When Little Man was nearly two, my husband’s boss graciously gifted us a set of trains and tracks that his kids had outgrown. They immediately became my Little Man’s favorite toy and thus, the train obsession was born.
For Little Man’s second birthday, my husband and I scoured Craigslist and found him a train table. I can’t tell you how many hours Little Man has spent at that train table over the past couple of years. He has played with it daily! Every penny spent on the trains, tracks, and table was totally worth it. I dug through old photos and found a picture of the train table all set up to surprise him on his birthday!
The train table has been living in our playroom. It has never quite fit perfectly and is really too large for the room, but it was worth it because of how much and how frequently Little Man enjoyed it. However, as Little Girl has grown and we’ve added her toys as well, the room quickly become overly cramped.
Our first idea to give us more space in the playroom was to move the train table to Little Man’s room. His room is just too small, though. We had been planning on building a slide out Lego table for under Little Man’s bed, but it hit me that we could repurpose the train table to function as a train/Lego/activity table instead! We were so excited to find a way to keep his train table for him to enjoy, while still gaining much needed space in the playroom!
The process was really straightforward. Jeremy removed the top boards and center supports (they just lift out), then removed the legs from the table. Then, he reassembled the side boards. The side pieces were originally screwed into the legs, so he replaced the legs with wood blocks he cut to size.
Pro Tip: Use similar types of wood. We used wood scraps and screws we had on hand already, but because the scrap wood was harder wood than the train table was made out of, the nail gun wouldn’t work properly. We knew that, but decided to just screw the wood block in from the outside and have visible screws. If this was going to be out in the open all the time, we would have bought a new piece of softer wood for this project so we could use the nail gun and avoid visible screws on the outside. But, honestly, because the train table was going to be stored under the table, the visible screws just weren’t a big enough deal to warrant buying a new piece of wood.
He attached casters to the scrap wood block so that the table could roll in and out easily.
Jeremy was super sweet and remembered to take pictures along the way. I secretly think he left sawdust on the caster to add a manly touch. Haha!
Then, I painted the table to match the bed and attached a handle (found at Lowe’s) for easy maneuvering. We put the top boards back in place and ta-da, done!
Honestly, this was a very easy project! I’m so happy to have given the train table a new way to continue to function beautifully for Little Man! He absolutely loves it and uses it for trains, Legos, cars, puzzles, etc! Shh, don’t tell him, but for his next birthday, we are going to get him some large Lego boards to use on the table. So fun!
I realize that not all train tables are built the same way, so this project may not work for them all. But, if you look, the basic frame would actually be very easy to build if you wanted to make one from scratch!