When it becomes a bit of a squeeze in your living room, these four fun tables that fit neatly one inside the other are just the ticket. The tables can be made from one sheet of furniture-grade or marine plywood, which are strong and stable. The whole project will cost about $120, plus paint, and can be finished in a weekend.
Gather your supplies
Large sides (2) 397 x 482 x 18mm
Large shelf 397 x 464 x 18mm
Large top 397 x 500 x 18mm
Medium sides (2) 397 x 391 x 18mm
Medium shelf 397 x 420 x 18mm
Medium top 397 x 456 x 18mm
Small sides (2) 397 x 300 x 18mm
Small shelf 397 x 376 x 18mm
Small top 397 x 412 x 18mm
Baby sides (2) 397 x 209 x 18mm
Baby top 397 x 368 x 18mm
All panels can be either furniture-grade or marine plywood:
- Step 1: Cut all plywood pieces to size. The 397mm depth means you can cut 1200mm sheets into 3 strips to allow for the 3mm you lose when cutting with a saw. To cut accurately, measure distance between blade and edge of saw base, then subtract this from measurement you are cutting. Set up a straightedge on wanted side to make cuts. As you cut each piece, mark which part it is and which is the top, as it’s easy to mix them up.
- Step 2: As it’s hard to make butt joints look great, you can highlight them by using a shadow line, which is a trick often used in joinery. To do this, set a trimmer or router to cut a 3 x 3mm rebate all the way around underside of each tabletop. When sides are joined to tops, you will be left with a 3 x 3mm groove between pieces, which looks like it is meant to be there. Sand edges of routed rebates so they’re smooth.
- Step 3: Mark position of shelves on large, medium and small sides, measuring 48mm and 66mm up from bottom. Square lines across sides. Predrill three 5mm clearance holes between lines, then countersink on outside of sides so screw heads will finish below surface.
- Step 4: Apply glue to 1 edge of large shelf, then screw 1 large side to shelf. Using a combination square or try square, check that joint will be a right angle.
- Step 5: Glue and screw other large side to shelf. Predrill 3 clearance holes along sides of each top, 9mm in from edge. Then glue and screw on large top. The shadow line will now be quite evident.
- Step 6: Build other tables. Fill all screw holes with wood filler. Sand when dry.
- Step 7: As all colours we used, except Immortal, were Dulux Weathershield ChromaMax, plywood needed to be sealed with primer, sealer and undercoat before painting. Seal tables, if necessary, then paint in colours of your choice. When dry, wax surface of tables with high-quality carnauba wax to further bring out colours and help prevent painted surfaces from binding when tables are stacked together. Fix small rubber bumpers to underside of tables so you cause less damage when sliding tables out from each other.
You’ll also need
Trimmer or router; primer, sealer and undercoat; exterior acrylic paint in colours of your choice – we used Dulux Weathershield in Sulphur (yellow), Hot Lips (red), Immortal (mauve) and Carona (orange); carnauba wax; small self-adhesive clear rubber bumpers