We made our own kid’s craft table that’s the perfect size for little hands, has tons of storage and is budget-friendly!
I’m taking a break from Christmas decor to share one of my favorite DIYs from the Shared Boys Bedroom we completed a few weeks ago – a DIY kid’s craft table!
I knew I wanted to have a specific space in their room designated to coloring, crafting and just making. I needed a place to hold their crayons, markers and boatloads of play-doh and assorted play-doh tools. Their coloring books needed a permanent home that wasn’t my dining room table or the floor.
I scoured the internet searching for a budget-friendly kid’s table only to be disappointed by how costly they could be! I’m talking several hundred dollars. I simply couldn’t justify spending that!
So, I designed my own table from the couple I really liked online. I needed storage for coloring books and shelves to store their other “making” supplies. And I knew I wanted a paper roll (like the ones from IKEA) that could be pulled across the top for easy coloring.
I set off to draw my design and went to show my FIL. He, being CRAZY awesome, agreed to make my little table!
Oh, and he agreed to write this post, too! Talk about the best guy, ever.
So, with that, I’m turning my little blog over to him to give the full tutorial on our kid’s craft table!
Every project needs a detailed, precise, drawn to scale blueprint, right? Yikes!
List of Materials (what used for)
- 2’ x 4’ preassembled laminated pine project panel (tabletop)
- 1” x 4” pine boards (tabletop apron, legs, book holder, paper holder brackets)
- 3/8” x 1½” pine slats (back stops for storage shelves)
- 1” x 8” pine board (storage shelf assembly)
- 1” x 2” pine board (storage shelf assembly)
- ¾” pine dowel (paper holder)
- ½” pine dowel (book holder)
- ¼” x 1½” poplar slats (paper hold downs)
- ¼” brass threaded inserts (paper hold downs)
- ¼” threaded knobs (paper hold downs)
- Rubber no-slip grips (leg bottoms)
- Titebond interior/exterior wood glue
- Minwax natural wood stain
- Polycrylic satin water-based wood finish
Since we were looking for a rustic look (isn’t everybody?), we chose to use regular pine boards, complete with the knots, checks, and other imperfections. You know, the good stuff!
You could choose to go with a better grade of clear pine, or even a different species like oak (if stain is desired), or poplar (good for painting).
We cut the tabletop panel down to the desired 42” length, then cut the 1×4 pine boards to length to create an apron to surround the top.
After sanding the surface and edges of the boards, we attached them to the tabletop using a bead of wood glue and the Kreg pocket screw fastening system. Using the pocket screws creates a very strong joint that is virtually invisible since the fasteners are installed on the underside of the boards, out of sight.
Instructions for individual components of the table:
1. table legs
Having determined the finished height of the table, we cut four pieces of 1×4 boards to length to create the legs of the table.
Two of the 1×4 boards were cut down to a width of 2¾” each, then attached to the other 1×4 boards using the pocket screw system, forming two “L” shaped legs with equal width sides.
We filled the pocket holes with wooden plugs and sanded the legs smooth.
2. side shelving
The side shelving unit has two shelves perfect for crayons, markers and play doh.
Cut the sides of the unit from a 1×8 board to the same length as the table legs. We cut the two shelves from the remaining 1×8 board and used pocket screws to attach them between the 1×8 legs.
The bottom shelf sits on two 1×2 boards, set back about ½” from the front and back of the leg.
Each shelf gets a “backstop” made from a ½” x 1 ½” pine slat, to keep the storage bins from sliding off the back of the shelves.
3. Book holder
We started the bookholder by cutting a 1×4 board to length for the bottom, and a 1×2 board for the top.
We decided to fit the bottom between the two 1×8 legs of the shelving unit, where it would slip under the ½” overhang of the bottom storage shelf.
Laying the top and bottom boards side by side, we drew locator lines evenly spaced across both boards. This allowed us to pinpoint where holes would be drilled to accept the ends of five ½” dowel rods. These dowel rods will serve as the side of the book holder.
