How to Build a Flip-Down Table

Don't have a place to eat in your kitchen? Follow these step-by-step instructions for adding extra space.

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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