DIY Removable Wood Table Top for a Folding Table

Andrea Runk
by Andrea Runk
8 Materials
2 Days

Spring is here and summer is around the corner and I can’t wait for the first BBQ of the season. I have wanted a new patio table but I don’t want it to take up space all year around. I want the flexibility of having a nice table to entertain on and to store it away when we are done.

So, I had the idea to create a removable wood table top for a plastic folding table. We all have an old folding table from that one thanksgiving or the last tailgate that just collects dust in the shed.

Why not put it to use in style?

This table top can be easily removed and stored away when not in use. This will save space, it will allow us the flexibility of being able to move the table around , and it has the look of a nice wooden patio table. You can’t beat that!

Let’s Get Started

This tutorial will share how I built a removable table top for a Lifetime Folding Table measuring 30” x 6’.

Tool Time:

  • Nail Gun
  • Orbital Sander
  • Miter Saw
  • Drill
  • Pocket Hole Jig

Supplies Needed:

  • Wood Glue
  • Nails (Nail Gun)
  • 1-1/4” Pocket Hole Screws
  • Stain- Varathane “Early American”
  • Exterior Spar Urethane

Lumber Needed:

Lumber choices are abundant but can be costly. I used what was readily available to me, most cost effective, and what was best for this project. I chose NOT to use pressure treated wood because I did not want the chemicals on our eating surface and cedar was not an option. I chose to use common boards and sealed it.

  • (4) 1” x 8” x 6’
  • (1) 1” x 2” x 6’
  • (3) 1” x 4“ x 6’

Step One: Get on Board

The best way to start is by placing your boards directly on our folding table. Like I mentioned before, I am using a Lifetime Folding Table that is 30” wide by 6’ long (all measurements in this tutorial will coordinate with that size only but adjustment can be easily made for a different size table).

You will need a width of 30” plus a little wiggle room and a length of 6’. Using 6 foot boards there will be NO MAJOR CUTTING!!!

Using a 1×8 (actual dimension) is actually 3/4” x 7-1/4” (actual dimensions). Thus needing to add a 1×2 (3/4” x -1-1/2”) to the center. See my recent blog post on nominal lumber vs actual lumber for more information.

Step Two: A Pocket Full of Sunshine

To make our table top we need to adhere our boards together and I love using Pocket Holes to create a strong bond.

Make sure to have your boards with the top “nice side” facing down. We will drill the pocket holes into the underside of the table so you will not see these connections.

I start by creating a drilling template by drawing arrows on each board with a pencil. I like to have a pocket hole every 6-8” and I like to drill them in alternating directions and alternating boards (see above). I believe that this creates a strong connection between boards. Do this for all of your boards except the middle 1×2. We will drill into that board but do not need a pocket hole.

After your holes are drilled screw them together using 1-1/4” pocket hole screws.

Step Three: Let’s Add a Skirt

Now that our table top is complete we need to add a skirt. Using the 1x4s we will create a skirt around the edges of the table top. I chose a 1×4 because it would completely cover the plastic table sides.

I used wood glue and 1-1/2” nails to apply the skirt perpendicular to the table top, creating a butt joint. You will use two full boards on the long sides…And this is where I told a teeny, tiny, little lie earlier. We will need to make two cuts for the two short ends.

Once you get all four sides of the skirt connected your table should be nice and sturdy. But, if needed you can add addition supports. Remember, that this table top will go over another table top and will have a ton of support.

PS this is not my cat.

Step Four: The Three S’s


Sanding makes everything better . These boards were fairly nice so I only needed to start with a 120 grit and worked up to a 220 grit. You can start at an 80 grit if you have a really rough board.


For this project I used Varathane Early American stain to match a few other patio pieces that I’ve made. I like using a staining pad for this application.


This removable table top will be used predominantly on my patio and will be exposed to the outside elements. Even tho it will be stored away when not in use, I still want it to be protected. I have used Spar Urethane on a few other outdoor products and I love how they are holding up years later.

For this application I suggest using the manufactures recommendations.

All Done!

Your table top is now ready for your next picnic or bbq and can be stored away when not in use!!!

I hope if you liked this tutorial that you like, share, comment and please let me know if you have made one following this tutorial and I would love to feature you on my Social Media!

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3 of 4 questions
  • Sandy Fenter Sandy Fenter on May 06, 2021

    Could I use mod podge as a protective cover?

  • Katen Katen on Apr 19, 2023

    I have had this idea in my head for years but always worried about the weight on the table legs. Have you had any weight issues? I love it and now more motivated than ever. Btw if you fed the cat you own it, at least on a part time basis; kids and cats you feed ‘em your own ‘em especially at dinner time!

  • Katen Katen on Apr 21, 2023

    Sorry sun did not like table top. Wonder if pressure treated lumber instead would be better choice for outdoors. 1/2”-3/4” plywood should equal weight of your current top. Just a thought. I’ve been wanting to do this using plywood and tile on top to create a serving table at my large gatherings. No need for cloth to dress up table, can easily hold hot dishes or crockpots. Spills no problem and could create some fun designs too. Your thoughts on weight? I’m thinking removable for storage and table still serviceable for whatever you wish. Opinion?

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  • Barbara Lewis Barbara Lewis on Apr 21, 2022

    I don't have a question, but it's tooooo bad that is not your cat. He looks almost exactly like my seven (7) year old rescue cat, Mr. Socks!!!