Coffin Table

Coffin Table

Photography: William Abranowicz

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October Fall 2000


  • Plywood

  • Jigsaw

  • Black fabric

  • Hot glue gun

  • Grosgrain ribbon

  • Pencil


  1. Find a crate, small table, or stack of books to use as a base to support the coffin (the base will not show). Using the grid method (instructions below), enlarge the coffin template so the lid will be larger than the base. Cut out the template, and trace onto a scrap of plywood. Use a jigsaw to cut out the coffin lid.

  2. Stretch a double layer of black fabric over the top of the lid, and staple it to the underside. Next, take measurements for the coffin skirt: Measure the perimeter of the coffin lid, and add 24 inches; measure the height from coffin lid to floor, and add 1 inch. Cut black fabric to these dimensions. Stitch a 1/2-inch hem along one of the long sides of the fabric.

  3. Starting 2 inches in from a corner, staple the unhemmed long side of the fabric to the side of the coffin lid. Right after you turn each corner in the lid, make a 2-inch box pleat.

  4. Hot-glue a 1-inch-wide grosgrain ribbon around the edge of the coffin to cover the staples and raw edge of fabric.

  5. When templates like the ones here require enlargement beyond the capabilities of a photocopier, use the grid method. First, decide on the size of your finished product. Next, draw a grid that size, proportionate to the grid on the original template, with the same number of squares. Finally, with a pencil, draw what you see in each square of the original template onto the corresponding squares of the enlarged template.


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