How to Make a Nightstand
This post contains affiliate links, which give me a small commission at no extra cost to you. They are indicated by an (*). There has been a lot of DIY here lately and it’s been so fun! Seriously, if I have to go a while without building something, I start to have withdrawal symptoms. It’s just that fun! Anyway, earlier this week I posted about our DIY Chalkboard Mail Sorter and DIY Industrial Cart Coffee Table. I can say with confidence that those were beginner projects, however, today’s is more intermediate. That isn’t to scare anyone away, though, because if I could do it, so can you. I’ve taken the time to put together super detailed instructions on how to make a nightstand. You can also visit Ana White’s tutorial on the same table, which is where my inspiration came from.
The nightstands we had from the time we were first married have been literally falling apart. I never liked them, either. They were super contemporary with tons of glass and they didn’t do a thing for hiding all the cords running behind them. They had to go!
Here are the materials used to make two new rustic nightstands for our bedroom (buy half of everything on this list if you are only making one):
- 4 – 1x2 @ 8 feet long
- 4 – 1x4 @ 8 feet long
- 4 – 1x3 @ 8 feet long
- ¾” plywood (I got a half sheet, but most stores will rip them for you. You need it cut into four sections that are15 ¾” strips x 19 ¾” long)
- A panel of bead board or pine wainscoting (48” wide by 22” high for the sides and door)
- Two 2” strap hinges
- Knob or handle
- Magnetic clasp
- 1 ¼” Pocket hole screws
- 1 ¼” finish nails
- ¾” finish nails
- Chicken Wire
- Wood glue
- Stain (I used Minwax Special walnut mixed with a little bit of Minwax Grey stain)
Tools (For help buying tools, check out my DIY tool shopping guide):
- 4 – 1x2 @ 12 ¾”
- 8 – 1x2 @ 26 ¼”
- 4 – 1x2 @ 17”
- 8 – 1x3 @ 26 ¼”
- 4 – 1x3 @ 16 ¾”
- 4 – 1x3 @ 14”
- 4 – 1x4 @ 26 ¼”
- 4 – 1x4 @ 17”
- 8 – 1x4 @ 22 ½”
- 4 – ¾” Plywood @ 15 ¾” x 19 ¾”
- 4 – ¼” paneling or bead board @ 15 ¾” x 21 ¾”
- 2 – ¼” paneling or bead board @ 16” x 19”
Ready to go? Great! Me too! Let’s get started with cutting all those boards. Be sure to keep as organized as possible while doing this, marking the lengths in a discreet corner of the wood so things don’t get mixed up.
For this next step, I went ahead and drilled all my pocket holes at once, but you can also choose to do it as you go. All of the 12 ¾” and 17” boards get them at the ends as well as the ¾” plywood and the 22 ½” 1x4s that make the table top. Clear as mud?
This is the plywood bottom shelf.
The upper shelf.
And, the table top.
Alright, start assembling the sides of the table.
Measure 2” from the bottom of the 26 ¼” 1x2...
...and use glue and pocket holes to attach the 12 ¾” 1x4.
Then do the same with the 12 ¾” 1x2.
Then, attach the paneling with glue and finish nails.
Use the same process to build the front and back frame using the 17” boards and 26 ¼” 1x3.
Attach the paneling.
Now, let’s put on the shelves. Pull out the sides you made earlier and the 3/4" plywood.
Because I chose to add a shelf, some things from my plan are a little different from Ana White’s. Rather than attaching the bottom shelf to the frame just underneath the paneling, attach it directly over the paneling at the very bottom.
Then add the upper shelf.
They are starting to take shape!
Use glue and finish nails to secure the front and back frames.
The back frame gets a sheet of paneling if you so desire.
Now, the top goes on using glue and finish nails.
And, to show you that I’m not really a DIY expert and make tons of mistakes along the way….
Yep, I totally botched up the doors by putting the board’s together wrong, but, you know what, it was totally fine! If you have any hesitation about getting into DIY projects because you are afraid of messing things up, just know that I make tons of mistakes with every project and have always been able to fix or cover them up. I started with no woodworking experience a year ago, but that didn’t hold me back and now it’s my most enjoyable pass time.
There is your pep talk for the day. To rectify the door situation I had to pry the paneling and frame apart and switched the frame around to be correct. Then I got lazy and didn’t cut a new piece of paneling, but decided to use some chicken wire for the door instead.
Ah, much better. Now add the hinges, handle, and magnetic clasp to the doors.
The last thing to do is sand, fill holes, and stain.
Despite my little hiccup, I love the way they turned out! They are so much sturdier than the old ones and much more my style.
I hope you have found this tutorial on how to make a nightstand useful and interesting! It may be a little more on the difficult side of DIY, but letting yourself be challenged is totally worth it! Even if you make mistakes, you can always go back and re-do the parts that aren’t perfect and always remember: it’s the imperfections that make it charming!