Tip Tuesday: Coloring Book Table

Tip Tuesday ~ Our Cozy Den

Tip Tuesday: Coloring Page Table ~ Our Cozy Den

Does anybody else have a toddler that colors like a tornado? I came up with this solution to stop the ripped pages, and scribbles all over the book. Now all my kids love it, even the older kids! I use masking tape, which I get super cheaply at the dollar store. Then, I swap it out every few days to keep it new – and it’s a great way to get rid of those old coloring books that are mostly colored!

DIY Train Table

train table

My littlest guy Finn is almost 2 and a half – and he loves things that move: planes, trains, & automobiles. We have a train set from when Connor was younger that has been put away, and I am going to get it out for Christmas for Finn. New to him, cheap for me! I wanted to get him one of those fun train tables to go with it, but I was flabbergasted at the price. Like this one and this one! Yikes!!! My Christmas budget is $40 a kid for ALL of their gifts, so obviously I can’t spend hundreds on just one gift. Even buying them used is usually $75 or so. On top of that, those tables are really small. FAR too small for all of our train pieces.

So the wheels started turning. I knew I could come up with a better and cheaper table, like when I made Connor’s Lego table several years ago.

We have an extra twin bed in Finn’s room right now. When we moved, we didn’t really have anywhere else to put it, as his room was the only one with any extra space. So I decided that I thought we could turn that into a train table for a few years, since it is just sitting there unused until Finn gets older.

I sent my husband to Lowe’s to get a piece of wood for the base. It cost about $12.

First, Byron cut the board to fit the size of the bed.

First, Byron cut the board to fit the size of the bed. (See Finn in the background? Oblivious that this is for him!)

Then, I painted the board green with leftover paint we had sitting around.

Then, I painted the board green with leftover paint we had sitting around.

Next, I painted on details: a river, desert, road, forest, and some fun little animals and signs.  I also scored the end and shoved it in nice and tight, to both cover up an opening by the headboard and make sure the board was very snug!

Next, I painted on details: a river, desert, road, forest, and some fun little animals and signs.
I also scored the end and shoved it in nice and tight, to both cover up an opening by the headboard and make sure the board was very snug!

A sign pointing to "Finnville". He won't get it now, but he'll think it's neat once he can read!

A sign pointing to “Finnville”. He won’t get it now, but he’ll think it’s neat once he can read!

The finished result! This is only about 1/3 of our trains, but I was trying to snap a pic very quickly so the surprise wasn't ruined before Christmas.

The finished result! This is only about 1/3 of our tracks, but I was trying to snap a picture very quickly so the surprise wasn’t ruined before Christmas.

He’s going to love it! I almost can’t wait to give it to him!

Total cost: $12!

Art of the Month Club

Kids' Art-of-the-month Club ~ Our Cozy Den

I don’t make all of our Christmas gifts. There are some years I don’t make any. When I do make them, it tends to happen in mass production, because it’s easier and cheaper that way, as many craft supplies are sold in multipacks.

Here is one of my favorites:

Art of the Month Club

I made a wooden plaque for each of the 4 grandparents. I got this at Hobby Lobby in a week where the wood stuff was 50% off. I painted them and put a nice piece of scrapbook paper in it, then added chipbook letters and some 3D embellishments.

It said our family’s last name after L’il, but I blurred that out.

It was accompanied by a certificate that said

Merry Christmas! Your gift this year is one that you will continue to receive all year long~  This certificate entitles [Grandparent’s name] to a one year subscription in the [last name] Family Art-of-the-Month Club. Each month, for the entire year of 20xx, you will receive an Original piece of artwork for you to display on your custom-made Art-of-the-month Club frame. Included with your gift is a bonus piece of art to display in December 20xx. These Originals are made by such well-known artists as [child’s name] and [other child’s name].

It has definitely been one of my better ideas. The grandparents love getting art from the kids every month. And the kids are doing tons of crafts anyway, so I feel like these can be shared and I don’t have to throw them away. The plaques themselves cost about $12 total (to make 4), so my only cost has been postage throughout the year.

DIY Lego Table

lego table

My son’s 5th birthday is in 2 weeks. I was able to get a ton of Legos for him for a steal at Christmastime during amazon.com‘s Black Friday deals. I really wanted a Lego table to go with them, but finding the average price range to be over $100, I wanted to find another solution.

I decided to make him a Lego table, instead!

First I started with an old Diego table that he had outgrown. (He didn’t really fit under it anymore while sitting down.)

Then, I discovered that an old under the bed bin I had fit perfectly between the rails that hold the legs to the table.

With a little ledge on the side that could slide into tracks…

So I took an old picture frame out of the Goodwill pile, measured the space between the table legs, and cut the long sides to make “tracks” for the drawer.

Then I predrilled the holes in the frame, and attached it to the table with regular old wood screws that I had lying around.

Next, I painted the whole thing with 4 coats of my Valspar free paint sample (the color is cracked pepper). Then I went over it with 3 coats of polyurethane, which I also found in my garage. (I had never seen it before, I’m pretty sure the previous owners must have left it here.)

I wasn’t too concerned with the top, because that was about to get covered up anyway.

I was able to get four 10″x10″ Lego base plates for free at Toys R Us, because the grandparents swiped my Toys R Us rewards card while they were Christmas shopping, and I had $50 in rewards bucks to spend as I pleased. These base plates were only $6 each. I connected them with Legos, to make sure that they would be lined up properly while they were being glued on.

Next, we picked up some Liquid Nails Construction Adhesive from Lowe’s ($1.70).

And applied that to the back of the connected Lego bases with a caulk gun.

Then, we carefully turned the bases over and applied it to the table.

Lastly, I slid the drawer into the tracks, and dumped in all the Legos.
The final result: a Lego table that cost me $1.70!
I’m so excited to give this to him! I think I’ll probably play with it as much as he will!
UPDATE: Just wanted to say that it has been 3 years since I made this table, and the Liquid Nails is STILL holding strong. Not a single corner is peeking up, and it has been undergoing heavy daily use. I’m talking 2-3 hours of use per day. I even made a second pink Lego table for my daughter. Hope that helps some of you!