How to Make Your Own DIY Water Table


I've been wanting to make a water table for the girls for a while now - they both love the water, but whenever I get out the kiddie pool I have to watch Lucy like a hawk. She's definitely full-on toddler right now, and toddle she does. She loves to stand up in the pool and climb in and out and I'm paranoid that she's going to fall and crack open her head or slip under the water. A water table seemed like the perfect solution for those hot days when splashing around is definitely needed, but I need to get a few things done, like watering the flowers or getting a project done outside. When I looked around online at the options for water tables, I couldn't find anything I really liked for the price - we're on a budget this summer, and, to be honest I'm not a huge fan of the plastic monstrosities. So when Glidden® paint asked me to partner with them on a project, I knew just what I wanted to do.

To keep the project as budget-friendly as possible, I headed over to the thrift store to see what I could find. After a bit of searching, I came across this end table that needed a little bit of love for $4.99, and the best part is, it was half-price day so I snagged it for a mere $2.50.

After I got it home I looked around the house to see if we had anything that I could use as a pan for the water. I found a couple of plastic options, but when I saw this white metal tray I thought it would look really nice and crossed my fingers that it was water-tight. Luckily it was and was a perfect fit for the end table. Now I'm not super-experienced when it comes to power tools, and Kev was busy with work for his grad class, so I called up my dad to help me out with inserting the tray into the table. Here's how we did it:

1. To center the tray, we measured in from the edges of the table.
2. After it was centered we traced around the tray's perimeter with a pencil.
3. Next we measured the width of the lip of the tray and measured in from the initial tracing we made.
4. To start our cut we drilled holes in the corners with a spade bit.
5. Next, we used a saber saw to cut along the lines that we measured.
6. After we had the entire rectangle cut out we inserted the tray into the opening. Luckily it was a perfect fit - thanks Dad! :)

Next I started in on an area where I'm much more comfortable - painting. First up: choosing a color for the project. One thing I really love about Glidden paint is that they don't have a billion different colors to sort through. Instead they have a simplified palette which makes it a lot less overwhelming to choose a color. I knew that I wanted a bright yellow, so I grabbed three of their most vibrant yellows - Glidden paint Dazzling DaffodilGlidden paint Spicy Banana Pepper, and Glidden paint Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I loved that the Spicy Banana Pepper and Extra Virgin Olive Oil swatches weren't quite a true yellow - they were a little more muddied and had more personality than the Dazzling Daffodil. I ended up choosing Extra Virgin Olive Oil because it was just a bit richer than the Spicy Banana Pepper. (And is it just me or is anyone else hungry now?)

I had an image saved of a dresser that had been painted with a chevron pattern on the front, and wanted to use that as inspiration. I thought it would help to freshen up the look of the very traditional end table and I liked the idea of bringing in a second color. I ended up using Glidden paint's White on White - nice and crisp and simple. I purchased both in exterior semi-gloss so that it would hold up to water and life outside on the patio.

After I selected my colors, here's how I went about applying the paint:

1. First Kevin sanded the entire piece for me with an orbital sander and got the details by hand.
2. I painted the face of the end table in White on White - two coats did the trick.
3. The rest of the piece was painted with the Extra Virgin Olive Oil - I absolutely love how the color turned out - it's exactly what I was picturing.
4. After the paint had time to dry, I used painter's tape to tape out my pattern. First I measured to find the halfway point of the white section and stretched a piece of tape horizontally across the white section of the table.
5. Next I measured 1.5 inch sections and placed the tape at an angle across the top section of the white part of the table.
6. Before applying the Extra Virgin Olive Oil paint I went over the edges of the tape in the White on White. That way if any paint bled under the tape it would be in the white rather than the yellow.
7. After the white had dried and sealed any places that could have bled, I applied the Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
8. I like to remove the tape while the paint is still a little tacky - I've had better results than if I wait until it's completely dry and cured. After everything in the top section was dry I repeated the same steps in the bottom section, but had the stripes slant in the opposite direction. This time the stripes that I painted yellow would be below the white stripes above.

After everything had a long time to dry and cure, I popped in the tray, filled it up with water, and threw in a bunch of our bath and pool toys. I absolutely love how it turned out and the girls are having a blast with it. Surprisingly Violet seems to like it even more than Lucy and keeps asking if she can keep it forever, because she, "Loves it soooo much!"

When the weather gets cooler we could fill the tray with sand, corn, or even dirt for the girls to dig around in, and after they've outgrown the table we could even fill it with dirt and use it as a planter for succulents. I'm hoping we'll be able to enjoy it in one form or another for a long time to come!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Glidden paint through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Glidden paint, all opinions are my own.


  1. It's beautiful and they really did love it. It's so nice to be outside and watch the kids having so much fun. Love them.

  2. This is a brilliant idea and the final result is amazing. I love it! And as I can see from the pictures your little lovely ones love it as well :) Wish you all happy summer.

  3. I love how this turned out! So funny because I painted my daughter's bedroom dresser and wardrobe in "Extra Virgin Olive Oil" a couple of years ago but gave the set to a friend when we moved. This post makes me want to go out and grab a quart and find something to paint with it :) Love that color!



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