How To Build a "Pop Up" Coffee Table

4-6 hours (depending on the size of the table you build)
Give Your Coffee Table A Lift!


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If your current coffee table is leaving you a bit flat, you might want to try something a bit out of the ordinary. After all, a coffee table can be so much more than just a place to store your remote controls.

A "pop-up" coffee table might be just what you're looking for. Unfortunately, many of these units go for $500.00 or more! But with just a little time and effort on your part, you can get your very own for less than half that price! And, with your router, you can customize it however you see fit!

For simplicity, we'll show you how to make a box-style table. But you can alter this how-to as much as your skills allow.

Project Steps

Step 1


You'll want to begin by first constructing an open box. You can use any material you like, from 3/4-inch MDF, oak, pine, or whatever style of wood that suits you. Make sure the box is at least 2 feet high. You're aiming for typical "coffee-table height." The width of your box will be determined by the "pop-up" mechanism. If you choose to add feet, you'll want to take the height of these into account as well. Using wood screws and adhesive, attach the pieces together.

JANE TIP: Consider using your router to create alternating dados and tenons on the edges of each piece so that the side pieces of the box slide together rather than you having to secure them with wood screws.

Step 2

If you're installing a "pop-up" mechanism, place it into the box making sure the top is level with the box top. Once you've determined proper placement, mark where the bottom of the mechanism sits on the inside walls of the box. Remove the mechanism and set it aside.

Step 3

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To help support the mechanism inside the box, attach two 2 x 4 pieces of wood so that the top of the 2 x 4 pieces are even with the marks you made from the bottom of the pop-up mechanism. Secure the pieces using wood screws on both sides of the box.

Step 4

Now secure the mechanism to the 2 x 4 pieces using the hardware provided.

Step 5


Using a circular saw, cut your tabletop to your desired size. Remember to extend it a bit beyond the base. Consider using your router along the edges of the tabletop to give it a truly finished look. Once complete, secure the tabletop to the pop-up mechanism. You can use wood screws or the hardware that may have been provided by the manufacturer. Consider drilling pilot holes first before attaching the top.

Step 6

If desired, add a set of feet to the bottom of the table base. Use your router to add a bit of decorative flair.

Step 7

Finish off your new table by sanding it and staining it and be sure to add a polyurethane sealer to protect the finish for years to come.