Monday, December 5, 2011

A Homemade Christmas: Lego Table Tutorial

Okay, so technically this isn't homemade so much as homegluedtogether, but it counts since I didn't buy it pre-made from the store.  I made this for Landon last Christmas, but I didn't have a blog back then so I'm posting it now.  I scored a set of over 400 Duplos from Craigslist for $40 - hint:  you can throw those in the washing machine (ours is an HE) with bleach on a sanitize cycle.  Because the HE machine's spin cycle is so very efficient, I didn't even need to lay them out in the sun to dry like I had planned to do.  Also, it's a lot easier to wash them if you've got a mesh laundry bag.  Tie it in a knot before washing or some will escape.  Moving along...

Lego tables are EXPENSIVE!  Not only are they pricey, but some manufacturers are pouring salt in our wounds by making them not only out of our budget, but heinously ugly to boot!  I just couldn't see spending $100+ on a table only to have giant lego heads staring me down every time I passed by the play room.  This table cost me about $35 to make and I still love it a year later.  It's as pretty as an affordable Lego table can be and doesn't take up much room (we've got a train table for that!)

The nice thing about the lego plates (made for the smaller legos, not Duplos) is that they also allow you to use the larger Duplos on them.  From what I hear, the bond might not be as strong if we had used a Duplo base, but we haven't had any issues.  When my boys are older and start using Legos, the plates will still work, making this table even more economical.

To make this exact table (I say exact because in theory you could use whatever table you want), you'll need:

Lack side table from Ikea (colors and prices vary ~7.99 to 12.99)
4 - 10" square (Large size) Lego base plates*
Contact Cement
Optional: Green acrylic paint or dark green Duck tape (found at craft stores)

*These are about $6-7 each.  Amazon or Ebay are the cheapest places I found doing a quick search.  I got mine at Toys R Us when they had a "Buy One Get One Half Off" Lego sale.  You could get all different colors or all the same.  We had to have a blue plate in case we were to build boats...cuz, you know, boats belong in the water.


1. Assemble your table.

2. Center your four plates on the table.  You can eyeball it or measure, your call.  Make a faint line with a pencil on each corner so you know where to put them when you're gluing.  Also mark the space in the center where all four boards meet.  Since the corners are rounded, you will be able to see the table underneath.  You can use green acrylic paint to cover that little spot or use a piece of green Duck tape.  If it doesn't bother you, don't worry about it.

3.  Put contact cement on both the bottom of the first lego base plate and the table (but only in the spot where you're putting that plate).  Work fast because contact cements sets and cures quickly.  Apply some pressure for a few minutes as it's drying.  Put the second plate, third, and fourth plate on.  As you put each plate on, use a lego (or duplo) and connect it so that it's on the plate that you just glued down and the plate you are in the process of gluing down - this will assure it's aligned.  If you're having trouble connecting the lego, shift the plate with the wet glue quickly so that the lego connects more easily.  Remember, work fast!

Once the glue is all dry (give it a full 24 hours - overkill, but it will definitely be done!) your table is complete.  Slap a bow on that baby and hide it until Christmas.

To store all of our Legos, I got a big plastic tub at Target that fits perfectly underneath the could use whatever kind of bin, box, bag, etc. you like!

Although, who needs a Lego table when you could just play in the bin?  You have to appreciate his direct, no-nonsense approach to playtime. 


trisha said...

I've been wanting to buy my girls a lego table for christmas this year but cannot afford one. I didn't even THINK about making one. I was so excited to see this. :) thank you.

On One Hand said...

No problem Trisha! I love when I find I can make things for much cheaper than I can buy them =) Glad I could help!


Trisha said...

I made mine, and its amazing!!! My girls are going to LOVE it. Too bad Santa gets all the credit. Lol.

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