Black Penny Tile Coffee Table

A tutorial by



Tape measure
Circular saw
Orbital sander
  • 3 – Hairpin Legs, in desired height and finish (we spray-painted 16" raw steel)
  • 3/4" Plywood
  • Penny tiles
  • Screw and string
  • Pencil
  • Drill/driver
  • Jigsaw
  • Orbital sander and sanding disc (we used 100-grit)
  • Construction adhesive and caulk gun (or thin-set)
  • Grout float
  • Utility knife
  • Acetone
  • Angle grinder and discs (we used a masonry abrasive disc)
  • Thin-gauge sheet metal
  • Straightedge
  • Sandpaper
  • Metal spray paint
  • Ratchet strap
  • Grout (we went with Fusion Pro grout in charcoal) and grouting supplies
  • Screws
  • Safety gear such as eye protection, a mask/respirator and gloves

Mike Montgomery

I create DIY tutorials for furniture and home improvement projects on Modern Builds. My goal is to show people that they can do more than they think, all the way from giving them the motivation and resources to build their first coffee table, or remodel their ugly bathroom themselves. 

Building and making is becoming less and less of an exclusive hobby / profession. My goal is to reduce that separation even further.
We used all-black components for this DIY coffee table—black tiles, black grout, and black hairpin legs! This all-black look is sleek, but the design would look great in many different colors and variations.
semi exact

Step 1:
Cut the plywood base

Use a screw and string to mark out a 30-inch diameter circle on your plywood. Drill a pilot hole inside the circle, and insert your jigsaw blade. Follow the line carefully, then sand the plywood with an orbital sander.

semi exact

Step 2:
Add your tile

Begin by adhering your first sheet of penny tile to the center of your plywood base. Add a small dab of adhesive (or thin-set) to each tile back, flip the sheet over, and use a grout float to apply even pressure. Repeat with each tile sheet until the base is covered. Clean any adhesive from the front of the tiles with acetone.

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Step 3:
Cut overhanging tiles

Use a utility knife to cut away any tiles that extend over the edge of your plywood base. If there are tiles just barely overhanging, you can trim those flush with an angle grinder and a masonry abrasive disc.

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Step 4:
Add metal edge banding

Use a straightedge, utility knife, and angle grinder to cut strips of sheet metal that measure one and a quarter inches wide. Sand the edges, and spray paint. When dry, wrap the strips around the base edge, and secure with a ratchet strap.

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Step 5:
Grout the tile

Apply the grout with a grout float, following the product instructions. Alternate the directions that you’re pulling to make sure you get into all the cracks as you blend the grout across the tabletop.

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Step 6:
Clean up the grout

Wipe the top of the tiles with a sponge that's wet, but not dripping. With penny tile, a circular motion works great. Use light pressure and constantly clean your sponge so that you're removing as much excess grout as possible. Wipe away the haze (or let dry), as directed.

semi exact

Step 7:
Attach the hairpin legs

When dry, turn your tabletop over, and position your hairpin legs. Use a drill/driver to drive the screws through the base plate holes. Check that the Hairpin Legs are secure, turn your table over, and that's it! Enjoy!

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