The Zoey Blog: Random Summer Project #1 - Ikea Play Table Hack FINAL - COVER UNIVERSE EXPLORERS ORDER

Monday, July 22, 2013

Random Summer Project #1 - Ikea Play Table Hack

On our way home from swimming lessons we pass the coolest toy store around. It's called The Toy Corner and it's an independent retailer and full of the best, handpicked stuff.  It isn't always cheap, but the owner does a great job of stocking both the insanely priced amazeballs stuff, and totally affordable yet still awesome things.  It's a store you try to avoid because you just know that you're going to spend some money there if you drop by.  Today we dropped by.

Both girls went crazy playing with all of the display toys -- there's a wide selection of out-of-box toys all set up to get your play on and to see if you like them -- and it struck us how much fun the girls were having together and how also few toys they actually share.  They must have played together for no less than a half an hour, no distractions or conflicts, just playing. What we also noticed was what they were playing with...Playmobil...which is pretty wicked awesome stuff, and built for both toddlers and young kids, but we also noticed what they were playing on.  Naturally, the store has a bunch of those awesome play tables that you can only get from the, melamine, perfect play height deals that kids can sit and play at for hours, made just for them.  It was as much about the play tables as it was the, in a swarm of absolute genius...or marginal creativity, whichever... I decided to make one...or try.

Play table 1

We had two Ikea Lack side tables just sitting around, and a quick trip to Home Depot scored us a small sheet of melamine coated wood, two long 1/2" thick melamine coated 2"x8' strips, and some screws and wood glue.  I busted out some tools...a few of them still in the boxes they were bought in...'cause I'm so organized, and also because I bloddy well never use them...and then away we went with fingers crossed.  The trick would be to make something that actually looks cool, and to keep all of those crossed fingers attached to the hands that they came with.

Play table 2

With the deck as our outdoor workshop we measured out the melamine sheet and cut it to fit the top of the two adjoined Lack side tables.  I even remembered a few wood shop clamping myself a strip of guide wood to help keep my skill saw cut straight (I didn't cut the melamine on top of the Lack side tables, just to be clear)...and somehow I remembered to cut on the back side of the wood, not the visible outer side...oh yeah, I'm a nifty bastard.

Play table 3

I screwed the top on first and then started cutting the edging we wanted so that the kids toys wouldn't fall off the table.  Zoey helped me measure and passed me tools and screws and generally got in the way.  She was, however, pretty great at avoiding the power tools, the cords, and not messing with things that she was asked not to mess with.  She was, however, pretty f#$%ing bad at measuring stuff. Who'd have thought? Still, she's my daughter, I can't exactly fire her, so I had her measure the deck to make sure we had plenty of room to build our project.  She killed that task while I spread some wood glue on and drilled and screwed 'til my heart's content. Wait, that last part sounded bad.  She steered clear of my shenanigans to say the least.  My God she's a willing and co-operative child. How is it possible that she's ours?

Play table 5

Before I knew it...done. I bet the whole damn thing took us about 90 minutes and cost us about $20, not including the old Ikea Lack side tables. Those puppies are just $10 US ea or if you live in a college town you can find them on Kijiji or Craigslist for about $5 each.  Still, even at the most expensive, a sturdy $30 or $40 play table is pretty hard to come by. Plus, we got to make it together which pushes the whole enterprise to about fifty times cooler than buying anything in a store. AND, though Zory has no concept of it, Daddy doesn't exactly do this sh!t for fun.  This was a freak burst of creative energy that demanded power tools...not exactly my strike zone, or I suppose I should say more accurately, not exactly the kind of pitches I normally swing at.

Play table 6

When it was all finished we cleaned up the deck and then loaded the thing into the living room, where it will surely, on occasion, find use as an impromptu coffee table, kids dining room, and junk collector.  It was a crazy awesome little spontaneous afternoon project, and all because we stopped at the best little toy store within 100 km of home. Not exactly what I saw myself doing today but I'm pretty damn satisfied with the distraction, the effort, and totally stoked with the end result. Of course, we ended up walking out of the toy store with a bunch of crap we probably didn't need so I suppose we could, you know, theoretically, add that to the total project cost, but what's a table without cool new junk to play with?  Nuthin', that's what.  Write that down.

I bet you didn't think I was that handy, did you?  You should see me with paper mache and cardboard...I'm a goddamned wizard!  


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