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.
He’s going to love it! I almost can’t wait to give it to him!
Total cost: $12!
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 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.
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.