The DIY Tiled Chubby Table (using DIY Coloured Grout) - it's finally here! If you've been following along over on Instagram then you'll know I have been busy working on two DIY Chubby Tables using MDF sheets and PVC pipes! We really need two side tables in our living room and so I thought, why buy when I can DIY? I've been sharing the entire process over on Instagram, so make sure you join me and check out my "Chubby Tables" Instagram Highlight. Everyone has been so helpful and generous with their advice, votes, tips and opinions as I choose finishes, positioning, edges, paint colours and grout colours - it's been a lot of fun!
So, what is a chubby table? It's a table with chubby cylinder legs. It's design has roots from the 1940s, and made a reappearance in the 1970s, and again more recently in 2015 and again in 2018, and here we are today. The chubby leg tables are everywhere now - side tables, desks, coffee tables and the like. You'll see dining tables with one huge chubby leg in the middle at furniture shops, coffee tables with four chubby legs all over Instagram, and side tables with two chubby legs in design magazines. The tabletop for the most part is fairly slimline, which adds drama and juxtaposition of the chubby legs.
I have to admit this is a project I have been wanting to do for so long and I have been figuring out the process in my mind for months. The problem solving aspect is one of the biggest reasons why I love DIY home projects; coming up with creative ways to make something from scratch, or to transform something old into new, continues to inspire me. For this project I drew inspiration from this side table a friend posted to Instagram, and then I set out to make my own version.
Figuring out how to make my own version of this table was a lot of fun! My DIY Tiled Chubby Side Table has 4 wide PVC pipes for the legs, and a racetrack tabletop, which I cutfrom a sheet of MDF using a jigsaw. I didn't stop thinking about finishes for this table and have been feeling really inspired by tiled console tables over the last few months. I've been seeing them everywhere for a long while - tables, consoles, cubes, side tables but I am yet to find a side table with curved legs that have been tiled. I've been giving the curves of the PVC pipes a lot of thought and consideration, and since I have already used small square tiles for another DIY home decor project (Dusty's Ikea Kids Kitchen Makeover way back in March last year), I decided to tile the PVC pipe legs. Crazy I know!
Using sheets of vertical finger tiles would be the most simplest way to apply tiles to the curved PVC pipes. And then I got thinking about taking this DIY a little further by using coloured grout. What began was a big researching session online, and while I found a few options, I couldn't commit because I wanted to "try before I buy" and I couldn't find the colour I was looking for. Then a lovely follower on Instagram said her dad was a tiler and that I could mix acrylic paint into white grout to make coloured grout. And here we are! Read on to find out how I made my very own DIY Tiled Chubby Side Table using DIY Coloured Grout. You can also watch this How To video I created, which documents the build from start to finish.
1. As mentioned above, cut four wide PVC pipes to size. I got the PVC pipes from Bunnings and they cut them to size for me. The tallest I wanted the Chubby Table was was 50cm. They will most definitely not be cut accurately across all of the pieces, so you could consider sanding the top of the PVC pipes down until they are even in height. If you want to cut the PVC pipes yourself, use a pencil to mark out a straight line across the pipe and use a handheld hacksaw.
2. Using a measuring tape, pencil and string, measure and draw the semi-circles at the top and bottom of the MDF sheet. Refer to my Instagram Highlights so you can see how this is done.
3. Cut the MDF sheet using a jigsaw and smooth the edges with an electric hand sander. Pictured below is me cutting an MDF sheet for my DIY Wavy Chubby Table. But it's exactly the same method (I just forgot to take a photo while I was jigsawing the MDF sheet for this tabletop).
4. Paint the wavy tabletop (both sides) with 1 thick coat of white paint using a paint brush. Set aside to dry. Paint the tabletop and sides with the Dulux Medium Texture Exterior Paint with a paint brush. Create texture by using the blue polished side of the Microfibre Polishing Tiling Sponge. If you use a regular sponge, it will only compact the textured paint and you won't get that lovely minimalist stucco texture, which is really important. Set aside to dry.
5. Dot tile adhesive all over the back of one tile sheet with an old spoon or butter knife. Place it onto the PVC pipe, position into place and hold firmly for a few seconds with you hands. Repeat until the entire PVC pipe is covered with tiles. You will most likely need to cut the tile sheets to size. Stand the PVC pipe upright and set aside to dry for 24 hours. Repeat with the remaining 3 PVC pipes.
6. Make your DIY Coloured Grout - here is my tutorial for this. I used approximately 3 to 5 tablespoons of acrylic paint to the tub of Davco Easy Grout in Bright White from Bunnings. Start with 1 tablespoon, mix thoroughly and keep adding slowly. Don't put too much paint in the grout or it may affect the drying time and the stability of the grout.
7. Put latex gloves and apply the grout across the tiles in a diagonal direction. This helps push the grout in between the tiles. Cover one leg with grout, let it rest for 10 minutes then wipe off any excess grout using a damp tiling sponge. It's ok if there is a bit go grout on the tiles as this will come off. Repeat with the other 3 PVC pips. Let them dry for one hour, then wipe off any excess grout using the damp tiling sponge. If you have any big chunks of grout that has dried on the tiles, you can use the flat part of the tiling scraper to pick/push it off.
8. Position the legs underneath the tabletop then mark the underside of the tabletop using a pencil. Turn your tabletop upside down and place it on a table (so the underside is facing up and you can see the marks for the placement of the PVC pipes). One at a time, squeeze the glue directly onto the underside of the table (where you marked out the positioning of the PVC pipes) and also glue the top edge of the PVC pipes. Firmly position the PVC pipes on top and apply a bit of pressure using your hands for a few second. Leave it to dry for at least 24 hours. Do not be tempted to move the table before then! Carefully turn the table over and voila!
I absolutely loved working on this project. You can also watch this How To video I created, which documents the build from start to finish. There's nothing better than making a piece of furniture from scratch using creativity and a little elbow grease. I am obsessed with the subtle texture of the tabletop and how much it compliments the curved tiled and pink grout. I love that the pink grout has given our minimalist living space a fun and bright pop of colour that also compliments the original art by Stan Piechaczek, which we bought as a house warming gift to ourselves. Ahhh the time before we had kids and lots of disposable income lol.
All photos of the finished DIY Tiled Chubby Table are by Aimee Dodge.