How to Turn an Old Table Into a Trough Party Table (Unicorn Spit)

2 Materials
1 Week

I have made one of these in the past and it proved very popular, and I had a damaged old table lying around so went for round two learning from my mistakes in round one.

Before table

My table had lots of damage with lots of dents and scratches and the ends had been cut off, so I decided to do it as a rustic table.  I added some more distressing all over the table.

 I used a drill chuck with the end remove to hit the table to give it a nice pattern as well as hitting a large threaded screw with a hammer to make the damage look intentional.

My son made me the trough out of aluminium to fit into the centre. But plant troughs work just as well.  Mark out the position on the table where you want the trough to be ready for cutting.

I cut the out the centre using a router.  On my previous table I drilled a pilot hole then used a jigsaw to cut it out.  But ended up with large gaps in the lid which did not look very good.   I set up a fence using scrap wood, so it would be easy for me to run the router around with less fuss.

I turned the table upside down, and lined the trough up with the hole in the table.  I added some screws to keep the trough in place.  I knew this was not going to be strong enough to hold the weight of the ice and the drinks, so I added some wood supports.

Because my table was plywood and I had exposed a lot of the edges.  To hide these I used a wood veneer tape to make the table look like wood. This I did using my iron and an old piece of sheet. The veneer was lined up and covered with the old sheet and I used the hot iron to attach it to the table, I use a smooth piece of wood to rub the veneer to the surface and used a craft knife to cut away the excess.

I then sanded down my table ready for staining.

To drain the trough after use of all the water, I drilled a small hole and use a cork to block the hole.
Trough party table with built in cooler

Because I blended 2 colors of unicorn spit together, the color of the table changes depending on the angle you look at it and the light. To get the same color as in this project. I used Unicorn Spit 3 part blue thunder to 1 part dragonbelly and 30% water. To see full step by step instructions on this project please visit

Suggested materials:

  • Recycled material
  • Trough  (this was made for me)

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Andi Risley
    on Apr 1, 2017

    I wonder if it'd be possible to use it as a fire pit table? I know it's wood, but just trying to figure out a way...

    • Mary Hofstra
      on Apr 1, 2017

      I think I saw a table here on hometalk that someone had made with a fire pit in the center for roasting marshmallows. I can't remember much about it, except that it was similar to this idea except with fire.

  • Buffy
    on Apr 2, 2017

    I've heard a lot of good things about unicorn spit. I have seen some projects using it, but this is amazing. Thank you for the green inspiration It is awesome. What colors did you mix to get that beautiful color? I seen you said this was your first unicorn spit project. Great Job!!!
    • The Painted Saguaro
      on Apr 21, 2017

      She states above... To get the same colour as in this project. I used Unicorn Spit 3 part blue thunder to 1 part dragonbelly and 30% water.
  • Lizzette Berrios
    on Apr 6, 2017

    I had a table and I want to dyi red antique how can do ?
    • Deb
      on Nov 28, 2019

      Use mollyredpepper and black Unicorn Spit. Red first and start dry brushing the black until you get the right look for you

Join the conversation

2 of 61 comments
  • Unique Creations By Anita
    on May 18, 2017

    Thank you, looks blue and different shades of green depending on the light.
  • Susan
    on Jan 21, 2019

    You could also put plants or even candles in the center for a different look. Great job!!!

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