Wednesday, December 29, 2010

DIY Thomas the Tank Engine Play Table


John-Heath loves Thomas the Tank Engine. In fact, he loves any and all things that roll, fly, glide, or sail. Each and every time we visit a local Barnes and Noble he immediately goes to the Thomas table in the children's section. After Christmas last year I regretted that Santa had not brought him one. He, John-Heath, had umpteen wooden engines and cars but none of the tracks and no table on which to put them. I decided that needed to change this year.

Some might say at 5 he is getting too old for a Thomas table. To that I say hog wash. I think he will still get many years of enjoyment out of his table. And when he no longer wants to play with trains he can use the table to build Lego sets.

The only problem we saw in getting him one of the actual Thomas tables was the height. We felt a custom built table would serve him better, so we helped Santa build one. Luckily, we have a very large storage room (which use to be a metals/carpentry class) within our school in which the work could be done in secret.

We picked out paint and lumber (made of poplar) at Lowes. The length and width had to be built according to the dimensions of a Thomas playboard I had ordered from Barnes and Noble, but the height was made to fit John-Heath.
John built the table (using an "up close" picture of an actual Thomas table) and put the primary coats of paint on and then I spent a few hours Christmas Eve night putting on the final paint touches, including a clearcoat on top of the blue.
This is how much John had finished prior to Christmas Eve.

Using black Sharpie Opaque paint pens found at Michaels I drew on some stone on both ends and continued it around the legs of the table.


Then I mixed the darker grey paint I purchased with some water to make a "glaze" (I was out of real glaze) and patted it on using some old socks. All of the outer table (the grey part) was glazed, but I only did a little around the tunnel on the inside of the table.

The glazing is all done.

And, one more time, the final product - complete with the Island of Sodor playboard I had ordered.
I chose not to paint/draw on any of the trains, tracks, clouds and trees on the blue sides to keep it from looking too babyish should he outgrow the trains and decide to use the table for some other projects. I would like to say we got off cheaper by not buying one from the company but it came out about the same, if not a little more costly. Lumber's high, ya'll. I was honestly shocked at just how high. But, it's more appropriate for his size and, I believe, far sturdier so I can't complain.


This has to be our favorite project of the year, because it brought so much joy to our little boy.
P.S. I don't have a pic of this, but the inside of the table is inscribed To John-Heath from Santa. 2010.
P.S. An interesting side story...by the time we went to school to get the table around 10ish that night (after the paint had dried) it had already begun to snow - heavily. As we were in the school a police officer, who had seen our truck tracks in the snow while making his rounds, stopped to question us on our business inside a school at such a time. Thankfully, he believed us when we told him we were both teachers there. He even helped John load it onto the back of the truck.
I'm linking to...

Carrie @ Dittle Dattle for Amaze Me Monday
Visit thecsiproject.com



7 comments:

Bella Michelle said...

Wonderful!!!! I know your little man will enjoy it so much.

Lissa said...

We have been contemplating building one of these as my son LOVES Thomas too. Great job!

Christine said...

that table is so cute! great job.rec

Farmchick said...

Fantastic job! I miss the days when my son played with his Thomas trains...

Ashley said...

You did a great job! My one and a half year old is just starting the fascination with trains. As I type, he is sitting in the floor rolling his trains around. I bet your little guy will really enjoy playing with it!

Vanessa said...

Oh this makes me want to cry thinking about my own sweet boy playing with trains every single day! He is 7 now and doesn't play with the train table anymore but I just can't bring myself to pass it along. I became an expert track builder and we spent countless hours with it! You did such an awesome job on the table and I love that you customized it to his height. I agree that they always seem so low. Encouraging more playtime with trains is so smart and he will always treasure it!
Thank you so much for linking this up to the party Tyla and I hope you have an absolutely wonderful New Years!
Vanessa

Carrie @ Dittle Dattle said...

Aren't you so clever! I built one for my son (years ago) but I didn't get all fancy with the painting like you. ha ha

You "AMAZE ME"! Thank you for linking up to the "Amaze Me Monday" blog party!!