Using a ½” Forstner bit (a what?!), drill five sets of holes for the five dowels, each ½” deep. The Forstner bit drills a clean edged, flat bottomed hole. Perfect!
Then, we glued the five ½” dowels, cut to length, in place in both boards.
Here’s the completed end shelf assembly with book holder attached.
4. Paper holder
The paper holder consists of a couple of short lengths of 1×4 pine and a ¾” dowel.
For aesthetics, and with little heads in mind, we clipped the bottom corner of the paper supports.
We routed grooves into the inside surfaces of the supports to accommodate a ¾” dowel rod. Cut the rod long enough to hold the paper roll plus a little excess on each end of the roll.
5. Paper Hold Downs
We fashioned paper hold downs on the top of the table out of ¼” x 1 ½” slats. Then, we determined a length that would be long enough to cover the width of the paper and allow room for the hold down knobs.
We drilled holes slightly larger than the threaded bolt of the tightening knobs on each end of the slats. After placing the slats on the tabletop in the desired final position, transfer the location of the holes in the slats to the tabletop by tracing through the holes with a pencil.
Next, we drilled holes into the tabletop at those points for the brass threaded inserts. There was a lot of trial and error with the size of these holes. They needed to be bigger than expected!
Drilling holes into the tabletop to accept the threaded inserts. Adding the tape to the drill bit sets the depth of the hole being drilled. When you get to the tape, the hole is as deep as you want it to be.
Turning in the threaded inserts until flush with the top of the table.
The components of the paper hold downs : the installed threaded insert, the 1/4″ x 1 1/2″ wooden slat with hole drilled slightly larger than the thread on the hold down knob, and the threaded knob itself
We took the threaded knobs and fed them through the holes in the slats, then turned them into the inserts until the slats were snug to the table. Sweet!
Once we had all the individual components constructed, it was time to assemble them into the final piece!
First, we sanded all surfaces smooth and rounded the corners over slightly. We brushed off and wiped the wood with tack cloth before applying a natural wood stain and multiple coats of satin finish polycrylic.
To make things easier, we applied the finishes to the leg and shelf assemblies as they were completed, and to the top and apron after everything was assembled. Then everything got a final coating of polycrylic just to be sure!
First, we screwed the legs to the inside of the table apron.
We decided to use screws only – no wood glue – to allow for future removal. As the boys grow, we will be able to replace these with longer leg assemblies, raising the table and keeping it functional for years to come!
The shelving unit is attached to the inside of the apron boards using 1 1/4″ coarse threaded Kreg screws.
We squared up the end shelf assembly to the tabletop before driving home the 3 fastening screws.
The entire bookholder assembly is attached to the back of the storage shelves (using pocket screws), and to the underside of the tabletop using the shorter 1 1/4″ Kreg screws. Always a good idea to check the length of the screws being used so there are no disasters!
For the paper holder, we drilled pilot holes through the table apron. Then, we glued and screwed the supports into place.
Getting there! Completed paper holder assembly! FIL used a router to create the groove in each bracket to hold the 3/4″ dowel in place. Adding the paper roll is as easy as lifting the dowel up and out of the grooves, then dropping it back in!
Last, we added rubber anti-slip feet to the bottoms of the legs. They will help to keep the table in place during furious crayoning and hand painting!
And, here’s the finished table!
The shelves are the perfect height for little bins of crayons, markers and play-doh supplies. And, the perfect height for little hands to reach (and clean up!!).
The paper roll is one of my favorite parts of the table. It’s so easy to loosen the paper holds on the table, roll a bit under, and secure the paper to the table. The kids can freely draw and color whatever they’d like.
I often leave the same section up for a while. I love seeing what they come back and add to their little drawings. It’s completely open-ended!
The chairs are from Walmart (linked in this post) and are the perfect size for both boys, with room to grow. Plus, they’re really, really cute!
Finally, the coloring book holder fits ALL of their books, which is entirely too many, of course.
While I love the style and function of the table, the kiddos are thrilled about it, too!
I’m so excited to have this table for the kiddos and so thankful to have a helpful FIL living so close!
Wishing you a joyful day!