Replace a Glass Table Top with Wood Planks

Here’s the story of a side table that wanted to be a planter but in the end discovered his true calling in life was as a side table.

wood plank side table

So I bought this little side table from a thrift store one day.  It had an ugly glass top.  No offense if you have glass topped tables, but they are not my taste.  I kept it in my house just as it was for a long time, not sure how I wanted to refinish it.


One day I rearranged some furniture and the Little Side Table That Could just didn’t have a place in the living room anymore.  I moved it outside and took out the glass.  I realized that if I built a little planter box to go inside where the glass was, I could have myself a little planter!


So I painted it and distressed it, using Annie Sloan French Provencial gray paint.  This was actually my first time using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (heretoafter referred to as ASCP) and I really like it.  It distressed so well and so much more naturally than latex.  I also painted the planter box the same color.  I planted a bunch of flowers in it and it sat outside on the porch for several months.

Problems:  The water was wreaking havoc on this table and the planter box.  I admit it wasn’t the most sturdy planter box because I had used some pretty thin planks to make it.  And one day, the bottom of the planter box fell out.  (And that is why you never saw it posted on the blog.) Luckily my flowers were in liners so they weren’t ruined.  I removed the planter box and there was the table, ready and willing to accept its calling of being a side table.


But I wasn’t about to return the glass top.  I had always wanted to replace a glass table top with wood planks.  So I carefully measured and cut some thin poplar wood planks I had (and they had slight weathering from being outside which was cool).  I unfortunately didn’t take pictures of this part but I’ll tell you what I did.  I measured the board width (don’t ever assume the size, wood planks are usually 1/2″ less than they say at the store) and the size of the hole they needed to fill.  I cut the boards the same length and it was a pretty tight fit so I had to sand the ends really well so they would fit in there snugly.

how to replace a glass table top with wood planks

The biggest issue was that the boards were just a tad too wide to have four fit perfectly side by side.  I measured it and then ripped the boards with my circular saw.  It’s actually kind of a miracle that they ended up as straight as they did because I’m not usually super accurate with a circular saw.  Now I was left with a slight gap in between each board.  In order to keep the gaps the same distance, I used my new Ryobi nail gun and nailed them all to a 1×2 that I had lying around that was roughly the right length.  I recommend nailing it to two boards for extra security but I didn’t have two, just one and I was ready for the project to be done.  But it all worked great and fit perfectly.

poplar wood planked table top

The color of this wood blows me away.  It’s so beautiful and I love the natural look of wood, as long as it’s not brand new.  This is Poplar and it’s incredibly thin, I think only 1/4″.  That way it was about the same width as the glass so it fit in the same way.  To finish this wood I just put a wood oil on it and let it absorb.  I am kind of obsessed with this table now and am crushing hard on it.

chippy paint

As for the chippy paint below, that was a stroke of luck.  Due to all the water from watering the flowers, the bottom got super weathered and the paint was cracking like crazy.  I took a sander to it and just sanded it really well so no more paint would flake off and this is how much came off.  But it fits the table so well and ties in the raw wood table top.  Love, love, love!!!

Linking up to: Miss Mustard Seed

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  1. I call that serendipity. 🙂 Love it!

  2. Oh My! I love that table with the new planks in it. What a great idea! I need to go to the thriftshop, like now! You have given me inspiration.

  3. Looked beatiful as a planter and looks super cool as side table. you r genius!

  4. Little Side Table That Could, I love it. You’re a great writer.

  5. Brilliant idea ! I have one end table missing the glass ( my sister in law gave it to me ) not sure what to do with it. Now I know what to do with it. Thanks for sharing !! Love it !! visit from missmustardseed


  6. Sami Powell says:

    OH.MY.GOSH! I have that EXACT same table sitting in my garage with no glass! I bought it at a yard sale for $5.00. I just knew something wounderful could be done with it but I was just not sure what. THANK YOU! I now know exactly what I will be doing this weekend! LOVE it!!


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