Make an Easy Outdoor Side Table

5 Materials
2 Days

This is the time of year when we may yearn for new outdoor furniture, a dream that is too often out of reach for the budget-impaired. Still, never say die! I’ve “designed” an outdoor side table that’s super easy to put together using only three main items from the dollar store.

Regular readers of Dollar Store Style may have seen an earlier version of this idea on the Dollar Store Style website. After being out in the weather all summer, a couple of issues popped up, which I’ll talk about as we go on.
Just ignore the electric drill. After I took this picture, I discovered that I’m no great shakes at using the Black and Decker, so I defaulted to using a simpler method to make holes that’s just as effective. (I’ll explain about the holes later.)
Turn one of the planters upside down and apply silicone to the bottom.
Line the base of the top planter up with the base of the bottom planter and press down. Let the silicone dry for at least 24 hours. (I discovered, with last year’s table, that using hot glue isn’t a good idea; it melts in the heat. Oops!)
In the earlier incarnation of this side table, I used a patterned tray but, over the course of the summer, the colours faded, so I recommend using a white tray like this one. Push it down into the top of the planter until it feels stable. This tray fits very nicely just below the edge of the planter. You don’t need to use glue here.

Please note that, because of the tray’s handles, the planter will fill up with water when it rains, if it isn’t under shelter. Otherwise, you could use the space underneath to store small outdoor items.
Because plastic pots are so lightweight and because, I will be using my new side table on the lawn mostly, I put four holes around the bottom rim on each of the four “sides” using a small pointy screwdriver and a hammer. If you have an awl, that’s even better. A couple of good whacks for each hole did the trick. 

These four holes will allow you to anchor your new side table to the ground using the lawn staples. Barring gale-force winds, the lawn staples should keep the table from toppling in the summer breezes.
If you’d rather use your new side table on a deck or patio, prevent it from tipping in the wind by placing something heavy on it, like this homemade garden light.
Use a small glass bowl, clear glass stones and the top off of a small floral garden stake burrowed into the stones. All of these materials were found at Dollar Tree. This light looks even better at night after it’s been filled up with rain!
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 10 questions
  • Kay Muenzenmeyer Gill
    on May 20, 2018

    Couldn’ you use a serving tray/plate without the handles? I’ve seen those at Dollar General. It wouldn’t allow you to take in and out but it could be sealed and then rain wouldn’t go in the top.

    • Marlene
      on May 20, 2018

      I've done that, Kay, using slightly smaller pots, so the trays fit snugly in the top. This was the only tray I could find that fit this size pot.

  • Sharon Welton Anderson
    on May 20, 2018

    Wouldn't the try fill up with rain water?

  • Delwanda rowell
    on Jan 21, 2019

    I want to know can this project work as end tables

    • Claude Landrum
      on Apr 30, 2020

      I recently did this. I used two, black buckets and a decorative plate all from the Dollar Tree. I glued the buckets bottom to bottom. Then, I put a couple to three broken bricks from the yard in the top. I glued the plate to the bucket that had the bricks in them. I removed the wire handle from both buckets. My wife was a bit skeptical, until she saw the finished product with a flower sitting on it.

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