop. Trim to fit the depth of the sides if necessary. If you have plenty of them, stand them up and butt them together in rows, but let the wide labels show in some sections. If your stash is skimpy, portion them out so that they are arranged in a balanced pattern. Use a light spray lacquer finish to preserve the color and appearance of the corks. Top with the beveled glass.

About the Author

Pat Olsen has over 35 years of experience as a professional journalist in California. She attended San Francisco State and Pacific College. Olsen has several published books, is a staff writer for Mill Creek Living Magazine, and currently writes for Demand Studio. She is a retired educator who still teaches twice a week.