Add solar lights to this simple patio side table build and create a gentle glow on your patio for those warm, summer nights.
This project didn’t turn out quite how I’d envisioned.
I wanted to make a small side table for the patio with an opaque plexiglass top and a warm overall glow coming out from the top and sides.
But I broke the plexiglass. I broke 3 sheets actually. 🤦🏻♀️ So I had to improvise…
I rifled through my wood pile and decided that I would work with 1″x2″ lumber to make a slatted side table.
Then, much like kids building cabins out of popsicle sticks, I layered the pieces alternating sides back and forth.
Now, if you want to do this the easy way, sand each board and paint/stain it BEFORE assembly. If you want to do it MY way – wait until your paint sprayer breaks, build the whole thing and hand paint every. single. individual. slot. Yes, one or two curse words were used.
I used outdoor appropriate wood glue and 1″ brad nails to hold each board in place.
Then stack ’em up like Jenga!
To fit where I wanted my patio side table to go I needed it to be about 13″ wide, 18″ deep, and 24″ tall.
This amounted to 32 boards at 13″ long, and 32 at 18″ long.
To cap it off and give a base for a slatted top (since I had no more plexiglass left) I cut (2) pieces at 10″ and created a level top.
This was the point where I brought out my paint sprayer and found that it didn’t work anymore.
Every single nook and cranny on this patio side table by hand. UGH!
But I did it – inside and out.
At this point I added the slatted top. I used a paint stick to space the boards to let water drain through and light shine out.
Once that was done and painted, I threaded a string of LED solar lights through one of the slats on the back of the patio side table. I attached the solar box with a small piece of copper strapping.
By threading the lights through one of the openings (instead of just running it under the bottom) they won’t break and the wire fray as the table gets moved around on the patio stones. Everything is tucked away neatly.
From the back you see the small solar box, but nothing else.
I ran the little solar lights up and down each side of the patio side table, tacking a nail at the top and bottom to wrap them around in a zig zag pattern.
They really aren’t noticeable during the day, but at night….
Not enough to light the space, but just enough to give a bit of sparkle.
In hindsight, which is 20-20, I would have ordered warm white lights instead of the LED. The LED are brighter and more energy efficient, but a warm white would have a softer glow and would look so pretty with candles on the top of the patio side table.
I may have to restring this.
Again, I wasn’t really going for the pinpoints of light look – I wanted a general overall glow to emanate from my little table – so a solar lantern might be a better option? I’m not sure.
For now my glowing side table serves it’s purpose in providing a place for plants, candles, or drinks.
I will suggest, if you decide to build this, that you make at least 2. The one-off on my patio looks a bit odd.
Regardless of the tweaks and changes I want to make to my glowing patio side table, it was a very simple build and I was able to use up leftover wood from other projects (ripped down to 1″x2″ size) and leftover stain from my fence, so I came out ahead with a functional piece of furniture with a $0 price tag!
Have a great one!