Introduction: Custom Kids Play Table
The goal was create a table for my kids to use for building legos or playing with trains or even doing crafts. I could not find a table I like already so decided to build my own. My goal table would meet the following needs:
- Sturdy enough that should a child stand on it it won't break. Hoping they don't stand on it but I mean they are kids.
- A lip to contain legos on table. We have a 1year old that so the lip contains the mess and makes clean up easy.
- Space for 3 kids and adults to use
- Future proof. Have the ability to switch out the legs when children outgrow current height.
- Bonus feature: Ability to also be flush top.
- Table Saw (or track saw)
- 1 sheet of 3/4 plywood
- Router with round over bit
- Pocket Hole Jig
Step 1: Cut the Skirt and Assemble
First I decided that I wanted a table that was 24inches by 48 inches. This meant that my long sides could then be ripped from the 4 foot section of plywood and then the end pieces would need to be 24+3/4+3/4 which is 25.5 to account for the table top and the extra plywood.
To assemble the skirt I used bar clamps to squeeze edges to the table top and then drilled screwed the ends in place. While I had everything clamped I took the opportunity to add crosspieces some cleats between them to hold the table top in place. I should also mention here I I cut a 4x4 sheet of plywood in half to make the table top and double stacked them so the table top would be recessed 3/4inch and give the lip. This prevents from having to accurately line up cleats and allowed me to put them directly onto the table top face to ensure proper fit.
The cleats had 3 pocket holes drilled in them and then they were installed facing up to the table top. I then placed cross members on either side of cleat and drilled and screwed from exterior. I used scrap 3/4ply for all of this so pre-drilling and alignment was critical to prevent cracking. I also added cleats to ends as well for extra support and another point to attach table top to.
Step 2: Leg Height and Paint.
Once the frame was roughed in I had to find the best height. I had an idea but wanted to test it. So I had my two product testers sit at the table and we used off cuts from our deck project to find a suitable height for them both. We found a height they both liked to sit at, kneel at, and that my wife could sit and and have our legs fit under the skirt.
For the legs I wanted them to be removeable. I was not sure if in a few years I would need to increase the table height to ensure my now older children enjoyed the table or found it useful. I also knew that they would add table top support in the corners. So added skirt depth to my leg height measure to get true leg height. I then cut the leg boards to roughly 5inches and 4inches. This allowed for a little more space on the table end I knew I would butt that to the outside to make it 5inches in one direction and 4 and 3/4 in the other. I then hit the entire table with a round over bit and sanded furiously.
I used wood putty to fill any gaps in the plywood and then sanded again and moved to paint. I slathered this whole thing up with a white furniture paint I already had just to keep it simple. I then flipped it over onto the table top and screwed all the supports to the top and then installed legs at corners.
Then painted the top surface as well. I then ran a bead of white silicone around the edge. There was a slight gap and I was pretty concerned about some tiny lego bits getting stuck in there.
Step 3: Play!
After paint dried I dropped it in the kids play area and let them find it the next morning. They had helped me paint the skirt so they knew it was coming but it was still a bit of a surprise when they saw it.
Kids use it regularly for LEGOs, Trains, cars, and art. I knew this would be a possibility and the lip is really not ideal for coloring. This is another reason why I have a second table top that I mentioned earlier. My next plan is to drill a hole in the dead center of that board then cut it in half so I have to 2x2 squares with a half circle on them and then 1 or both can be dropped on the table to make it totally flat. The hole in the center is then the finger hole to lift it out. This will then give the option to use 1/2 table with Legos or something a lip would be helpful and the other half for something like drawing and coloring.
I will plan to add update to this when that is done. Let me know if you would like any other photos of specific parts. I forgot to take some photos along the way.
Participated in the