Hi, it’s Amy from Hertoolbelt back with another DIY build for your home. I do love unexpected design details in furniture and this project has just that with only 2 ‘legs’. Along with the unexpected leg design, it is great for holding your favorite magazine! This side table is inspired by the Moda Reader Side Table previously sold by Urban Outfitters. I changed a few things with the design and made it easier to assemble, only needing a pocket hole jig and it only requires 1 board to build it!
A little disclaimer, the side table is quite sturdy on flat surfaces, but on fluffy carpet it is not as sturdy. Avoid putting anything breakable on it, just in case.
Get the building plan below, and then follow the video tutorial on our YouTube channel and/or the written instructions below.
How to Build a Mid-Century Modern Side Table & Magazine Holder
*All Remodelaholic building plans and tutorials are for personal, non-commercial use only. Use this printable plan as you build, but don’t sell the PDF plan or otherwise distribute the file. (Items built following this tutorial may be sold, but the instructions and PDF file may not.) Thanks!
- 1 – 1 x 10 x 8′ board (I used pine, actual size 3/4″ x 9 1/4″)
- 10 – 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws
- 1 1/4″ brad nails (1 1/2″ or 2″ would be better)
- wood glue
- wood filler
- stain/top coat
- Approximate lumber cost – $14
- 2 – 3/4″ x 8″ x 22″ – top
- 1 – 3/4″ x 9 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ – magazine front
- 1 – 3/4″ x 9 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ with a 15 deg bevel cut on one side – magazine ledge
- 1 – 3/4″ x 9 1/4″ x 19″ with 15 deg bevel cuts on both ends (going same direction) – front leg
- 2 – 3/4″ x 2 1/2″ x 9″ with a 15 deg miter end and 20 deg miter other end – leg supports
- 1 – 3/4″ x (see cut diagram) x 18 3/8″ with 20 deg miters on each end (going same direction)
Step 1 – Assemble Top
Cut the pieces for the side table from the cut diagram/list. Note: I used a jig saw to cut the long side of the back leg.
Join together the two top pieces by drilling 4 pocket holes for 3/4″ material in one of the boards (leave space for the magazine holder cut out). Use wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws to secure the boards together and remove excess glue. Mark the 4″ x 9 1/4″ location for the magazine holder/leg slot, I would cut it a hair larger than 9 1/4″. Use a jig saw to cut out the magazine holder/front leg slot. Dry fit the front leg to make sure the slot is wide enough.
Once the glue has dried, sand the top piece. It may be helpful to use an oscillating tool to sand the magazine slot.
Note: I usually sand all of the boards at this point before assembly.
Step 2 – Assemble Front Leg
Attach the magazine front (2 1/2″ piece) to the straight cut of the magazine ledge piece with wood glue and 1 1/4″ minimum brad nails in 4 or 5 places. (Orient the magazine ledge like shown in the diagram.)
Measure down the front leg and mark at about 9 3/8″. Use wood glue and 1 1/4″ minimum brad nails to attach the magazine ledge to the front leg.
Step 3 – Assemble Back Leg
Drill pocket holes for 3/4″ material on the inside faces of the leg supports.
Sandwich the back leg between the leg supports on the 20 deg miter side. Use wood glue and 1 1/4″ minimum brad nails to secure the back leg in place, keeping the bottom and side flush with the leg supports.
Line up the back leg assembly with the centerline of the top boards and overhand the leg supports about 1/4″ into the magazine slot. Use wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws to attach the leg supports to the top.
Step 4 – Attach front leg
Turn the table over and place the back and front legs so they are both flush on a flat surface. Use wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws to secure the leg supports to the front leg. If needed use brad nails from the front leg into the leg supports.
Step 5 – Finish
Fill any cracks, blemishes or nail holes with wood filler and allow to dry. Sand the side table until it is smooth, finishing with 120-150 grit sandpaper and sanding in the direction of the wood grain. I stained the side table with Varathane Kona and after the stain dried, applied a top coat for protection.
For more build plans check out Hertoolbelt: