The DIY Changing Table
A dresser that can grow with your child, Plenty of space, and materials you can trust.
The goal of this project was to create a changing table top that would fit over the top of an existing dresser. We wanted this so that the top would be secure and look like a nice piece of furniture rather than just something sitting on top. By building this ourselves we could also know that the wood was formaldehyde free, and could use a dresser that would grow with our child.
We started by measuring our dresser top, we then cut a pine board into two lengths the same as the width of our dresser.
We cut pocket holes into the two boards for the base to join them into one large piece, this could be done with biscuits, tongue & groove, or just use one big board if available. The boards were glued on the joining edge and clamped, before being screwed together with the pocket screws.
Sides & Details
The front and back pieces were cat from 6" and 8" pine boards respectively. the boards were the same length as the width of the dresser so that the ends were flush with the base. The back had a free hand simi-arch drawn and cutout with a jigsaw then sanded smooth. Pocket holes were then drilled on the back side of each piece.
With the glue dried on the joint and the pocket hole filler plugs glued in place, the base was cut to size by ripping it lengthwise so that the width matched the dresser top. This was done after being glued together, so that there was more surface area for the rip jig on the circular saw. (could also have been done with a table saw)
The side panels were cut to length, allowing for the front and rear panel width. This way, the side panel ends would be flush with the face of the front and rear panels.
More Pocket Holes.......
Did we mention we like this jig? Pocket holes were drilled around the perimeter of the bottom panel, in the bottom face ( the side that already has the pocket holes from joining ), these holes will be used to secure the base with the sides.
The bottom of the base with pocket holes, ready to attach the sides.
The sides and back were joined together first, this made the screws on the back side of the front panel easier to access and allowed the panels to be pre-aligned. The back was aligned with the base and attached, allowing for a 1" overhang on the bottom. The overhang here depends on the thickness of the dresser top and will be what locks the table into place.
The front and sides were aligned with the rear panel, before the table was carefully flipped, the overhang was checked all the way around, and the pocket screws were inserted to hold everything together while the glue dried.
Note: the pocket holes on the back face the rear, and the pocket holes on the front face the inside. This prevents any of the faster locations from being visible when installed.
After the glue dried, a 1/4" roundover bit was used in the hand router to round all the exposed edges.
Inside front corner.
Here you can see the Inside of the front panel corner after rounding. The pocket holes were filled with pocket hole plugs and sanded smooth.
The table was test fit onto the dresser top. The table slides over the existing top with around a 1/16" left exposed to step the top down to the dresser.
After the fit was checked, the table was wiped with a Pre-stain to prepare the pine for stain and had any small gaps filled with wood filler. The table was then sanded with a 120grit paper followed by a 220 grit finish sand. With the top as smooth as the baby's butt that would be on it, a water-based simi-transparent stain was applied and allowed to dry.
The Table has turned out to be a wonderful size for all the things we need on hand, and keeps us worry free about what chemicals could be present in the nursery furniture. When the table is no longer needed it can simply be lifted off with no harm to the dresser.
Now we just need to figure out a use for this wonderful Table top once it is outgrown... You didn't think we were going to throw it away after all that did you?