A scrap of stone makes an unexpected and original tabletop.

How to Make a Table Top With Pieces of Marble or Stone

by Benna Crawford

Create a durable table for your terrace, kitchen, living or dining room from pieces of stone. The surface can take a lot of abuse, although it may stain over time, and the character of stone varies enough to work with most decor styles. Slate and bluestone are clean, casual and modern. Granite and limestone complement Mid-Century decor. Marble is elegant enough for your Louis XV chairs or your Art Deco sofa.

1. Transformed Tabletop

Remake a patio table that has seen better days into a stone marvel that outlasts your patio. Remove a split and warped wood inlay or a broken glass slab from a wrought-iron outdoor table. If the subsurface is in good shape, build your mosaic on it. Do not forget to include the hole for a market umbrella if your table has one. Trace the outline of the top on craft paper and arrange the pieces of marble and other stones in a formal or random design. Transfer the mosaic to the tabletop, starting from the center and working out, spreading a thin layer of mortar on each area as you get to it. Once the tabletop is set, grout and apply a protective finish.

2. Found and Fabulous

Stone quarries are great hunting grounds for your next dining or coffee table. So are renovation and construction sites and curbside trash, on occasion. Keep a sharp lookout for marble panels, kitchen island tops and even old tabletops discarded from home redesign projects. Check architectural salvage depots for large pieces of stone you can repurpose into a table. Visit a quarry where stonecutters may have leftover slabs from a large order or interesting odd cuts of stone -- the cost will be lower at a quarry and most can trim or cut a piece to order fairly inexpensively. Be inventive about the base, but be sure it can bear the weight of the stone. A strong wrought-iron planter or table base, brushed stainless sawhorses, a vintage industrial wood dolly on cast iron wheels -- the possibilities for a low or dining- or desk-height base are only limited by your imagination. Head to your home improvement store to find the appropriate adhesive to join stone and base.

3. Garden Bench Upgrade

A concrete, metal or sturdy wood garden bench is tough enough to support a fitted stone paver or mosaic top and move inside to a foyer or family room. Preserve the weathered look of the outdoor piece or spruce it up with new stain, paint or a good cleaning. Check the top with a carpenter's level to see if it needs sanding or filling-in to create a stable base for a new stone surface. Fit very thin stone pavers together, cementing them to the bench and grouting slabs together. Or piece together scraps of stone -- cut and smoothed quartz, marble and granite chips, lapis or other colored gemstones -- into a design before fixing them in mortar or grout. Once the top is thoroughly dry, apply several coats of a clear glossy or matte sealer to protect your new coffee or hall table.

4. Cheap Luxe

Marble baker's slabs are small, smooth-cut bakers' and candy makers' kitchen aids that stay cool while you are working with dough or melted chocolate. They can be pricey, so beg for a seldom-used one, grab one at a thrift store, or haunt home stores for sales, and incorporate a marble slab into a do-it-yourself wooden worktable for the kitchen. Also cost-effective, a tile store or countertop manufacturer may have remnants from large orders or custom counter jobs that you can pick up free or for a few dollars. Some may even cut them for you. Cover an old butcher-block kitchen table or a sturdy wrought-iron plant stand with a marble remnant for a work surface or tiny bistro table that will make you the top pastry chef and confectioner in the neighborhood.

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