How to make a Moroccan coffee table
You will need...
Vintage window frame
- Paint, stain, or varnish (optional)
- Wood for legs
- Circular saw
- Corner bracket angles to attach legs
- Electric drill
- Wood screws
- Table leg levelers/feet (optional)
- Glass tabletop, cut to size (optional)
- ½-inch x ¾-inch wood strips (optional)
Window frames can be easily converted into tables, and those with decorative metal grilles are particularly appropriate. Most Moroccan window frames have been repainted several times throughout the years, and the underlying colors show through from chips and scratches, adding a nice texture to the piece.
Moroccan windows come in many sizes, but they are rarely large enough to make into a dining table; dining tables are best made from an old door. (The steps are similar to those for creating a window coffee table.)
If necessary, sand the window frame and either stain or paint it. You can choose to simply leave it as is, too. Clean the surface before moving on.
Consider the dimensions of the window frame when sizing the legs. They should not be too spindly or too beefy—proportion is the key. Most legs are well proportioned at 3 inches (7.5 cm) square, but use your judgment and taste. The wood you use should be similar to the wood in the frame, unless the window is painted, in which case you may choose to paint the legs to match. The height of the table must be considered; 18 to 22 inches (46 to 56 cm is fairly standard, but measure other tables to get the exact height you desire. Remember to consider the table leg levelers (see step 3) when cutting the length of wood for the legs with a circular saw. Sand and bevel the bottom of the wood legs slightly to give them a more finished appearance.
Fasten the legs to the window frame with the metal brackets. Follow the instructions on the package for installation. It is best to drill pilot holes in the wood so the screws do not split it. The pilot hole should be 1/32 to 1/16 inch (1 to 2 mm) smaller than the screw diameter and is necessary if using a hard wood versus a soft wood, such as pine.
If using, fasten the leg levelers/feet. Adjustable leg levelers/feet may be purchased at most hardware stores and help to balance the table on uneven surfaces (or, if you accidentally make one of the legs slightly shorter than the others). Attach per instructions on the package.
If you want an inset glass tabletop, it will need to sit on a lip or edge support. Cut thin strips of wood approximately ¾ inch (1.9 cm) tall and ½ inch (1.3 cm) wide. Fasten them with screws below the top edge of the window frame, so that they can support the glass. These strips of wood can be painted or varnished to complement the window frame.
Place the glass on top of the table. Give it a final wipe-down and place the table in the location of your choice.
Note: the tabletop glass should be ¼ inch to 5/16 inches (6 to 8 mm) thick, depending on the sizes of the window frame. (Consult with a glass supplier for a recommendation on thickness.) Measure the size carefully, as glass cannot be shaved like wood, and vintage window frames are often slightly out of square. You might consider making a template out of cardboard or kraft paper to bring to the glass supplier. Have the glass edges polished and, for a sophisticated touch, beveled.
Excerpted from Marrakesh by Design by Maryam Montague (Artisan Books, £20).