How to Make a Lego Table out of Wood
Did you like playing with Legos as a kid?
Legos are one of the best toys around. They are easy to use and help to develop creativity in kids because they can build anything that they can imagine. My kids love them and play with them for hours at a time. One of the worse things with Legos is that they are small and can be very painful to step on in a dark room. We looked at different kinds of Lego tables, but decided to build our own. You may be thinking that you have no idea how to build your own table, but with these easy to follow plans, anyone can do it.
Decisions to Make Before You Build Your Lego Table
There are several decisions that must be made before building a Lego table. The biggest factor to consider is that base Lego plates are 10” x 10” squares. Lego plates can be cut using a fine blade on a table saw or a circular saw, but depending on your saws skills, it may be easier to plan to use whole plates. I choose to use eight plates on the one that I built in a 4x2 pattern. In addition, it is a good idea to decide on whether you are going to paint or stain the table when you are finished. If you choose to paint it, you may decide to you use plywood or MBF for the sides.
Lego Table Supply List
The plans in the picture above use the dimensions of the Lego table that I built. If you choose to use a different number of Lego plates, they will have to be adjusted accordingly.
- (1) 24” x 48” x ½” Plywood or MBF
- (4) 1” x 6” x 8’
- (3) 1” x 10” x 8’
- (3) 1” x 4” x 8’
- (2) Pine case molding – Need better description
- (8) Lego Plates (10 x 10) – color of your choosing
- (2) ¾” wide x ¼” thick Straight Trim
- (1) Can paint or stain
- (1) Can high gloss polyurethane
- (1) Tube of wood putty
- (1) Bottle of wood glue
- (2) Tubes of epoxy – Better description
- (1) Box 1 ¼ wood screws
The following is a list of tools that are recommended:
- Table saw
- Miter saw
- Cordless Drill
- Air compressor with nail gun
- Bar clamps
- Right angle clamps
Building Your Own Lego Table
The instructions below are broken into the three main groups of parts and assembly: storage shelves, tabletop, and trim. Each section will have cutting instructions as well as assembly instructions.
Storage Shelf Cut List
We will start with building the storage shelves first, since they will serve as the legs for the table. Remember that 1x4s, 1x6s, and 1x10s measure different than you think. For one, all of those boards are only ¾” thick and not a full inch like the name says. In addition, all of the boards commonly measure a ½” short of what they actually say. For example, a 1x4 is actually ¾” x 3 ½”.
- Using the table saw, rip two 1x4s in half so that they are about 1 ½” wide. Do not worry if you are a little off one way or the other. This will create your shelf rail.
- Take those four boards over to the miter saw, cut them into twelve 22” boards, and set them aside. It is critical that these boards be very close in length.
- Take the 1x6s over to the miter saw and cut sixteen of them to 22”. Be sure to be accurate with your cuts.
- While at the miter saw, take two of the 1x10s, and cut eight of them to 22”.
Storage Shelf Assembly Instructions
It is very important to take your time when assembling the storage shelves. Assembly itself will not take that much time.
- Select four 1x6s and lay them next to each other. Play with them to see how they will be fit together. Once you are satisfied with how they fit, measure up 5 ¼” from the bottom on the far right board and make a mark. Draw a straight line across the board using a square.
- Take one of the 1x4s that have been ripped down to 1 ½” and place it just above the line. Drill a pilot hole on the far right hand side. Using 1 ¼” screws, drive one screw into the shelf rail to secure it. Measure down ¾” from the top of the 1x6 and draw a line. Grab another shelf rail, drill a pilot hole in it, and secure it right under the line at the top with one screw.
- On the next 1x6, run a bead of glue down the edge of the board and slide the board next to the first 1x6. Be sure that the tops and bottoms match up. Measure up 5 ¼” and draw a line. Make sure that the bottom shelf rail runs across the second 1x6 just above the line as the first one does. Drill another pilot hole in the shelf rail and secure it to the second board. Measure down ¾” from the top and draw a line on the second 1x6. Drill a pilot hole and use a screw to secure it. Repeat this step until all four boards have been attached. It is a good idea to go back and add a second screw to each 1x6. Go back and add a third rail that is 4 ½” higher than the top of the bottom rail.
- Clean off any excess glue with toweling or an old rag.
- Set this one aside and assemble the other three using the same instructions.
- Sand the front and back of each side. Try to make sure that where the 1x6s come together is smooth.
