This post shares the DIY lego table with storage that I made for my daughter! The multi-use table also includes a topper that flips around to turn into an art table. I’m sharing my inspiration and thought process, free instant download printable build plans, and some ideas for the interchangeable toppers.
How to Build a Toddler Lego and Art Table With Storage
Hey guys! Today I’m sharing the build plans for the Christmas present I made Ramona: a DIY lego table with storage. She’s been big in to Duplos lately, but since she doesn’t have a dedicated playroom, I wanted to make her a little piece of furniture that she could use to store the legos and build with them.
But as you guys know, I love pieces that serve multiple purposes…so this table isn’t just a DIY lego table with storage! It’s also a DIY kids art table with a paper dispenser. Because Ramona loves to color, and I was determined to make one table that would serve both purposes.
I hemmed and hawed over how I wanted to make this table, looking at tons of designs for lego and art tables online—both DIY and store bought—to figure out what I wanted to make.
We settled on a design that is very similar to the toddler water play table I made with my friend Anika last summer, but it takes things up a notch. Since this is going to be a longer tutorial, I’m going to break it out into a few different sections:
- Inspiration and my thought process behind the design
- Building out the top frame
- Building out the base
- Creating the lego table topper
- Creating the art table paper dispenser
- Adding an additional topper
1. Inspiration and thought process behind the DIY lego table design
There are a ton of DIY Lego table builds and hacks—a lot from Ikea, my favorite store—so I decided to start there first for inspiration. Here are a few great options that got my gears turning.
- My friend Vineta at the Handyman’s Daughter made some amazing little Lego tables with storage, and I’ve seen them all over Pinterest for years.
- Fab Art DIY has a bigger Ikea table that she turned into a Lego play table with storage.
- Erin Spain went a similar route with the Ikea Lego table she made for her son.
- This Lego table with a sliding storage top is soooo good, but it was just a bit too involved for me.
- I absolutely loved the portability of this Lego play option from Her Tool Belt.
- This Wayfair store bought Lego table with a removable top made me deeeeeeply happy. All that storage!
- Ultimately, I thought the Lego Ikea Filsat hack that Whisking Mama did appealed to me most. I ended up modeling the table after the Ikea Filsat table she used—especially since the Ikea Filsat play table has a topper that can be flipped.
And the art table part…
Next I moved on to the DIY art table part of this build. Since I knew I wanted to model my table after the Ikea Filsat table’s approach, I kept that in mind while looking at the different art table options.
- This adorable art center by Jaime Costiglio is to big for our space, but I love how it builds in space with
- attached shelving.
- I love how this wall-mounted, drop-down desk by Rain on a Tin Roof can be neatly tucked away on the wall when not in use. Plus it stores the supplies.
- This great art table by Making Joy and Pretty Things has a great solution for keeping the paper roll in place—and full plans for the table.
- This DIY art easel by Houseful of Homemade has a super easy way to mount and dispense a roll of paper.
- Anika’s DIY Life did a simple but cute art table with hinged storage.
- This chic art table isn’t a DIY, but it gave me some major inspiration. I loved the flippable top, the colors, the storage, and the overall modern design.
- And I loved this kids art table on Wayfair for the same reason. Lovely design, colors, and functionality.
With all of this in mind, I decided to get to work building out the top frame of my DIY lego/art table—this would be the main play area and the storage area. Since this post is broken out into different sections, I’m actually going to do something a little different than I usually do and put the supplies list at the end of this post. 🙂
2. Building out the top frame of the DIY lego table
I decided to work on building out the top frame first. That’s because I knew this would be the trickiest part, so I wanted to design the base around it. The top frame is what holds the storage bins in place, and it’s also what the interchangeable toppers sit down into.
With so many moving pieces here, you can imagine it took a bit of time to get the measurements just right. The top frame actually has three layers: the first is the innermost bottom layer that the storage bins sit down in. Then, attached to that is the middle layer that the interchangeable toppers sit down in. And finally, the outermost/top layer serves as the frame for the interchangeable toppers.
Constructing the layers
With that in mind, I used small trim pieces to frame out the plastic bins. Note that the plastic bins actually have little notches on them, so I had to trim those off with a blade. I cut the trim pieces for the innermost bottom layer and glue them together—just so they’d hold while I was laying everything out.
Once I’d finished those, I created a frame around them using 1 x 3 attached together using pocket holes. I also sandwiched a spacer between the smaller frames, but I was just using this as a spacer for now and not fixing it into place.
And once all of that was done. I got to work on the outermost/top layer by cutting and gluing pieces of ½ x 2 around the edge of the middle layer like this. (Note: I actually used two layers of ¼ x 2 glued on top of one another, so I’m calling it ½ x 2 for the plans.) Make sure to use a good wood glue and clamps to get a strong bond.
Adding reinforcements for the lego and supply storage
Once the entire frame was assembled and dry, I glued in the innermost bottom frames I created first. Then I used a hammer and small nails to reinforce them since these were load-bearing pieces. I ran small nails around the entire perimeter. If I could have used a nail gun, I would have, but I couldn’t fit it in at an angle.
