Wooden Train Table Coffee Table

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 12/07/2010 - 19:51
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A wooden train table hidden in a coffee table with removeable tops to store trains, legos and lincoln logs!

I've been waiting.

Ever since my daughter was born, I've been waiting.

Waiting for her to out grow blocks and rattles.

And she did, but I found myself waiting again.

Now I was waiting for her to out grow play-doh and fisher price.

And she did . . .

But I'm still waiting.

Now I'm waiting for her to outgrow legos and lincoln longs and coloring books.

And it occurred to me the other day that while I'm waiting, my life is not.  As I continue to think, in just a few years, there won't be Grace's stuff everywhere, valuable time is passing.

After so many of you contributed ideas for gifts for boys, and many, many of you suggested lego tables, I designed one.  One like you see at a toy store.  One that shouts play table.  But after cutting the first board, I decided I don't want to wait anymore.  And while I'm building a lego table for my daughter, I'm also going to build a coffee table for myself.  Because I want a living room that both plays and looks like something I'm proud of.

And this is the lego table that I built. I promise.  It's a lego table.  Complete with lego mats and storage bins.

Well, actually, Lincoln logs on this side, legos on the other.  The top panels of the table are removable to hide ANYTHING in there - think trains, coloring supplies, books, laptops, video games and accessories, board games . . . it's really up to you.  The top panels also can be flipped over to hold permanently secured lego mats, train mats, chalk boards or even checker or chess boards!

I drew that one on, but you get the idea.

In mere seconds, you can go from kid table, to scraping all those tiny legos directly into a storage bin, flip it over, and you are back to sophisticated living space.  The top inserts can also fit easily under the bottom shelf.  The inserts also easily slide from bin to bin, so you can have access to both bins with one insert on the tabletop.

My lego table is highly inspired by Pottery Barn's Bailey Coffee Table, but if your style is more like Pottery Barn's Benchwright Table (like the one shown above), read on, it's a super easy modification to make the above lego table.  And if you love this idea, but perhaps a different style, please take a second to leave positive feedback so I know you like the idea, and will continue to develop plans for more lego tables hidden inside stylish coffee tables.  And the plans for the train table are here.

And what is the absolute best part about this table?  You will not believe how easy it is to build.

Dimensions are shown above.


Shopping List

1/2 Sheet of 3/4″ MDF or Hardwood Plywood cut into strips 15 7/8″ wide x 48″ long

2 – 1×3

3 – 1×2

1 – 1×6 – 12 foot long

2″ screws (self tapping wood screws)

1 1/4″ screws (self tapping wood screws)

wood glue and filler and finishing supplies

Cut List

2 – 1×6 @ 48″

3 – 1×6 @ 14-3/8″

2 – 3/4″ MDF or Plywood @ 15-7/8″ x 48″

2 – 3/4″ MDF or Plywood @ 15-7/8″ x 24″ (top inserts)

4 – 1×2 @ 17-1/4″

4 – 1×3 @ 17-1/4″

2 – 1×2 @ 44-1/2″

2 – 1×2 @ 12-7/8″

2 – 1×2 @ 48″

2 – 1×3 @ 18-7/8

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


Step 1

Build the Box for the wooden train table - Mark the sides of the box and predrill holes. Attach the ends and center to the box as shown above. Use 2″ screws and glue or 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws and glue.

Step 2

Bottom of Box - Now just screw the bottom of the wooden train table compartment to the sides and dividers as shown above. 

Step 3

End Legs - Now just screw the end legs on with 1-1/4" screws. I turned the whole thing upside down to do this and screwed the legs from inside to hide.   Also, I tapered the legs with a circular saw, but that’s purely decorative.

Step 4

Front and Back Legs Now screw the front and back legs to the box and the side legs with 1 1/4″ screws and glue. I tapered these too as shown above.  You could also use nails and glue to hide any holes.  Nail holes are much easier to hide than screw holes.

Step 5

Step 6

Optional False Drawers To make the coffee table look like it has drawers, just set your circular saw blade to 1/8″ and make cuts as shown above. Hold off on the knobs until you are done with the table. Make the cuts on both sides, on opposite sides.

Step 7

Top Supports Now just screw these on flush to the top with 1 1/4″ screws and glue

Step 8

Top Sides Now simply screw the top sides to the top as shown above.

Step 9

Top Ends Now simply screw the top ends on as shown above. If you have a Kreg Jig™, you can also screw the end to the sides for added support.

Step 10

Tops Check the fit of the top inserts and sand as needed to insure that the inserts fit properly. If needed, drill a hole in the inserts to use as a handle to pull inserts up with.

Step 11

And here are those mods for the other version. Don’t taper the legs and just add a middle legs, and trim out the bottom of the box and shelves. It’s really simple.

Step 12

I won’t say much more than I’ve been at this one for three days with a hair dryer . . . but the color is dark walnut. I used Elmer’s wood filler and it took the stain quite well. Thanks for reading! I hope you take a second to let me know if you like this design, so I can continue to post more plans that are similar. Mom to mom, this is a must make.


AbbeyLeigh (not verified)

Tue, 12/07/2010 - 20:03

This is amazing!! Today was my birthday, and this is a perfectly timed-present, as I sit here staring at the plastic lego bins on my living room floor. This will be built by the weekend!! Thank you for what you do!

Ginny (not verified)

Tue, 12/07/2010 - 20:04

That is absolutely amazing! I LOVE how you did this!!! I don't have any small children at my house anymore, however, I do have a grandchild on the way... :D
(You are inspiring and amazing! I think that what you can do is astonishing!)

Jena (not verified)

Tue, 12/07/2010 - 20:06

Im not a mom, but I LOVE it, this coffee table could be used for so much more! And my husband cant wait to have some boys to play with legos again, his mom wont give the old ones up, LOL :( Again absolutely love it!

Ana White (not verified)

Tue, 12/07/2010 - 20:06

Hillary, next up is definitely a large train table that turns into a coffee table or how about an upholstered ottoman coffee table? I'm so excited about this design. Thanks for commenting! Ana

Diem (not verified)

Tue, 12/07/2010 - 20:07

This is a fantastic design. I LOVE it. I don't even think you can buy something like this. I have been perusing your blog for a few weeks and am itching to build something (this might be too complex for a first try however). Thanks for the inspiration and how tos. You can probably market this coffee table - I bet lots of people would want to buy it.

kellyh88 (not verified)

Tue, 12/07/2010 - 20:08

Wow, this is ingenious!!! I love it! I was just thinking my son needs a Lego table but that we don't have room! This way I get two pieces of furniture in one! It's gorgeous and very sneeky, keep the great plans coming!