For Christmas this year we made Joni and Wilbur a very simple play table – let me assure you – if we can do it, anyone can! We are not creative and – apart from my husband splattering most surfaces in the entire house with green paint – it was a huge success: so, here is what we did!
We went to a DIY shop and bought some cheap MDF and a couple of smaller bits of wood for batons for the bottom … the great thing about having two toddlers is that we could do all this shopping with them.
We didn’t have much money to buy Joni and Wilbur presents this year so this was their main present – and it was surprisingly cheap to make. As the shop we were in had 30% off everything in store we also bought some tester pots of green, blue and black paint and we were on our way. I think we spent around £10.
We took the children’s Ikea table as the base of our table, the top we made for it sits on top of it, so the table can still be used as, you know, a table.
We placed the little pieces of wood (technical term) around the edge of the table and stuck them there so that the play table would sit neatly on top of the little ikea table … ta da!
Next we painted the table white so that the coloured paint would look good … then we drew out a road and pond. One evening whilst I was at the pub Chris introduced us all to the very annoying world of flocking and having green speckled sofas. He painted the table with green paint mixed with PVA glue and sprinkled green flocking on the top (this knowledge of flocking is from his super cool childhood painting miniature things for some sort of weird war game, apparently). I would be advisable to do what we failed to do and once the paint is dry brush off all the loose flocking … or you will be hoovering it up for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks. Also, when opening tester pots of paint do not do so on your cream sofa. Duh.
I then mixed some black paint with some white and added sand to paint the road. So now we have two different textures for the children to play on. The neat painting is mine and the messy painting is Chris’s.
Next came adding the lines to the road (I would paint them thinner than we did in the end if we were doing it again) and I made a questionable looking farm building out of cardboard and lollipop sticks – it does the job though!
And it was done – the last thing to do was to put some of the children’s toys ready on the table and wrap it up! It had a real wow factor on Christmas morning for the children alongside their smaller presents and they’ve loved playing with it since.
If we can cobble something like this together then you definitely can … so go forth and create very inexpensive toddler gifts!