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5 Easy Furniture Pieces You Can Make with Hairpin Legs

Updated: Apr. 21, 2020

Use hairpin legs to turn all kinds of ordinary objects into fun, funky furniture.

desk with hairpin legs
A hallmark of the mid-century modern style, hairpin legs are durable, trendy and readily available for purchase at a number of online retailers. Find out how to build one of these five simple projects that require just a few materials and even fewer hours of your time.

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Build a simple desk

desk with hairpin legs

DIYing a desk doesn’t need to be an intermediate project. If a simple writing desk will do, this table shown can be assembled by any beginner in just an afternoon. First, you’ll need to select your legs—a great resource is, which offers a variety of styles and sizes. Hairpin legs typically comprise 2 or 3 rods per leg, with 3 usually being used for larger items like desks or dining tables for extra stability. Since the standard height for a desk is on average 28″-30″, choose your leg size accordingly, but remember—this project can be completely customized to your own specifications. A sheet of plywood cut to size makes for an easy tabletop, and can be finished with a stain. Just mask the raw edges of the plywood with an iron-on veneer in a coordinating material (more on that here).

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Create an Entryway Bench

bench with hairpin legs

There’s no more stylish project utilizing hairpin legs than an upholstered bench like the one pictured, using a set of 16″ hairpin legs. To get the look of the one shown, courtesy of Carrie from Thirty Eighth Street, cut down a piece of plywood to your preferred size and attach a piece of 4″ high-density foam with a spray adhesive. Wrap a piece of batting around the whole thing, stapling it to the bottom of the plywood loosely on all four sides. When you’re ready to attach the fabric—upholstery fabric is best for a project like this, for its durability—make sure the pattern is lined up exactly where you want it to be before wrapping it around the seat and stapling it underneath. Finally, mark off a spot for each of the hairpin legs, ensuring they are the same amount of space away from the edges on each corner, before securing them with screws.

For more upholstery tips, click here.

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Give Plants a Spot to Perch

planter with hairpin legs

Stacy from Not Just a Housewife made this organic planter simply from an old tree stump and a small set of hairpin legs. If you can get your hands on a similar piece of wood (be sure to check Craigslist; often you can find similar lumber listed for free if you can haul it away), you’ll need a drill, chisel and jigsaw to hollow it out. Stacey started by cutting a circle around the perimeter with a jigsaw. She used a bore bit to cut out small sections of the stump slowly, and a chisel to expel any remaining pieces manually.

When the opening of the planter was six inches deep, she sealed the inside with an exterior-grade urethane finish to prevent rot and drilled a drainage hole to prevent water from pooling inside. Three hairpin legs lift it off the ground.

Want more out-of-the-box outdoor planter ideas? Flip through our gallery for more outdoor spring projects.

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Use Salvaged Materials to Make a Coffee Table

DIY coffee table with salvaged door and hairpin legs

Continuing the trend of using reclaimed materials, bloggers Kim and Andrew of Farmhouse Made used an old shutter to serve as a surface for their DIY coffee table. All this project requires is cleaning up the wood, removing the hardware if you wish, then attaching the hairpin legs underneath. You could also use an old door, cut down to size, instead.

If you suspect your reclaimed materials are older than 1978, they may have been painted with lead paint. Read this complete guide on dealing with lead paint before you begin to work with it.

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Repurpose a Wine Crate into a Nightstand

DIY wine crate nightstand with hairpin legs

The oversized hairpin legs and papered back of this nightstand by Claire of Pillar Box Blue is fresh, funky, and budget-friendly. To build this piece, Claire simply used the lid of a wine crate to make two shelves for her son’s books, tablet and other belongings. The top shelf simply sits atop 4 screws driven halfway in to the interior sides of the crate; the bottom “lip” is secured by the front set of hairpin legs.

A dark wax gives the crate some age, but you could also use stain; just seal it to protect it from water spills. To add a punch of color and pattern, line the back of the crate with wallpaper or even scraps of fabric. Use a spray adhesive to secure them, and smooth out any air bubbles as you go with a credit card.

Ready for a next-level DIY furniture project? Try these three projects on for size.

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