This is such a simple project- if you normally shy away from DIY stuff you might give this one a shot! As long as you can glue you can make this nifty little tray.
So I am going to give you a super simple way to make a little Lego tray and then another option that is a little fancier. The first option is about $5 to make and the second option is about $12 plus the price of the baseplates.
I wanted to make a Lego tray because my girls like Legos but they don’t play with them that often. Intially I had planned to use this little Ikea table we have that looks sort of like this:
They are about $20 and I thought it might be fun to glue the baseplates on the top. Well the girls really only play with Legos every so often so I decided I didn’t want to commit the entire piece of furniture. Plus I am one of those people that starts to get itchy when there is too much “stuff” out. I like it all tucked away out of sight when not in use- especially toys.
We actually went through a few revisions on this project and I am happy with the final product so I will share the mistakes we made as well so you can avoid those.
On a Lowe’s trip recently I noticed these little pieces of inexpensive pre-cut wood. These are priced at $4-5 for this size and it is a perfect square for a Lego tray! These are 24″ x 24″ in size so you really don’t even need to cut the board down. One note here is that you want the presanded plywood and try to get as close to 1/2 ” as you can. The one I purchased originally was closer to 1/4″ and it bowed slightly after paint and glue. If you buy the thicker piece from the start that will ensure the base stays flat.
So I just painted the wood white and then glued (4) baseplates to the board with Gorilla Glue.
Now there is a little trick to this. Fortunately my husband was in charge of the gluing and he noticed that if you stick the baseplates exactly against each other they won’t fit the lego pieces. You need just a teeny tiny gap so what he did was just center (4) baseplates and he laid some bricks on the plates and flipped it over to dot some glue on and then flipped it back over and adhered it to the plywood. If you lay the Lego bricks on the baseplates like we did below you will have exactly the right spacing.
Put something heavy on top of those baseplates to weight them down for about an hour after you glue. Big stacks of books or whatever heavy stuff you have in the garage is perfect.
Now you are ready to boogie!
What I liked about this was that it was so simple and super lightweight. I wanted something that can be tucked away into a closet or under the sofa. This for sure fits the bill. The children can easily carry this and you can even flip it over and use the back to do puzzles or games or a little dollhouse.
So I was perfectly happy with this little tray but then my husband, Tim the Tool Man, decided it needed some sprucing up.
So he trimmed down the sides of the plywood and then built a little frame around it to make more of a tray.
So the plywood that we originally bought was about 1/4″. We decided to glue a second piece to it to make it thicker and avoid the slight bow in the wood. Again, if you buy the thicker piece from the start you won’t have this issue to worry about.
We trimmed the piece of plywood down to fit the baseplates exactly. The base wound up being 20″ x 20″ after cutting.
Once that was done we cut a frame out of a piece of strip board that was about $2.00 at Lowe’s. Originally we used about 3″ strips and cut those to fit the base and then screwed them on top of the base. There were screws on the bottom of the base and I was concerned those would scratch up the floors and tables plus I wanted the base to be a flat surface for other use… soooo we redid it again ;).
This time I got 2″ wood and we cut (2) pieces to 21 inches and (2) pieces to 20 inches. Instead of resting the frame on top of the base and screwing it in, we rested the base inside the frame and used small finishing nails to nail it into the base.
I think it looks a little nicer now and the smaller sides make it more accessible for little hands.
Next, I just taped off the border of the baseplates, added a little wood filler to the holes and gave it another paint job. You might want to do a tiny bit of sanding too if needed. If you paint before assembling the pieces it will be a little easier.
After a quick coat of paint, I whipped out my Silhouette and cut out “Create” in vinyl and popped that on the side. If you don’t have a Silhouette you can always leave it plain, paint on the side or print images from the internet and mod podge those on.
And viola! All done! This actually rests perfectly on top of our little Ikea table and it is nice if the kiddos are in the middle of building something we can always pick this up and store it away without ruining their hard work.
The other nice thing is that you have a flat surface so you can work on carpet, or outside on the grass or on the sofa or anywhere you like.
The other benefit to this tray is that I can flip it upside down to get a perfectly flat surface. This is great for playing games, cars, dolls, puzzles etc… We always have a moveable flat surface for anything we would like to do.
I think this would be a fantastic gift for a little one if you are inclined to make more. I have looked in stores and it really doesn’t seem like they have many options for Lego trays and tables.
And here is the best news- the price breakdown:
- (4) Baseplates- $4.99 each from Amazon
- (2) Pieces of sanded plywood $5.00 each (again buy the thicker piece from the start and save a little money- we bought 2 because mine were too thin)
- 1 piece of trim to make the frame $2.12
For a grand total of $32.08 or just $12.12 for the materials if you already have the baseplates. I used paint we had on hand but a sample of paint is about $2.50. So this is a very inexpensive project.
This post is part of the 30 Days to a Funner Summer Series.
You can catch up with the entire series by clicking below:
- Day 1: Get Organized! How to organize children’s activity bags.
- Day 2: End of Year Surprises for Children
- Day 3: Strawberry Lemon Slushie Recipe
- Day 4: Homemade Hamburger Seasoning to AMP up your burgers
- Day 5: How to make Giant Bubble Solution
- Day 6: How to Save Money on Road Trips
- Day 7: How to Create a Summer Schedule.
- Day 8: How to make a GIANT water bed (this is so fun!)
- Day 9: Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
- Day 10: 8 Ways to Get Outdoors this Summer
- Day 11: How to Calm a Child’s Room
- Day 12: How to Make Movie Night More Fun
- Day 13: Watermelon-Lime Sorbet (just 3 ingredients!)
- Day 14: Ideas for Mommy-Daughter Dates
- Day 15: DIY Dip Dye Shorts for Children
- Day 16: How to Make Bouncy Balls that really bounce!
- Day 17: Caramel Corn Recipe (just like Cracker Jacks!)