I have been looking at all the interesting backgrounds that photographers use when taking pictures and we decided we needed to have a few for our website. We decided to make a worn-looking painted one and a natural wood one.
Table top #1: Painted table top
Table top #2: Natural with polyurethane coating
- 1 or 2 wooden pallets, depending on number of wooden slats
- 75 count – 8 x 1 ¼ “ exterior wood screws
- 8 SoftTouch furniture glides (4 nail-on pieces for each table top) These are not needed if you are adding legs to your table top.
- Coarse Sandpaper (80)
- Fine Sandpaper (220)
- White paint
- Valspar color sample – tinted Dress Blues (SW9176)
- Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Clear Satin 8 oz.
Total expenses: $26.08 (See bottom for details – does not include legs)
- Manual saw (electric saw would be better!)
- Power drill
- Outdoor scrub brush
- Paint brush
- Sanding block
- Dust brush
SAFETY TIP: Wear long pants, closed-toed shoes, and safety glasses. Be very careful if there are rusty nails.
Step 1: Clean the pallets.
Our pallets were really dirty because we received them with a load of grass, so we had to spray them with a hose and use a scrub brush to clean them.
Step 2: Pry off the best, most usable boards with the hammer.
Step 3: Lay out your boards.
To make 2 table tops, we found 12 usable planks. We picked out the best 10 planks for the tops and matched them. The extra 2 will be cut and put on the back side to hold the rest all together (Step 4). We wanted 2 table tops, one natural and one painted, so we matched the best 5 planks together and then for the other table top, we alternated 3 thinner planks with 2 wider planks so that it would be symmetrical. The wider planks were not as nice, so we decided that would be our painted table top. From here on I will refer to them as “natural” and “painted.”
Natural Table Top: All the boards are the same.
Painted Table Top: 3 thin boards, 2 wider boards
Step 4: Measure and cut a plank to hold the boards together.
We measured the width of the top planks all together and made the board underneath about 1 inch shorter. We made a pencil mark across the board and then cut them with our manual saw.
When the plank was cut, we had a small extra piece that we discarded.
Step 5: Attach all the boards together with the shorter boards.
After flipping the long boards over, we screwed the short boards to the back side of the table top. We made sure all the long boards were even at the ends and that they fit tightly together. We placed each short board perpendicular (the opposite direction) to the long boards, about 6 inches from the ends. While I held all the boards together and even, my daughter used the power drill to screw them together, 2 screws in each board.
DETAIL OF BACK
Step 6: Sand the boards and edges until they are smooth.
To eliminate splinters, we smoothed the top, edges, and bottom. After sanding, we wanted to make sure the table tops were clean, so we dusted all of the boards off.
Step 7: Hammer in the furniture gliders.
Since we are using these for photo backgrounds, we are not adding table legs. But we don’t want them to scratch our floors or tables, so we are using furniture gliders. We just nailed 4 of them into the short wooden planks about 4 inches from the edge and centered on the board. You can wait until the end and add table legs from your local hardware store or online.
If you want to see the natural one, go to STEP 11.
Step 8: FOR THE PAINTED TABLE TOP. Flip it over and paint the top white.
We wanted it to look like a worn pair of jeans, so we flipped over the table top and painted the top white. We did paint the sides and edges, but not the bottom.
Step 9: Paint blue over the white.
After the white was dried, we painted the blue, completely covering the white paint.
Step 10: Sand the top.
We wrapped a sanding block with coarse sandpaper (80) and then sanded until we had the desired effect we wanted. We wanted some blue, white, and natural wood showing. We also worked at making it as even as we could.
After dusting it off with a dust brush, it was ready to go! (We did use paper towels at first to get the dust off and it left bits of paper all over the wood. The dust brush worked much better.)
Step 11: FOR THE NATURAL TABLE TOP. Flip it over and make sure it is clean.
The dust brush worked best for us to make sure it was clean.
Step 12: Paint the polyurethane.
We painted the polyurethane over the top and edges, let it dry for about 4 hours, sanded it with 220 sandpaper, dusted it off, then painted the polyurethane again.
We only painted 2 coats, but more coats would put a thicker layer over the wood.
Now we have 2 new backgrounds for our photos!
- 1 or 2 wooden pallets, depending on number of wooden slats (free)
- 75 count – 8 x 1 ¼ “ exterior wood screws – we used about 40 ($5.58)
- 8 SoftTouch furniture glides (4 nail-on pieces for each table top) ($2.28 each for a pack of 4) These are not needed if you are adding legs to your table top.
- Coarse Sandpaper (80) ($4.98 for 5 9 in by 11 in) We only used ½ a sheet.
- Fine Sandpaper (220) ($4.98 for 5 9 in by 11 in) We only used ½ a sheet.
- White paint (we had some left over from another project)
- Valspar color sample – tinted Dress Blues (SW9176) ($3.98)
- Paint brush (Valspar 2 inch shorty) ($5.98)
- Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Clear Satin 8 oz ($6.98)
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