Mom's Train Table

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 12/09/2010 - 08:53
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DIY Coffee Table with hidden train table storage inside.  Special thanks to Christy for sharing her photos with us.

Thank you for your beautiful comments and positive feedback on our Lego Table. We all are special in our own unique way.  But I am truly blessed because you are giving me an opportunity to follow my dreams, and I can't express how appreciative I am.  Truly, thank you for your support.

After posting yesterdays Lego Table, I thought it only fair to then post the matching Train Table

The train table is double the width of the lego table.  You just need more room for trains to make their tracks go round.

But you need that extra space for train tracks to wrap around.  We tried a small track on Grace's Lego Table, and there's just not enough room.

For this train table, you won't need a whole lot more supplies.  Just a full sheet of plywood instead of a half, and a few extra feet of 1x6s and 1x3s and 1x2s.

Dimensions are shown above.


Shopping List

1 – sheet of 3/4″ plywood or MDF cut into strips 31 7/8″ wide x 48″ long (you will get exactly 3 strips) 1 – 1×6, 8 feet long 1 – 1×6, 6 feet long x – 1×3, 8 feet long x – 1×3, 8 feet long 2″ screws 1 1/4″ screws Finish nails Wood Glue Wood Filler Finishing Supplies All visible edges will be finished, so no need for edge banding on this one.

Cut List

2 – 1×6 @ 48″ 2 – 1×6 @ 30 3/8″ 2 – 3/4″ Plywood or MDF @ 48″ x 31 7/8″ 4 – 1×2 @ 17 1/4″ (Side Legs) 4 – 1×3 @ 17 1/4″ (Front/Back Legs) 2 – 1×2 @48″ (bottom shelf supports) 2 – 1×2 @ 28 7/8″ (bottom shelf) 6 – 1×2 @ 28 7/8″ (trim) 6 – 1×2 @ 44 1/2″ (trim) 2 – 1×3 @ 34 7/8″ (top end) 2 – 1×2 @ 48″ (top sides)

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


Step 1

Build the Box Screw the box together as shown above with 2″ screws and glue. The measure across diagonally, checking to see if the measurement matches the diagonal above. Measure the oppostite diagonal. One diagonal will be longer than the other. On the longer diagonal, push the two opposite corners together, decreasing the distance between the corners. This is how you adjust for square. When the diagonals match, you’ve got a square box!

Step 2

Put the Bottom on the Box This diagram really should be upside down. Just lay one of the sheets of plywood on top of the box and screw down with 1 1/4″ screws. Of course, you should always predrill your screw holes and use glue.

Step 3

End Legs Now just screw the legs to the short ends (these are the 1×2 legs) with 1 1/4″ screws and glue. Super easy. Keep things flush to the sides and top.

Step 4

Side Legs Now simply screw the side legs to the end legs and the box sides with 1 1/4″ screws and glue.

Step 5

Step 6

Attach Bottom Shelf Get some help on this one or turn the table on it’s side. Predrill holes and attach the bottom shelf. What I would do is to cut 2 1/2″ long spacers and screw to the inside of the legs on the underside (with the shelf in place) flush with the bottom of the legs. Then let the bottom shelf rest on the tops of these spacers as you predrill holes and screw the bottom shelf on. You could even leave the spacers in.

Step 7

Trim Now the fun part . . at least if you have a nailer. Attach the trim to the sides as shown above. You can use screws or a good ole hammer and nails too.

Step 8

Top Trim Now the top trim. The top trim does not get screwed into the 1×6 sides, rather the legs and the side trim pieces. What I would do is layout the tabletop pieces (see below diagram) and trim around them so you have a nice tight but removeable fit.

Step 9

Top Inserts And those are the top inserts I was talking about. Sand them to get a nice fit. You may wish to drill a little hole in the center (half on each insert) to have a spot to pull the inserts up with. For those of you concerned about sagging, I checked the deflection and you should be able to put 70 pounds on each inset with no noticeable deflection – that’s as much as any preschooler would weigh. But if you are going to stand on it, make sure you put a foot on each insert

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Refill holes with a second coat and let dry completely. Sand with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum with a soft bristled brush and wipe clean with a damp cloth. Prime and paint or stain as desired. Finish with a top coat for added durability. How about decoupaging a train mat to the bottom?


Guest (not verified)

Fri, 04/15/2011 - 17:04

ana so are there plans in the work for a sand/water table that i can throw outside for my 4 yr olds? this table is on my "to do" list, but it reminded me that i really need to build an outside table for our smaller yard! ;) Thanks!



Fri, 04/22/2011 - 14:50

I love your site!  You do amazing work and are an inspiration to me!  I am working on the lego table and just bought the kreg Jig Jr. after reading all the good things about it.  I am new to it though and am wondering what the best placement would be for the screws to put the legs on. Obviously I don't want to be able to see the holes but I can't visualize the best way to accomplish this.  If anyone has some good advise for a beginner I would really appreciate it.  Keep up the good work!


Thu, 06/09/2011 - 00:55

I would probibly build this but without a bottom shelf so that people can get there legs underneath it and also make the top on a hinge with an overhanging fold up extention for if I need more table space

Chris Wozniak (not verified)

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 10:41

We just built the Rhyan End Table, and used cabinet grade pine plywood. But the stain we used (dark walnut) kept all the grains a very light shade. What type of plywood did you use to keep the grains a dark color? Or is it more about the stain than the wood?

We want to build the lego table next, but we're worried about the grains being light again.

Thanks for your help, this site is the best!

Karis (not verified)

Fri, 02/03/2012 - 18:49

I have been wanting a game table/coffee table. Think this will be the perfect solution! I think I will chalkboard paint one side so we can keep score if needed and then flip it back over to a finished coffee table. Definitely adding the divider to the middle and leaving out the bottom shelf so we can sit around it to play games and put our legs underneath the table.

Thank you Ana!

Pia (not verified)

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 04:17

Hi, so I really love this table and want to make it, but a square version would absolutely fit best in my livingroom. If anyone has made this in a square version or really want to help me adapt the plans to a 40x40 table I would be super grateful!

Nolan (not verified)

Mon, 11/05/2012 - 06:01

Hi Ana,
I feel like a bit of a newb but I need your help! Your shopping list does not mention anything about 1x2's but the plan uses 1x2's. Also how many 1x3's are needed as the shopping list shows 'x' for quantity.
Thank you for the help!!


Thu, 12/26/2013 - 19:04

1. 3/4 inch MDF adds a LOT of weight to the base of the train table itself---requiring more screws. Next time I would use 1/2" instead.

2. As others have said, I skipped the bottom shelf which saved material and time.

3. If you read this far, you know to buy extra 1x2s.


Fri, 12/18/2015 - 07:04

I really want to make this table for my daughter. I have very little experience in projects like this but I think that it is straight-forward enough that I can be successful. My question is this: if the top trim (1x2 and 1x3) are flush, won't there be a 1/4" lip from the trim to the 3/4" plywood tabletop?