How we made a folding Garden Table and stools using Hairpin Legs.
We finished our garden renovation last summer and we’ve spent most of this year on the finishing touches that will make our small outdoor space as usable as possible. But we were missing one thing – a garden table and chairs.
“We wanted a garden table that could be stored away, fitting in with our lifestyle and our small inner city garden.“
We wanted to make the space multi functional and with four current layouts for our pergola seating alone, we were definitely fulfilling that brief. There was just one thing missing – a garden table and chairs. We’d been using the centre panel from our dining room table for a casual, alfresco dining set up, which works brilliantly and the great thing is, it can be slotted back underneath the table when not in use so as not to take up any valuable storage space, but there’s no substitute for all getting around a proper table to have a dinner or brunch in the garden.
The issue was, as always – space. We didn’t have anywhere to put a table in the garden. I love those big chunky picnic style tables but they need to be out all year round and lets face it, there’d be no room to swing a cat … or more importantly a hammock … and Mr Woodenhill was adamant that he wanted one of those. He was right by the way, it’s absolute heaven but don’t tell him I said that.
We needed the space to be open and free of furniture so that our son can kick a ball around if he wants to. Sometimes I need to teach pilates outside too so It’s important to be able to put all of the furniture away if we need to use the space for other things.
Easy to store
So, I searched the internet for a folding table. You’d think there would be a plethora of bendy beauties available but finding one to fit the space was near impossible and as with all things, if you wanted a nice one you would need to sell a child to pay for it. I considered that for a few days until we came to our usual solution … when we can’t find (afford) what we want, we just have to make it ourselves.
A Garden Table with Nice Pins
We’d planned on making some outdoor garden furniture using hairpin legs for a while but we weren’t sure how or if it was even possible to make a folding attachment so that we would be able to store the table away when not in use.
Garden Table Top
With a bit of experimentation and spare wood we devised a solution and the idea of the folding hairpin garden table was GO. Now we just needed to figure out what the table top would be made of. We’ve used a lot of wood in our time to know how temperamental it can be when it comes into contact with the elements. We didn’t fancy eating our brunch on a sloping table so after a lot more research we stumbled across a material called exterior Medite which is a type of MDF developed specifically for external use.
Once we’d found our table top, we were ready to start … unfortunately due to a global pandemic and an agonising three month lead time on the delivery of said material we were forced to have our poached eggs on our makeshift table for a little while longer.
When it arrived, it really was plain sailing though, as we’d managed to make our sail shade for the pergola during that time too. Our garden is like a little sun trap so a bit of shade and some extra shelter in an unexpected shower is an absolute game changer.
What we used to make our garden table:
- Exterior medite cut to desired size
- 4 x Black, 2 rod style hair pin legs, 28 inches for the table
- 6 x Black, 2 rod style hair pin legs, 16 inches for the stools
- 4 x 50mm solid brass drawn butt hinges
- Weather Shield Primer
- Final coat of paint in desired colour
The Hairpin Leg Company have lots of styles and colours to choose from, in all sorts of sizes so you can really get creative and make a bespoke piece of furniture completely unique to you and your family’s needs.
The Garden Table Hinge
To make the hinge you will need to make four rectangle pieces and four house shaped pieces – these are the official technical terms of the trade.
Here are the measurements that we used but you can adjust them accordingly to accommodate your size of table or legs.
You will need to attach one side of the hinge to one rectangle piece and the other to a house shaped piece.
First, drill the holes. The rectangle piece of wood will attach the hinge mechanism to the table top so you will need to use longer screws that can go through both, taking into account the thickness of the wood.
You will need shorter screws for the house shaped piece of wood as this it to attach the hairpin leg and enable it to fold into the table.
Then attach the hairpin legs using the shorter screws to the top of the house shaped piece of wood lining up the points of the triangle with the corner of the table.
And, there you have it. The table is done. I painted the tabletop in the weather proof primer before attaching it all together but in an ideal world you would do all of the pieces, using the final top coat colour as well to avoid having to take it all apart again to paint it.
We painted ours using the same Valspar ‘Evening Coat’ paint that we used on our raised planters to tie everything together and make the whole space feel less cluttered and more spacious. It also enables it to blend in and disappear when it’s stored away down the side of the house.
The Garden Stools
Mr Woodenhill used one of the best hacks ever to create the round top for the garden stool seat…it’s perhaps the most proud I’ve ever seen him. He would never admit it but he was more chuffed than he was on our wedding day I’m sure of it.
He created a jig by nailing an off-cut piece of wood to where he wanted the centre of the circle to be. This is the middle so you should allow double the length around the whole circle before you start cutting. He cut a rivet into the wood where he wanted the edge of the circle to be and rested the blade of the Jigsaw against it. Drill a hole for your starting point and then let the jig glide the jigsaw around the nail in the centre to create a perfectly round seat pad (make sure you screw the jigsaw to the jig too).
We’ll leave out the part where he snapped the blade in half while making the second stool seat. DIY never goes smoothy does it?
Attach your hairpin legs in a neat formation in the centre of the seat. We only used three legs as we wanted a small and compact stool but you could use four. This would make the base of the stool a lot more sturdy.
So there you have it, a compact, folding garden table and chairs that you can pack up and store away whenever you need more space. It’s bespoke so it can be made easily to fit the space that you have, AND (here’s the best bit) you can even fold it up, put it in the boot of the car and whisk it away with you on a camping trip.
Who said all camping furniture needs to be ugly?
From a weekend away camping to a cozy date night at home, there’s nothing this table can’t do!
Right I’m off out to enjoy the last few days of summer with my new table and stools.
I’d love to hear in the comments if you do decide to give this DIY Folding Table a try.