For Christmas, Carson received this fabulous activity table from the Land Of Nod. I’m in love with it because it will grow with him and (at least in my ideal world) he will be able to use it until he is well into his teens. Nonetheless, from the moment he got it, I have talked about making a Lego top for it. I wanted it to be removable because well, he will be using this table into his teens… right?!?
My first step to any project: Pinterest and Google. No luck. Everything I found was for making a Lego Table. Basically, gluing the Lego plates to the table’s surface and it is only a Lego table. While these helped me get an idea of what to do, they didn’t really help me with my project.
First stop, Home Depot! Great thing I learned about Home Depot is that they cut wood for you… FOR FREE!! I picked out my 3/4″ ply wood and told his nice young name (ironically named Chris) that I needed it cut to certain dimensions. He put it on this pictured machine and cut it perfect. I highly recommend going to Home Depot with your measurements in hand and this will make things so much easier on you (and you wont need a truck to bring home the plywood)
Step 2: Framing the Lego Top
The activity table has a very small lip on it. I found some trim wood at Home Depot that fit perfectly next to the lip. I then cut it so that the trim pieces fit inside the lip of the activity table (see picture)
The best way (maybe not the right way) I found to make sure it fit was to measure it out and then duct tape it where I wanted it. I then laid it back on the table to make sure the fit was perfect. Once it was, I nailed it down A LOT… I probably used way too many nails, but I liked using the hammer 🙂
I am including the following picture just to show you the lip of the activity table. This is what the framed in part will fit next to and what will keep the table from sliding around. We have been playing with it for weeks and it works perfect.
Step 3: Sanding and Cornering
I was very lucky to have a place to go with a lot of power tools. First thing I did (well, my dad did) was round the corners. The rounding was done simply by putting a roll of duct tape as a template on the corner and drawing a line where the roll touched the sides. If you don’t have power tools or are not comfortable cutting the thick wood, you can purchase child safety corners that protect the edges and screw into the corner. Next, it’s time to sand! This takes a long time… again, I was lucky to have an electric palm sander. You can use a sanding block and get the same results, but it will take a lot longer. I wanted every edge sanded smooth to the touch and also to remove all sharp edges. I was very pleased with out child-friendly this piece of plywood became.
Step 4: Painting (1st Time)
Lego plates require a small amount of space between each plate to ensure the Legos fit from plate to plate. You would have thought they would make it easy on you and make it so they fit together, but they didn’t. Therefore, I painted the entire top green. Home Depot was able to match the paint color to the green Lego color and I put 2 coats on it and let it dry overnight.
Step 5: Glue Lego Plates
A VERY IMPORTANT thing to remember is the spacing required between each plate. You can see in the picture that I placed all the plates where I wanted them and attached them in MULTIPLE places with Legos. This is VERY VERY IMPORTANT. If you do not do this, then the Legos will not be able to cross over from one plate to the other. Once you have the Legos exactly where you want them, glue each one down one at a time. Immediately after placing one down, replace the connecting Legos and move onto the next plate. I did this in a “snake” pattern to make sure each piece was secured to the most plates at a time. I found this to be the easiest and required the least movement. Once the glue has dried, you are ready to begin all the fun!!
This can be made any size using any table. I made a huge one because my child only likes to play with Legos, but you can make it any size you want.
Good luck and have a blast!!
UPDATE: I have had some issues with the plates coming up and have changed to use Gorilla Glue. This seems to be a lot better thus far, but don’t put it on the edges as it expands as it dries.