Build a Flip-Down Kitchen Table

Got a small kitchen? Check out this easy do-it-yourself project with step-by-step instructions on building and installing a flip-down table for two.
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Original-Laurie-March-ODOC-kitchen-fold-down-table-with-tag2_s4x3

Photography by Daniel Collopy

Photography by Daniel Collopy

The two roommates in this 1920s apartment didn't stand a chance of fitting a standard-sized table in their tiny kitchen. In less than one day, and on a budget of $200, we created a simple fold-down dining table. I recruited a handy carpenter and friend, Thad Mills, to help out.

Make a Flip-Down Table 03:12

Laurie and a friend make a space-saving flip-down table for a tiny kitchen.
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Laurie-March-ODOC-measure-kitchen_s4x3

Measure your wall.

Measure your wall.

Get Started: Build, Paint and Mount

Determine the size of table you want to create. Anything around 22" to 24" deep is a good dimension for people to eat comfortably. This table seats two and is 23" deep and 47" wide.

Build the Frame and Table

Transfer your measurements to a sheet of 3/4" plywood and use a 4' level or straight edge to connect marks to make straight cutting lines. For this table, we cut one piece at 48" x 24" for the back, and one piece at 47" x 23" for the tabletop.

Build the Table Wall Frame

Use a circular saw to cut out the back of the table frame. Cut 1" x 4" pine boards to frame your plywood. For this frame, we cut two board lengths at 48" long and two board lengths at 22 1/2" long.

Apply wood glue to the edges of the plywood and attach the 48" boards first to the top and bottom, then the 22 1/2" sides to the perimeter using 1 5/8" screws.

Laurie-March-ODOC-drill-kitchen-table-sides_s4x3

Laurie-March-ODOC-drill-kitchen-table-sides_s4x3

Attach pine boards to plywood.

Attach pine boards to plywood.

Build the Table

This tabletop is made from a 23" x 47" cut piece of plywood. To avoid a flimsy tabletop, cut four pieces out of 2" x 2" pine boards and line the perimeter under the sheet of plywood. Our cuts are two pieces at 2" x 2" x 21 1/2" and two pieces at 2" x 2" x 47".

Apply wood glue to the edges of the plywood and attach the two 47" boards to the top and bottom, then the 21 1/2" sides using 1 5/8" screws.

Prep for Paint

Sand all edges of the frame and tabletop until smooth and fill in screw holes with wood putty.

Paint the Table

Lightly sand wood putty to make an even surface. Prime all parts of the table, but try to avoid getting paint on the piano hinge. When primer is dry, paint your table the desired color. For the best protection against spills, use semigloss or full-gloss paint.

How to Build a Flip-Down Table

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Double-Duty Dining

This itty-bitty kitchen had no place to dine, but in less than one day and on a budget of $200, we created a simple fold-down table made out of basic materials. Handyman and carpenter Thad Mills was recruited to help out with the project.

Get Started

Determine the size of the table you want to create. Anything around 22" to 24" deep is a good dimension. This table seats two, so it's 23" deep and 47" wide.

Build the Wall Frame

Use a circular saw to cut out the back of the table frame. Cut 1" x 4" pine boards to frame your plywood. For this frame, we cut two board lengths at 48" long and two board lengths at 22 1/2" long.

Glue It Right

Apply wood glue to the edges of the plywood.

Secure the Sides

Attach the 48" boards first to the top and bottom, then the 22 1/2" sides to the perimeter using 1 5/8" screws.

Build the Tabletop

The table is constructed from a piece of plywood cut to 23" x 47". From a 2" x 2" x 8" pine board, cut two boards at 21 1/2" for the sides, and two boards at 47". Apply wood glue to the edges of the plywood and secure the boards with 1 5/8" screws.

Prep for Paint

Sand all edges of the frame and tabletop until smooth and fill in screw holes with wood putty.

Prime and Paint

Lightly sand wood putty to make an even surface. Prime all parts of the table, but try to avoid getting paint on the piano hinge. When primer is dry, paint your table the desired color. For the best protection against spills, use semigloss or full-gloss paint.

Cut the Hinge

Cut piano hinge with a hacksaw to the length of your tabletop; it's is easier than it sounds.

Attach With Screws

Place the tabletop in the frame as if the tabletop is folded down in a finished state and screw the piano hinge to the back of the frame.

Mount on the Wall

Using level, measure and mark where you want the table to be installed. Find the studs inside the perimeter of the frame outline. Have a friend hold the assembled folding table on the wall over the marks and attach the frame to the wall where your studs line up with the frame on the top and bottom using 3" screws.

Add the Chain

Let the table fold down until it's at a 90-degree angle from the wall and frame; attach the 25" chains to each side, starting with the top end of the chain, and attaching the bottom side where it has comfortable tension on the chain, supporting the weight of the table.

Lock It Up

Fold the table back up in the frame and install the gate lock on the top left- or right-hand corner to secure the tabletop to the frame when not in use.

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Laurie-March-ODOC-install-kitchen-table_s4x3

Attach the frame with 3-inch screws.

Attach the frame with 3-inch screws.

Mount the Table and Add Finishing Touches

Using the 4' level, measure and mark the wall where you want the table to be installed. Find the studs inside the perimeter of the frame outline.

Have a friend hold the assembled folding table on the wall over the marks and attach the frame to the wall where your studs line up with the frame on the top and bottom using 3-inch screws.

Laurie-March-ODOC-drill-kitchen-table_s4x3

Laurie-March-ODOC-drill-kitchen-table_s4x3

Attach piano hinge

Attach piano hinge

Attach the Piano Hinge

Cut piano hinge with a hacksaw to the length of your tabletop; it's easier than it sounds. Place the tabletop in the frame as if the tabletop is folded down in a finished state and screw the piano hinge to the back of the frame.

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Original-Laurie-March-fold-up-kitchen-table_s3x4

Fold the table up and install the gate lock.

Fold the table up and install the gate lock.

Attach the Support Chains

Let the table fold down until it is at a 90-degree angle from the wall and frame; attach the 25" chains to each side, starting with the top end of the chain, and attaching the bottom side where it has comfortable tension on the chain, supporting the weight of the table.

Install the Lock

Fold the table back up in the frame and install the gate lock on the top left- or right-hand corner to secure the tabletop to the frame when not in use.

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