Clara Table

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 11/08/2010 - 19:47
Difficulty
Beginner
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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
Dimensions shown above.

Preparation

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
primer
wood conditioner
paint
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)

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

Instructions

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

Base

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

Tabletop

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
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Comments

Guest (not verified)

Sat, 11/26/2011 - 17:44

I'm planning on doing this in the morning. Went to the store and picked up all the supplies today, but after looking it over I'm wondering what size screw should i use with the pocket holes?

I've got a box of #8 x 1 1/2" wood screws that I'm hoping will fit.

I'll post photos when I'm done.

Matt Snow (not verified)

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 21:28

Thank you Ana for making this wonderful site, and sharing your designs with the world!

I purchased a kreg jig kit on Amazon which was easy to figure out. 1 page of directions. Assembled and tested the Kreg Jig, cut the wood, drilled the pocket holes, and assembled in just 2 hours!

I did fumbled with 1 step. The big box store(home depot) 1x8 nominal pine stock in the bay area (Central California) is an actual 3/4x7-1/4.
In Step 1, paragraph 2 you mention adjusting the cut length for the "side aprons" to make up for the difference in size (Alaska vs. non-Alaska). I believe this should be changed to "end aprons".

Minor typo and will only get the people that don't read through and grok all the steps. :)

tomorrow i'll sand, stain, and finish the table, then build the $4 chairs. excited!

Wondering (not verified)

Sun, 12/23/2012 - 10:20

I made this table and chair set (along with the toy box) for my Daughter for Christmas. It was my first project, and they all turned out AMAZING. Thank you SO much for these plans, and for the confidence to do it myself! My question is do I need to seal this furniture with a clear top coat like polyurethane or something? They are all pure white Olympic paint. Or do you think just two coats of paint should be enough to withstand a toddler's furry?

In reply to by Wondering (not verified)

claydowling

Sun, 12/23/2012 - 12:46

I'm glad you had such a good experience with your first project. Ana has a great section on finishing that could give you some good ideas.

I don't like to leave paint exposed on furniture. I've had good luck with water based finishes like Miniwax's Polycrylic. The oil based finishes are really strong, but they also have a yellow color that you might not like.

Noelle's Mom (not verified)

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 20:21

I made this table and one chair for my 18 month old tonight! My dimensions are different because I used scrap wood from another build. Yay free project! Can't wait to paint it! Thanks for posting the plans =)

tom2

Sun, 06/09/2013 - 20:31

The designs that you are using is very simple and yet the finished products looks great and expensive. It is very applicable for children's use and the materials that is being used are friendly to children, Because now a days a lot of products that is for children are highly toxic and harmful for them to be exposed.

rent a bounce house

tom2

Sun, 06/09/2013 - 20:32

The designs that you are using is very simple and yet the finished products looks great and expensive. It is very applicable for children's use and the materials that is being used are friendly to children, Because now a days a lot of products that is for children are highly toxic and harmful for them to be exposed.

rent a bounce house