Camper Project: Drop Down Table


camper folding table.jpg

You guys! I had an idea and it actually came out the way I had planned. I honestly can’t believe it. Things don’t often work out for me like that. There’s usually at least a bajillion hiccups along the way. But this idea came together so easy. And the best? I made and installed it myself!! And… It’s even level. And (lots of “ands” here)… the main part was FREE!

So, this table idea was in response to the need to have someplace to comfortably write (type) while in the camper. Almost like a desk area, a quick night stand for the sleeping area area near it, and extra counter space when needed. But, the more I thought about it, a table wouldn’t work because 1. finding one the perfect size was going to be difficult. 2. it needed to store away easy.  3. I needed to like it. And, 4. it needed to be crazy cheap.

So, off to Home depot I went. I picked up what I thought would be enough…two table legs: , trim:  and a 30 inch hinge. It’s called a continuous hinge or sometimes a piano hinge. Just needed one: . From there I went to where the lumber is cut and pawed around in the scrap pieces and found a piece that I thought would work. Turns out it was a piece of melamine that was supposed to be the upright sides to a shelving unit. I had the guy there cut it to 32 inches long and he marked the price for me…FREE! They were going to junk it! Woot!!! I can do free!! Here’s what it was: . So the grand total from the Home Depot shopping was right around $31.00

On the way home I stopped at Walmart, but, they didn’t have what I needed. Gasp, whaaaaat? Yeah, really. I needed a dowel and all I could find were round ones. I needed a square one. I could have gotten one from Home Depot, but, I knew I could do better on the price, and I could have shorter more manageable pieces elsewhere…and I could drool over the crafty supplies…at Hobby Lobby. So, as it’s on my way home, I stopped there, touched all the yarn, smelled all the candles, and grabbed two sticks of this: so easy. I used a coupon for 40% off and my daughter used her coupon for a stick. So we got each stick for 40% off. Nice.

I took all this home and began painting all of it. The table itself I painted gray, the legs and dowels (once cut to shape) espresso, and the trim copper (all left over colors I have used in previous projects) . I wanted it to fit in the color scheme, but, be a little funky, too.


Once all the pieces were painted the fun began. I needed to make two collars to support the legs and help to guide the legs to where the little screw on top of the legs would fit into the underside of the table. To make the collars, I cut the square dowels into a hexagon shape. Each cut was 22.5 degrees. Here’s the math. A circle is 360 degrees, we needed the circle to have eight sides, so cut the circle into eight sides, which equals eight 45 degree segments. Ok. Good. Now, each segment will have two cuts (one at each end), so 45 divided by 2 is 22.5. Each cut needed to be 22.5 degrees. No problem. Most miter saws have that pre-measured on it’s cut guides. No problem. I measured the width of each of the sides of the legs to decide how wide the inside of my hexagon collar segments would be and determined that about 1 inch would work well and give me a little wiggle room. So, I cut, and cut, and cut.

Here’s all the pieces,



and here’s all the pieces together.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This wood glue = awesome. Just saying. It sets up crazy fast and strong. So be sure that’s where you want your pieces. I think short of a jackhammer, these aren’t coming apart again.

And then I painted them with espresso colored spray paint and let them dry. Once dry, I flipped the table top over and placed them where I wanted them to be, close to the edge on one long side but with about an eighth inch set back from the edges. I marked where I wanted them with a Sharpie and then glued them down. Let that dry and we were ready for the next step.


Because my cuts weren’t EXACTLY perfect, finding the middle might not be so easy. But, that’s ok, I had a plan. I took some old craft paint and put a drop on the screw of the table leg. I centered the leg in the collar and pressed the screw against the wood in the center of the collar. That’s where I’d need to drill a recess for the screw to slide into.


Voila, it worked.

Drilling the holes was easy. First measure the length of the screw, take that measurement and add an eighth of an inch more. Transfer that measurement to the drill bit. Mark it on the bit and then add a bit of painters tape to the bit. When you drill into the wood, watch for when the tape meets up with the wood. Perfect depth each time.


See? I have to drill the hole a little deeper here.

Using the miter saw again, I added the trim to the table so it was finished. Easy peasy.

Next was the attachment of the hinge. Pay close attention to how it opens and closes. otherwise once it’s on, if backwards, you’ll have to take it off. So, back to it. I laid the hinge along the back side of the table top and marked where to drill my holes for the screws. Then I measured the wall. The legs were 28 inches tall and the table top is 3/4 of an inch thick, so from the floor up, I measured 28.75 inches. That’s where the edge of the hinge needed to be. Next was the first tricky part. This table top was 33 inches long (32 inches long plus the two trim pieces that were each a half inch thick) and the space was 34 inches before anything would scrap against anything else). I measured and remeasured, and found the “sweet spot” that would allow free motion of the table without hitting the knobs to the craft cabinet or the seating/sleeping area to the other side. I held the hinge up in place with some painters tape. Then I drilled the holes to make the actual hanging of the hinge easier later. I pulled down the hinge from the wall, removing the tape. From here I screwed the hinge to the underside of the table after running a thin bead of silicone adhesive along where the two would meet. In my head, anyway, this was going to help to make a more secure bond that wouldn’t let water to seep in between the wood and hinge into the drilled hole. Even if it’s just in my own head, it made me feel better.  Last was the second tricky part, screwing the remaining side of the hinge to the wall. I had to sit on the floor and balance the table on my head line up the hinge to the pre drilled holes on the wall with one hand and drill the screws in place with the other. It was an exercise in balance and patience, but, I did it. I also employed the bead of silicone adhesive technique I used before. Once the kajillion screws were set it was obvious that this thing is never going to fall. It’s very secure. I allowed the table top to hang in it’s closed position for a little bit while I cleaned up the mess I’d made. Put tools away and such. By then, and because it was hot out, I knew the silicone would be dry. So I tested out the function of the table. The legs slide into their collars and the screws into the recesses perfectly. It’s stable and solid when in use and stores flat against the wall because of the hinge. The legs fit nicely into a little niche I have beside my craft cabinet next to the roll of craft paper that I have.

Here it is up:


And here it is down:


So, there ya have it. I will edit this later with a nicer show of the table.

Until later,


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