So, I've been enjoying some quality Pinterest project time lately with the rainy weather we've had. I saw this a few nights ago and fell in love with the idea. Seems like every little boy I know at some point goes through the train phase; I had no intentions of Sam falling in love with choo-choo's but he and Mary Ella both love them. We've been given some of the magnetic Thomas trains and have collected a few other 'off brands' and I recently bought them 2 small boxes of generic wooden tracks (you can get 6 pieces in a box at Christmas Tree Shops for around $3.) If you do go and buy the tracks, make sure you get twice as many curve pieces as you do straight pieces! I had to borrow a couple curves from my neighbor Lindsey because I couldn't make the track connect all the way.
Anyway, I knew I would never buy a train table, or at least not one of the huge rectangle ones; they are just too bulky for my house and my OCD-ness with toy organization. Now, I did see a small square one at Christmas Tree Shops for $49.99, which I thought about getting for Sam's birthday. But then I decided to type in "DIY train table" on Pinterest just to see what was out there. And one of the first things that popped up was this under-the-bed train table:
SCORE. How great is that?
Now, I didn't actually click on the pin to see how she made it; I just assumed it was a cork bulletin board and so I went out and bought one at Hobby Lobby for $12.99 (and used a 40% off coupon, of course.)
She actually went a more expensive route and used a piece of plywood, some cork tiles, and some molding for the outside. Hers was about $50 so I am glad I made the mistake of thinking it was a bulletin board because for $50 I could've just bought the actual train table from the store! But you can do it however you want. (Hers is definitely bigger than mine; I think her plywood was 4ft x 3ft and this bulletin board is 2ft by 3ft.)
I used regular acrylic paint and painted the border red and then painted a blue pond and filled in the rest with green grass. I added some brown 'rocks' to surround the pond. We don't actually have any of the train track accessories (tunnels, stations, etc) and I knew I didn't want this to get expensive so I just dug through the kids toy bins and pulled out stuff I could use... for instance...
The train station. What? Looks like a dog house? No, silly. It's a train station. (Big Lots; comes unfinished and ready to paint, maybe around $4? You can also find them at Hobby Lobby and Michael's.)
The blue 'columns' on either side of the station are plastic 'nails' that went in one those hammering toys of Sam's. We had actually lost most of the nails anyway so it only made sense to recycle the ones that were left.
That turquoise colored tunnel is just a paper popcorn container turned upside down and painted; I cut the doorway out of it.
And the lovely pigs... they are actually breakable and they came from America's Thrift Store in a 'grab bag." In case you didn't know, almost all thrift stores have aisles with what I call 'grab bags;' that is, just plastic bags of random figurines or toys or stuffed animals. You can find some real treasures on these grab bag aisles if you look hard enough. (For instance, Mary Ella got the Fisher Price "My First DollHouse" a year ago for Christmas; the actual furniture sets you can buy to go with that dollhouse are over $10 for EACH set; by the time you bought one for each room you'd be out some serious dough! But I found her a grab bag of dollhouse furniture at the Big Saver for $.99. Score.) So, back to the pigs; Mom bought these on one of our thrifting adventures. A whole grab bag of breakable pigs. So I hot glued these hams to the train table. That way brother Sambo cannot pick them up and throw them around. They are now the permanent residents of this little train town.
This tunnel and plastic fence is from a tractor set Sam got for Christmas. I glued them down too. :)
The Mickey light post came with a Mickey train we got for Christmas and the yellow 'platform' underneath is just a block from who knows where.
Sam woke up from his nap and hasn't stopped playing with the new train table yet.
He is not happy about not being able to dis-assemble the wooden tracks and as you can see in the picture above has already ripped one of the blue columns from its post at the station, but hopefully he won't cause any more destruction! Ha! Overall I'd give this project an A+, especially for the price and how easy it was to put together. Yay for toys that no longer take up space or cause Mommy to bend over 80 times a day! (And thank God for glue guns.)