Art Play Table for the Cabin

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 09/30/2015 - 15:55
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Easy plans to make art play table!  Just 5 - 1x4s and a quarter sheet of plywood!

Hi everyone!  Thanks so much for all the love on my workout gear yesterday on Instagram -

I'll definitely make a few more so you can get one too. Or strongly hint to your spouse that you'd like one for Christmas. And by strongly hint, I do mean email him a link with the exact size and color, and recommendations for wrapping paper too.  

So speaking of Christmas, which comes even earlier when you are a woodworker and are making some of your gifts, I've got new plans to share with you today!!!

It's an art play table - of course inspired by this piece from Pottery Barn Kids.  Only instead of shelling out $350 - before shipping and tax - I built my own for about $45!

This art table is the very first piece of furniture that we moved into the cabin.  Any working mom knows, you can't work unless your kids are either 1)sleeing 2)stuck to a screen or 3)occupied creatively.  Unfortunately option 1 only works for the baby, and I save option 2 for serious emergencies and long road trips.  So option 3 it is - The best way to keep my eight year old busy for long periods of time is with art projects.  She loves to color and draw.

I actually built this table back home weeks earlier, so it could be ready to move in the very second the upstairs loft area was finished.  I may have cheated and moved it in before the baseboard was fully installed and the handrail built for those of you with eagle eyes.

She loves it and it is the indoor activity of choice at the cabin, and spends hours up there creating furniture designs -

Then quickly moving up the ladder to managing the crew -

At what point should I worry about job security?

There's our boss.

We all love this little play table and it provides countless hours of entertainment for the children.  The trays are perfect for holding art supplies and the paper roll holder (not pictured but we have since added) is very functional and gets used tons.  I highly recommend this little play table for your creative kiddos.

Here's a quick video of the steps - 

And of course I've got you covered with the plans following.

Hope you love them!  Enjoy and Happy Building!

XO Ana


Dimensions shown above


Shopping List

5 - 1x4 @ 8 feet long

1 - 3/4" thick plywood or MDF project panel, 24" x 48"


Common Materials
1 1/4 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
paint brush
Cut List


4 - 1x4 @ 22-1/2" long (cut these from the same boards used to cut the side aprons)

4 - 1x4 @ 23-1/4" long


6 - 1x4 @ 24" long - trays

2 - 1x4 @ 50-1/2" long - side aprons


1 - 24" x 40" x 3/4" plywood or MDF panel - tabletop

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Drill 3/4" pocket holes, two per end, on each of the four 1x4 that are 22-1/2" long.  Then attach to the legs with 1-1/4" pocket hole screws and glue.  Set legs aside when done.

Step 2

Drill two 3/4" pocket holes on each end of the six 1x4s that are 24" long.  Nail together three of the boards in a U shape with 1-1/4" nails and glue, keeping all outside edges flush, with pocket holes on the outsides.

Make two trays.

Step 3

Attach the trays to the side aprons with 1-1/4" pocket hole screws and glue, outside edges are flush.

Step 4

Cut the 24" x 48" project panel down in size to 40".  Drill 3/4" pocket holes along the underside of the 40" long sides, spacing about every 6-8".  Place panel inside frame, with pocket holes on underside, checking to make sure trays are positioned correctly, and attach with 1-1/4" pocket hole screws and glue.  Leave 1/4" gaps on ends of panel to allow paper to feed through.

Step 5

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.



Wed, 12/21/2016 - 22:26

First, a huge thanks for the awesome plans!

I took your original design and made a few minor changes to convert this into a Lego table as I have three young boys under the age of 8. As shown in my photos the two main differces are the dividers I inserted on either end to be used as storage compartments for the various types/sizes of Lego. The other change was to shift the table piece (3/4" plywood) to be down slightly to create a lipped edge so that the pieces would stay on the table easier.