Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DIY Lego Table

Mr. Doozie completely outdid himself for Will's birthday gift this year! So I'm letting him take over the blog today in case y'all want to have your hubbys make this table or heck! If you want to! Everyone say hello to Mr. Doozie! Take it away handsome :)

Howdy, howdy.

So I think I’ll preface this with a couple of statements: this is ‘a’ way, not necessarily ‘the’ way to make a table like this.  Most of what I learned was through trial and error - lots of error :)

So there we were, the boys’ Legos were taking over the house!  The kitchen table, the craft table, their little eating table, our bed...  They didn’t have a set place to build and Will’s Lego-themed birthday was coming up fast.  We had a few weeks to go and I figured a Lego table would be a perfect place for them to work.  The thing is, we wanted one that was on wheels, big enough for both boys to have a space to work, aaaand would roll into the closet when not in use.  Try finding all of that online.  Walmart has a couple, Etsy has a coulple, but nothing that would fit all of our requests.  So I figured I’d just build one, right?  Right?

The build actually turned out to be pretty simple.  I really wasn’t sure how it was going to go so I didn’t take pictures throughout but I’ll talk you through what I did here with a few pics to help you out if you’re interested.

So Ko has her Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and I have the Kreg Jig for my secret weapon.  This thing makes STRONG connections with a simple drill and screw.  There is no need to cut any crazy angles, everything can be a simple butt joints.  
(That’s what I’m talking about.)

Here’s a list of the materials I used and then I’ll walk you through how to put it together.

The tabletop is a 38” x 22” piece of 1/2” MDF 
4 Legs are 18 3/4”  
2 short lengths are 18 1/2”
2 long lengths are 30 3/4” 
The lengths and sides are covered in 1/4” MDF sheets
4 2” caster wheels
A bunch of pocket hole screws
Screw driver
Miter saw

I took some framing 2X4s I had left over from building a buddy’s workbench and planed them all down to 1 3/8” x 3 1/4”.  That size didn’t really matter to me, I just ran them through on all 4 sides until the rounded edges turned into square angles.  2X4 framing lumber at the store is only like $1.50 so score.

I cut the table top from a larger piece I had lying around.  I actually recommend cutting it later to fit the exact size after you’ve put the legs together.  I’ll show you what I mean below.

So first I planed the wood and then cut to length for the legs and sides.  Using the Kreg Jig, I pre-drilled all of the pocket holes to attach the legs to the lengths to basically make a box for the top to sit on.  This is also a good time to pre-drill the spots on the lengths to screw up and attach the top.  Take a look at this picture of the finished underside to see what I’m talking about.
(Drill all of those badboys before assembly - yeah, speaking from experience here)

Then assemble the legs to the lengths with wood glue and screws - I did short sides and then the lengths.  Make sure your assembly area is flat and I also recommend using clamps to hold the pieces together square when you screw them.  When you are done with the basic frame it should look like this:
(Yup, sort of looks like a table...sort of)

At this point, flip it over and then trace its outline onto the piece of MDF.  That way the little variations you have from cutting / planing / measuring get transferred exactly to the tabletop.  All of the joints get covered later, so you want the edge of the top to be flush up and down with the legs and sides.
At this point you can either cut the center hole for the storage bucket or throw caution into the wind and attach the top and cut it out later (that’s what I did - don’t recommend it).  To make the cutout, make a template for your hole on a scrap piece of MDF or plywood.  Cardboard would even work for this.  Our storage box had tapered sides and a good lip on top.  I just kept making the hole bigger and bigger in the template until the box would slide in and stop where it was supposed to.  Center on the table and transfer the outline of the template onto the tabletop.  I used a jig saw to cut the outline for the box.  A couple of relief holes with a regular drill bit will help getting the corners started.
When the top is ready, line the top of the legs and lengths with glue, set the top on, clamp together, and screw the top on through the pocket holes you prepped earlier.

With the top on it should look something like this depending on whether or not there is a hole in the middle:
(BAM, table)

That right there is a table, the last few things were more finishing touches I wanted to put on for the kids.

Trace the side profile onto the 1/4” MDF all the way from the top down to the bottom and along the legs.  Use a paint can or other circle-like object to trace the circle curve from the leg to the top.  Clamp 2 pieces together to cut both sides at the same time and cut along the line you traced when on the outside and on top.  For the inside and curve, cut just to the outside of the line so that your piece is sure to cover the legs and extend just a little for a clean look. Glue and use finishing nails to attach the 2 sides you just cut.  Repeat the process of tracing / cutting / gluing / nailing for the two ends as well.  Now all that is left is to use some wood filler to fill any gaps and sand it all down.  Your table should then look like this:
For paint, we just got some durable yellow and black from the paint store and painted the whole thing.  Put the casters on the bottom, Gorilla glue the Lego plates, slide in your storage box, and use some vinyl tape to outline the roads if you want.
We ended up offsetting the plates like that so the boys had more blank space to build and then put their creations onto their Lego plate.  

When it was all said and done, all I had to buy were the casters and some paint.  To do it from scratch, the 2X4s, MDF top and sides, paint, and casters will run you about $40.  The 2 plates can be found for less than $20 or from what you already have.  Not bad even if you don’t have these materials lying around to cut up and use.  

This was my first time trying to explain something I’ve more or less taught myself how to do so if you’re really interested, just send us your questions and I’ll answer them as soon as I can and/or take some additional pictures for y’all.  

Oh, and the drawings above were done with Google’s  SketchUp program (it’s free!).  When Ko asked me to write the tutorial I realized I didn’t have any build pictures to show so I downloaded this thing yesterday and it was easy enough to figure out how to design the table in there.  Pretty fun, actually.  

Truth be told, Will was excited when he saw the table but didn’t freak out like he did over his bunk bed or a couple of the Lego sets he received (like the Mobile Police Unit, phew!).  But for me the greatest satisfaction was watching him and his brother on the morning of his party start playing with the table just like it was designed - it was natural for the both of them and accepted as what it was supposed to be - a Lego table, mission accomplished.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I know exactly what we will be building for a wee one for when she comes to visit. Now to just show Mike!

  2. That is one nifty present to receive as a gift and a lego lover :)

  3. wow, mr. doozie is obviously an engineer type with all those precise drawings and his fantastic creation. Impressive, to say the least!

  4. That is PURE TALENT!!!