- Grab two 1x10s. Put a bead of glue on the edge of one of them. Take the other one and stand it on its side. Take one of the sides and line up the top, the side with the shelf rail that is ¾” down from the top, with the 1x10 that has the glue on it. The other 1x10 will support the bottom of the side. Make sure that the 1x10 with glue on it is flush with the side on each end. Take the right angle clamps and place one on each side of the top. Use the nail gun to nail the 1x10 in place. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the glue to set. Remove the right angle clamps. Grab another 1x10 and run a bead of glue down the edge. Align the 1x10 with the bottom of the side and secure with the right angle clamps. Make sure that the 1x10 is flush with the bottom and edges of the side. Use the nail gun to secure the bottom shelf in place. Repeat the same procedures to attach the middle shelves.
- Carefully flip over the side with the shelves attached. Run beads of glue down end of the shelves. Take another side and lay it over the top. Hold or clamp each in place and secure with the nail gun. Make sure all of the edges are flush.
- Carefully set the storage shelf aside and repeat the instructions to build the second storage shelf.
Tabletop Cut List
Now that the two storage shelves have been built, it is time to turn our attention to the tabletop. Using the table saw, rip the 2’x4’ sheet of plywood to a width of 44 ¼”. It is critical to cut as straight as possible. There will be trim that covers the edge, but if you are off too much, you will be able to see it in how the face trim lines up with the top trim.
Now it is time to attach the top of the table to the storage shelves.
- Spread the storage shelves apart until they are about the length of the top apart. Place the tabletop on top of storage shelves. Align the storage shelves so that they are flush with the edge of the table. They should be in an inch on both sides of the long side of the tabletop. Take your time and make sure that both sides are right. With the cordless drill, drill a few pilot holes through the tabletop and into the storage shelves without going all the way through. Drive twelve screws into the tabletop in each side. Make sure the heads of the screws are as flat as possible. You can even slightly countersink them; however, do not drive them through the top shelf.
- Take the Lego plates and arrange them in a 4x2 pattern on the top of the table. Center them in the middle. Using a pencil, draw a line around the outside of the plates to mark where they should go. One by one put epoxy on the back of the plates and set them into place. Once you have them all set, put heavy objects on top of them, and let them dry for an hour or two.
Now that the Lego table is assembled, it is time to add trim and either paint or stain it. When it comes cutting the trim, use the measurements that I provide below as a guide and not as gospel. If there are slight variances between my cuts and yours, the trim will be off and not look right. Cut the trim in the order that I list and remember the old adage, measure twice and cut once.
- Face Trim – Take the ¾” straight trim and cut two pieces to 24” and two other pieces to 44 5/8”. Put a bead of glue on the back of one of the short pieces and hold it against the side of the tabletop to cover the side of the plywood. Make sure it is flush with the top and nail gun it in place. Take one of the long pieces and use it to cover the end of the other piece of trim and it should slightly overhang the other side. Next, take the other 24” piece and after applying glue to the back, nail it into place using the nail gun. Take the final piece, put glue on the back, and nail it into place. The key to remember her is to make sure that the molding is flush with the top and sides of the plywood.
- Top Trim – Grab the pine case molding and cut a 45o angle from the end of the skinnier end to where ever it ends on the fatter side. From the skinnier side of the molding, measure 24 ½” and make a mark on the skinnier side. Cut a 45o angle in the other direction that ends at the mark. When you are done, the skinny side should be longer at both ends. Position it on the table, but do not nail it in yet. Measure the distance from the outside on the piece that you already cut down the long side of the table and figure the overhang that will match up to the next piece of trim. The length for my table was 44 5/8” from the outside of the first piece to the long side of the next end. Put that piece on the table and repeat the same process for the other two pieces. Remember to measure each piece and not just go with my measurements. The trim should butt up against the Lego plates. A great tip here is to cut the trim a little long and adjust it after you cut the other pieces. Once all of the pieces are ready, put a bead of glue on the back of one and nail it into place using the nail gun. Use a 5/8” nail in the nail gun so that you do not shoot through the top.
- Storage Trim – Measure the distance from the top of the storage shelf to the bottom for each of the sides of the storage shelves (8 measurements). Rip the remaining 1x4 into two strips that are 1 ½” wide. Cut those to length and attach to the Lego table using glue and the nail gun using 1 ¼” nails. Measure the distance in between the vertical trim that you just put on and rip the remaining 1x10 to that width. In my case, it was 8 ½”. One thing to think about here is that you may have to cut this a little wide and trim it up if your gap is not the same all the way around. Using the miter saw, cut sixteen ¾” pieces. Put a bead of glue on the piece and nail gun it to each of the shelf faces.
- Paint/Stain – Cover the Lego plates well and either paint or stain your table. I choose to stain mine. I also put on a high gloss polyurethane finish to protect it from wear and tear.
The best advice that I can give you is to read the plans several times before doing anything. Second, is to measure twice and cut once. It took me a few days to build this table from start to finish. Another great idea is to buy Tupperware containers that fit into the shelves to store your Legos.
© 2012 Eric Cramer