Three Way Nesting Coffee Tables Building Plans

Friday, August 5, 2016 -
how to build three way modern nesting coffee table

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We've been in the "new" house for about 9 months now. I've changed my design style over the last couple years, so chose to take very few furniture pieces with me when we moved. One piece dear to my heart is my Industrial Coffee Table I built a while back. It's the project I learned to weld on and remains one of my favorite projects I've ever built. 


Times are a changing and the dark, industrial style no longer fit my living room. I talked to my husband and asked what he'd like to see in a replacement. We have a long, shallow living room and unless I took up half the space with one massive unit, it's hard to actually use a coffee table in the space. A normal coffee table is purely decorative and looks a bit small in the space. I decided a set of nesting tables would be the perfect solution. We can pull the smaller tables out and use them anywhere we want, and when we're done, I can push them back in place and we don't have table-zilla taking over the place.

I've been dreaming of a marble top coffee table and found *heavy duty contact paper which is actually made to cover countertops with, and which comes in 36" widths. Check out the process below!

Materials List:

Cut List:
  • (1) 3/4" plywood @ 32" x 46-1/4"
  • (3) 3/4" plywood @ 14" x 28"
  • (2) 1 x 2 @ 46-1/4" - long point to long point, mitered both ends (Measure plywood first to confirm!)
  • (2) 1 x 2 @ 32" - long point to long point, mitered both ends (Measure plywood first to confirm!)
  • (2) 1 x 2 @ 28" - long point to long point, mitered both ends (Measure plywood first to confirm!)
  • (2) 1 x 2 @ 14" - long point to long point, mitered both ends (Measure plywood first to confirm!)
  • (4) 2 x 2 @ 18"
  • (7) 2 x 2 @ 28-1/2"
  • (4) 2 x 2 @ 12-3/4"
  • (12) 2 x 2 @ 14-3/4"
  • (12) 2 x 2 @ 10-1/2"
  • (12) 2 x 2 @ 24-1/2"

1. The first step is to cut your lumber to length. I recommend cutting your plywood sheets down to size, then using those exact measurements to cut the length of your 1 x 2's.
2. Next, start assembling the large table. Connect a 28-1/2" rail flush with the top and bottom of two legs, creating a rectangle. Drill 1-1/2" pocket holes and use 2-1/2" screws and wood glue to join the pieces together. 

3. Attach the rectangular sections together, using two more 28-1/2" rails, pocket holes and glue. 

4. Join another 28-1/2" rail flush with the top of two more 18" legs, creating an end piece.

5. Attach the end piece to the frame, using 12-3/4" rails, flush along the top and bottom edges of the legs. At this point, the basic frame is built. I would suggest you finish the frame at this point (stain, paint, etc.) before moving to the next step.

6. If you want your faux marble table tops to look thick and luxurious, flip the plywood panels over on their face. Place the 1 x 2 frame around the perimeter and make sure the edges are perfectly flush with the plywood. Secure in place with wood glue and 1-1/4" finish nails or brads. If you can't hold the frame in place perfectly, you might want to use a couple of clamps to give you an extra hand. 

Once the glue is dry, sand the entire top, trying to make it as seamless as possible. 

7. The last step of building the large table is to attach the top. If you are going to wrap your top in vinyl, like I did, you will want to do that first. I originally got the idea to use contact paper or self adhesive vinyl from I Heart Organizing. Since I wanted to wrap the edges, like a countertop, I followed the installation video from the manufacture. You can check it out below.

Once your top is finished, flip it over on your work surface and align your frame so there is a 1/4" clearance on all sides. Pre-drill and countersink 12 holes on the underside, around the perimeter of the frame. Secure the top in place with 2-1/2" wood screws.

8. Now to build the small tables. Start by connecting pairs of legs together with two 10-1/2" rails flush with the top and bottom edges.

9. Connect two sections together with four, 24-1/2" rails flush with each corner. 

10. Add 1 x 2 trim to the bottom of the remaining plywood tops and cover or finish as desired. Flip each top over on it's face and align each frame with 1/4" overhang on all sides. Pre-drill, countersink, and secure with 2-1/2" screws. 

That's it! You can place your pretty new tables and impress your guests. 

Here's what the main table looks like without all it's babies.

I have mine stacked front to back in the long section, but they would fit the other way too.

The faux marble pattern is VERY subtle. Even in real life, it is difficult to see unless you are right above it. I'm thrilled there are no seams though. I wish I found a 36" wide vinyl with a stronger marble pattern

My family love that they can pull a small table over where they need it. 

modern wood faux marble DIY three way nesting coffee table

Ready to build your own? Pin the image below and save the idea for later!

DIY modern three way nesting coffee table building plans

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  1. Great job, these are gorgeous. Who would've thought that was contact paper!

  2. Love, Love all you do! Went to order Proline universal colorant and it is discontinued???????????? Linda Cape Coral Fl

  3. Love, Love all you do. Went to order Proline universal colorant and was told it is discontinued???????? What is a substitute

    1. Thank you so much Linda! A great alternative is Transtint. Its a universal dye that can be mixed into almost anything. Here's an affiliate link:


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