I also flipped the entire frame over and added a piece of 1 x 2 into the middle of the opening–under and between the two smaller frames that hold each bin—using two pocket holes. Then I flipped the piece right-side up and glued the spacer on top of it to finish things off and give it a seamless look.
3. Building out the base for the DIY lego table
Building out the base was easy in comparison to the top frame! I used 1 x 3 and 2 x 2 to create the base. Also, I decided to give the legs a bit of an angle like I’d done on Ramona’s outdoor table. And I attached the aprons to the legs using pocket holes for a nice strong construction.
The only minor issue here was making sure the bins would have enough clearance to sit down completely inside the innermost frames. I needed to make sure they wouldn’t hit the aprons on the legs. I also needed to attach the base to the top frame using pocket holes, so it needed to be wide enough to screw the aprons up through the top frame.
Finishing touches on the table
I also decided to use white paint and painter’s tape to create a modern “dipped” effect for the legs. And I painted the interior of the base white to coordinate. There were so many different layers and pieces, I wanted it to look a bit more intentional and unified.
And to protect the unfinished wood, I gave this three coats of Varathane Water-Based Polyurethane in matte. Yes, three. I love this stuff—it is so durable, and since this table would be getting a lot of beating on from a toddler, I went with three coats. A paint sprayer made this even easier—thanks to Wagner for sending me this paint sprayer to try out on the project!
I wanted to use a paint sprayer for this project since there were so many little nooks and crannies to get in to. And I wanted to make sure I had an ultra-smooth, durable finish. I’ll do a complete review of this paint sprayer in the future after I’ve had a chance to use it on a few different projects, but for now, just know that I’m very happy with it!
4. Creating the DIY lego table topper
Now that the table was complete and I’d verified the bins fit like a glove, it was time to create the first interchangeable topper. I’d built in enough space so that we could use a ¼” piece of MDF for the toppers. And, here’s the kicker—make them not only interchangeable, but reversible! (Mike’s idea, I can’t take credit for that one.)
Mike used a circular saw to cut the MDF down to size for an exact fit. I’m including those measurements in the plans, but since it is such a tight fit and things can shift a hair while building, I recommend double checking the measurement for your build. Remember that you can always shave more off of the topper after you cut it!
After Mike cut the tops, I used a spade bit to drill a finger hole through the edge of the boards. I pained one using two coats of light gray paint and the other using two coats of a deep gray. These were just paint and primer combo latex paints we had on hand in the garage. (The light gray is the color of the DIY murphy bed, and the deep gray is the color of the accent wall behind the photo ledge shelving.)
Finishing and adding the lego plates
Starting with the deep gray topper—I also gave this one three coats of Varathane Water-Based Polyurethane in matte. I also used this finish Ramona’s dollhouse bookcase…and about a zillion other projects.
I chose the side I wanted to put the lego plates on and laid them out. Then I marked where to cut two of the plates to fit everything. I cut them on my miter saw—they cut pretty easily. Make sure to wear safety gear. Flying plastic shrapnel is NOT cool.
Since the corners of these base plates were rounded, I used sandpaper to round off the cut edges of the base plates so they’d match. It’s all in the little details!
Here’s a tip for lining the base plates up exactly. Use Legos. Like this. This ensures everything is as it should be. These are peel-and-stick plates, and I didn’t add any extra glue. I pressed the plates down one by one, checking after each one to ensure everything lined up correctly.
Then I did a bit of cheering and flipped the interchangeable topper over to make sure everything fit. It did, and it looked amazing! So I got to work on the other side of the table, the art table topper!
5. Creating the art table paper dispenser
I didn’t have much to do on the other side of this topper because I was leaving it blank. The main thing I had to do to create the art table was to come up with an idea for a DIY paper roll dispenser. I decided on an 18” white craft paper roll so it would cover the largest area of the table possible.
To attach the paper roll to the side of the table, I used a ⅞” wooden dowel and X. To keep things simple, I hung the wooden dowel from two pieces of cord. Then I added two small hooks on the underside of the table (predrilling holes first) that the cords would hang from. Easy!
6. Adding an additional topper for the DIY lego table
As of Christmas and writing this post, I haven’t quite finished the second interchangeable topper for this piece. It’s going to be a magnetic white board with letters for dry erase writing and magnet fun. The other side will be a roadway for cars. This is, if all goes as planned! I’ll update the post when I get it done so you guys can see. 🙂
Finished DIY Lego Table With Storage & Art Table!
And here’s the finished piece. We got a hearty “WOAH” from Ramona when she saw it 🙂 I’m really proud of how this piece turned out! Here’s to more fun projects in 2020.
Supplies for my DIY lego table with storage and art table build:
- Lumber: I used mostly poplar and pine for the legs, hardboard for the toppers. See downloadable build plans for cut list.
- Tools: Miter saw, KregJig K4, drill, orbital sander, circular saw
- Hardware: Pocket hole screws, hammer, and small nails
- Other: These plastic bins, single blade, wood glue, spade bit, clamps, assorted sandpaper
- Finishes: Varathane water-based polyurethane in matte, white paint, dark gray paint, painter’s tape, brushes or small rollers