Clara Table

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 11/08/2010 - 19:47
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This simple children's play table is easy and economical to build, at the perfect height for toddlers and preschoolers.

But then, you already knew there had to be a table to match those stackable four dollar chairs from yesterday.

Clara might be just 18 months old, but the table is plenty big enough for her almost four year old cousin, Grace (who yes, depends on hand-me-downs and refuses to brush her hair).  And I won't make you look at the photo, but I in fact can sit at this table with my legs under the apron, on those chairs, comfortably.  So don't be intimidated about making this table for your preschooler, or even grade schooler.

BUT the table is small, perfect for small spaces.  You could put up to four chairs around it, but it would be tight.

The girls were playing library with their pretend library.  You can get those plans (and more pretend play plans) right here.

And of course, Clara's table plans are right here.  Oh, did I mention that my sister and I put this table together in literally minutes?

Dimensions shown above.


Shopping List

1 – 1×8, 8 feet long
1 – 2×2, 8 feet long
1 – 1×3, 8 feet long
1 1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws
Wood Glue

Common Materials
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

3 – 1×8 @ 32″ (if your 1×8 is EXACTLY 96″ long, cut these boards at 31 7/8″ to account for the saw blade)
4 – 2×2 @ 21 1/4″ (legs)
2 – 1×3 @ 17 1/2″ (End Aprons)
2 – 1×3 @ 27″ (Side Aprons)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set


Step 1

Cut your Boards and Drill Pocket Holes

Many of you do not have a Kreg Jig™. My sister, who took wood shop in highschool, has built quite a bit of furniture, and showed me how to use a circular saw the first time, has never seen a Kreg Jig™. After this project, she’s getting one. Also consider this. A similar table and chair set runs around $240. My cost for this table? Seventeen dollars. Spend the cost differential on a Kreg Jig™. Its worth it.

Cut your boards, according to the cut list. Measure the 1x8s and make sure they are in fact 7 1/2″ wide. Mine up here in Alaska are, but others say theirs are 7 1/4″ or 7 3/8″. If your 1x8s are narrower, take the difference, multiply it by three, and subtract that from the cut length of the 1×3 side aprons.

Next, drill all your pocket holes. I like to make Xs where all the pocket holes go as I cut.

Step 2

Build the Tabletop

There are other ways to build this tabletop without pocket holes, but in order to get a tabletop worthy of coloring and cheap, this was the answer. I love using solid wood in this application because you can always sand and refinish – and you just might have to. This table was left unfinished for about 3 hours. When I got the paint brush out, it was covered in very large awkwardly written Gs. A few minutes of sanding beats being upset any day.

Step 3


Drill all your pocket holes first (see step 4) and then attach the legs to the aprons. I like to either inset my aprons slightly or to drill my pocket holes on the outsides to keep the legs from splitting. Adjust for square.

Step 4


Now is the fun part. Line the table top up with the base and screw together. The coolest thing about pocket holes is that it sucked up any differences in the tabletop. Sometimes when you join boards that are not perfectly square, your tabletop isn’t smooth. The pocket holes forced the tabletop square with the aprons.

Finishing Instructions
Finish Used
My table was filled with wood filler, two coats. Then I sanded with 120 grit sandpaper. Finally, I primed and added two coats of Valspar High Gloss White trim paint. For more general building instructions, see Get Started Section.

Please excuse my typos. Today’s post was put together with the help of an 18 month old, a three year old, and a six year old. Keyboards must be fun if Mom spends so much time using one


Paige (not verified)

Thu, 12/30/2010 - 21:20

Ana, I love this table, but I need something a little larger for about 6 kids aged 8 and under. I noticed that someone posted earlier that there was one. Where would I find it? Could I make it with a solid prefabbed table top? Thanks Ana!

Paige (not verified)

Thu, 12/30/2010 - 22:03

I tried printing as a pdf & there was something wrong with the pdf. 1/2 the pictures were over to the right & cut off the edge. I tried shrinking it down & it didn't work. I also tried changing the orientation of the page & that didn't work. Is it just my pdf reader that is off or is anyone else having that problem?

Julie (not verified)

Mon, 02/28/2011 - 21:51

I just finished building this table and just need to tweak my finish. I Love your site!!!! This is my 4th project in five days. I'm going to build the (kids) kitchen set soon but wanted to practice on some less expensive pieces first. I have 4 kids and am always looking for affordable options. Thanks for all you are doing!

On a side note: My brother had a Kreg Jig sitting in his garage not being used that he graciously let me borrow. I see now it is totally worth the money and once he needs his back I will be buying my own for sure!…

Jeff Akins (not verified)

Mon, 03/07/2011 - 15:22


I tried my new Kreg Jr. on some scrap wood today and definitely like it (I wish I had it when I built a custom toybox a while back). But I'm not sure how I'm going to put the vertical pocket hole (for attaching apron to tabletop) next to the leg when I already have 2 horizontal holes going into the leg and have a reasonable amount of wood left. Any advice?


Paul H. (not verified)

Mon, 11/14/2011 - 11:32

I am making this doll sized for some 18" AG dolls. The over all dimensions are going to be 12 3/4" H X 18" W X 16 1/2" D.

I plan on using a 1 x 6 for the top instead of a 1 x 8. Hopefully, my math is correct...

Cut List:
3 - 1 x 6 @ 18" (Top)
4 - 2 x 2 @ 12" (Legs)
2 - 1 x 3 @ 12 1/2" (End Apron)
2 - 1 x 3 @ 13" (Side Aprons)

I will be converting the $4 stackable chair plans as well...


Mon, 11/14/2011 - 18:25

the AG dolls are so nice, but I haven't found the furniture to be all that great, and its soooo expensive!

be sure to post pictures!

Paul H. (not verified)

Tue, 11/15/2011 - 06:20

The expense is why we are building a bunch of furniture: Two bunk beds (finished assembling them last night) plus the table and chairs. We are probably saving a couple hundred bucks by building them. Once they are done, I will try to post some pics.

I might build a Living Room set as well but I have to make the plans for those on my own. Ana's plans are so easy to work with...


Wed, 11/16/2011 - 06:49

I built this last night but changed the size on the fly. As It turns out, a 12 3/4" table would be up to the dolls chin. I found the original dimensions on a CraigsList item stating they had used Ana's plans. I knocked it the height down to 10 3/4". It is a little taller than it should be but it allows the doll to fit under the table/apron while sitting in an appropriately sized chair (5" seat).

I also changed the length from 18" to 15 1/2" so the cuts could be made from a 4ft board.

3 - 1 x 6 @ 15 1/2" (Top) (1 @ 4ft)
4 - 2 x 2 @ 10" (Legs) (1 @ 4ft)
2 - 1 x 3 @ 10 1/2" (End Apron) (1 @ 4ft)
2 - 1 x 3 @ 9" (Side Aprons)

The apron is 1 1/2 inches.

Up next, a four pack of doll sized $4 stackable chairs. I am still working out the new dimensions for the plan since I got the dimensions for the chairs from the same Craigslist item...

I will try to post this on the brag board once it is painted...