How to Make a Butterfly Leaf Table

Written by corey morris
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How to Make a Butterfly Leaf Table
A butterfly leaf table can compact in size to save space. (table of dessert pie on white table image by Paul Retherford from

Constructing a butterfly leaf table is an option to consider if there is limited space available in a dining area. Sometimes storing a large table is difficult. Instead, a butterfly table allows for an extension of a smaller table. Creating your own butterfly folding dining table only takes a few materials and you can complete it in a couple of hours.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 8-by-4-foot plywood
  • 2 6-foot 4-by-4-inch boards
  • 8 6-foot 2-by-10-inch boards
  • Measuring tape
  • Table saw
  • Sander
  • Wood stain or sealer
  • Hinges
  • Drill
  • 1-inch wood screws
  • 2-inch wood screws

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  1. 1

    Draw 1-foot parallel lines from each 4-foot side of the 8-by-4-foot plywood board. This creates three 4-foot by 1-foot rectangles for the folding leaves of the table. Cut the board into the three sections.

  2. 2

    Cut the 6-foot long 4-by-4-inch boards in half to create four 3-foot-long sections. Cut the eight 2-by-10-inch boards into 4-foot-long sections. Cut two of the 2-by-10-inch boards into sections measuring 3 feet by 9 inches.

  3. 3

    Take two of the remaining 2-inch by 10-inch boards and cut two 4-foot by 6-inch sections off for creating the frame that will hold the leaves up in place. Lay out two more sections of the 2-inch by 10-inch boards for the removable sections that hold the leaves up.

  4. 4

    Sand the boards down until smooth, apply a coat of sealer or wood stain and allow about two hours for drying. Lay the plywood sections on a surface so they are all together like the original piece. Place hinges over each cut edge. Screw in the hinges with 1-inch screws so they are 6 inches from the edge of each cut.

  5. 5

    Make a square frame using the cut 2-by-10-inch boards. Put the shorter sections in between the 4-foot sections to make a square. Drive two 2-inch wood screws through each end of the longer sections so they connect to the shorter pieces. Place the plywood over the frame so the hinges face the floor. Turn the table over.

  6. 6

    Attach four of the 3-foot by 4-by-4-inch sections on each of the inside corners of the table. These will be the table legs. Drive two screws into the frame and screw into each side of the frame where the leg touches.

  7. 7

    Screw the cut 4-foot by 6-inch sections of 2-by-10-inch boards onto the bottom of the frame so it fits against the legs. Make sure the wider edges of the boards are against the frame and they all are centred. Use 2-inch screws on each board so they are fastened to the frame. Turn the table over so the legs are firmly on the ground. Use a level to make sure the table sets on the floor evenly.

Tips and warnings

  • Always use safety glasses and earplugs when using power tools and cutting wood

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