My original idea came from my favorite blog younghouselove.com
They designed a train table to slide under the couch and out of the way. I shared this idea with my mom and the Pre-School teacher in her said a leg-less table top would not get the playtime a tabletop with legs would.
At the consignment sales I saw lots of train tables but none were anything I liked. I know I am picky, but I couldn’t get myself to accept one. Train tables are too small in my opinion and overpriced. There are some that limit your creativity when building the tracks. There might be a house or a road in the way where you wanted to lay your track. My mind is too Type-A to ignore the painted house on the board and lay my track over it. It just bothers me.
That’s when I went back to my idea of building a train table. This one would have legs. As I thought more about it, I wanted the table to be more than just a train table. It could be a table to build puzzles on, play board games and build Legos. The purpose for the table grew and the design ideas flowed. I wanted to glue some Lego baseplates to the table to build HUGE creations on it. Somehow we needed to build a table frame where the table top flipped so one side could be the train table and the other side could be the Lego table. When I bounced this idea off of Mr. JCrew, he loved it but I don’t think I explained my vision clearly. He asked how I was going to make the table flip and it might be too tall for the kiddoes if I accommodated the flipping part of the table top.
The table top doesn’t flip while staying hinged to the legs. You push the table top up from underneath and flip it yourself.
This is the first time I went to Lowes without knowing exactly what I needed! (sooo against my Type-A personality) I found a piece of wood that worked for the tabletop first. Once I knew the dimensions, I was able to know what lengths of wood I needed for the table frame.
I needed to build a frame that had a lip for the top to sit on and a lip that held it in place from side to side. The legs were easy. I just bought an 8-foot post for $5. It was outdoor wood, but that was okay. I cut it into four pieces (2-foot each).
Two feet seemed pretty tall. Too tall for little people to be able to play. So I cut off four inches from each post. This created some blocks that Little JCrew likes to hoist into the yard.
I used my table saw to make the other boards for the frame. I was really nervous putting it together. I had no instructions I was following and nothing written down. This was not how I operate!!
I laid the pieces out and then started putting them on the legs. I nailed them in place first and not all the way. I wanted to make sure I could take it apart if it wasn’t lining up perfect. I got lucky and it did on the first try. No adjustments needed!
The legs were not sturdy enough to drag the table so I added brackets. (You have to plan on boys dragging the table where they want it and possibly sitting on the table!)
The brackets made the table durable and able to withstand the roughness of kids.
I used the stain I had from refinishing the damaged table top to stain the frame of the table.
I then had the fun of painting the table top. I got three sample-size pant jars for $3 each at Lowes.
Why waist a pint size when you don’t need that much. The train side is green and the Lego side is blue.
I bought four 17-inch baseplates to glue down for the Lego side. I didn’t want the whole table covered up, but the majority of it to be.
When I glued the Lego plates down, I used Lego pieces to hold the plates together.
I’m so glad I did. Had I put the base plates touching, they would be too close together for a Lego piece to connect correctly. I at first used hot-glue, but it dried too quickly. (I was trying to glue all four spaces and then lay all four plates down.) I then used Gorilla glue.
The table is tall enough that I put baskets underneath for their train pieces and Lego pieces.
All that’s left is for me to paint the scenery onto the train side of the table.
Mr. JCrew has already requested a bridge and waterfall. Whose table is this?
(Update: Here is how I painted it.)
Oh, and those neat chairs I have at the table will become a project down the road. They were one of the ones I didn't get to while on leave.
I’m so excited for the functionality of this table. Most train tables are much smaller and are not a Lego table too. I can’t wait for the boys to start using it!