I start thinking about Christmas presents sometime around February 1! I know, it’s a problem. I get it honest, though. My mom didn’t have big Christmas mornings when she was little, so she took her “Santa” role very seriously when I was growing up! Christmas means happiness, decorating cookies, and walking down the stairs with my sister on Christmas morning. It’s very nostalgic for me.
For Christmas 2020, I pitched my dad the idea of building a train table for my son, Grady. I had looked online, but the only train tables I could find took up a TON of floor space, which we didn’t have. Grady had just transitioned to a “big boy bed” and had unused space underneath, so I figured creating a rolling train table would be the perfect use of this space! He could roll the table out to play, then roll it back under to have floor space.
My vision was basically a table with short edges all around and 4 wheels – low enough that it would roll under Grady’s bed! I had low expectations.
Dad created this initial plan:
We headed to Lowe’s with both kids in tow to grab our supplies! Now to be clear, we could have created this for a lower price. However, you’ll learn I don’t often take the inexpensive route when it comes to projects! I’ve listed our supplies with prices for reference – I knew my kids would stand on this table and wanted it to be insanely sturdy.
- 8ft 2x4s (2) – $14 at Lowe’s
- 8ft 1x4s (2) – $8 at Lowe’s
- Plywood (1 sheet) – $40 (I wanted the fancy kind, but we used less than half the sheet) at Lowe’s
- Casters (4) – $7.21 on Amazon (I used a discount code, they’re regularly $14.99)
- Wood filler
- Electric sander
- Finish nails
- Miter saw
- Circular saw
- Cut boards to size. We cut the 2x4s to (5) 32in, the 1x4s to (2) 48in and (2) 33.5in.
- On a flat surface, create the frame by screwing together the 1x4s. We created a 48in x 33.5in table to best fit our space.
- Attach 2x4s for cross supports.
- Cut plywood to size with circular saw. 46.5in x 32in for our project.
- Attach plywood to cross supports with finish nails.
- Fill holes with wood filler.
- Caulk inside edge of the table.
- Attach 4 casters to the bottom corners using screws.
- OPTIONAL: Paint or stain. We opted for a natural finish. I knew my kids would climb all over this and I didn’t want to have to touch up paint chips or re-sand and stain down the road. I actually love the natural look of the table. It is very “on-trend” with Montessori-style toys. You could attach green felt to the bottom, tack in place a “train track” rug, etc. The options are limitless for the finishing touches!
If we did this again, we would glue all the joints before nailing/screwing. Otherwise, we wouldn’t change a thing!
Even though this was Grady’s big Christmas gift, Ellie was equally as excited! We had to convince the kids to leave the train table alone so they could finish opening gifts. I love that the table is low to the ground so they can reach to create whatever they dream up!
After 2+ months, this train table is still played with daily. It has also been used for a puzzle table. If we had a daybed or single bed with space underneath, we could use this same design on a larger scale, throw a mattress on top and we would have the perfect trundle bed!
Have you ever created something like this? Are you interested in DIY projects? Let us know in the comments! We would love to hear from you!