Introduction: How to Make a Functional Children's Coloring Table

Picture of How to Make a Functional Children's Coloring Table

We have a two years old daughter, and she loves to draw. We found it hard not just to clean up the pieces of paper after her, but also to keep her involved in drawing without getting frustrated every time the paper slips away, or the crayons fall off the table. Children's  tables can run up to $500 and more, so I decided to make my own table under $50, using mostly ready made objects.This table creates a fun environment for my daughter to draw, write and play! It's a great addition to any kid's room or play area.
 
Materials I used:
One Ikea Lack table ($7.00)
One 24" x 24"x1/2" sheet of plexi glass ($9.99)
One roll of 3M double sided tape (1" wide) ($6.99)
Two 3/8" wood dowels from Michel's ($0.59ea)
One roll of banner paper 30" X 52' from Michael's ($2.99)
Scotch tape
Crafting glue(any brand) 
Two plastic 3/8" knobs

Step 1: Step 1

Picture of Step 1

For this project I decided to go with the Lack table that Ikea sells for only $7.00 It's cheep and durable, but you can apply this method to almost any table. I chose plexi glass because it doesn't draw the child's attention to it, but you can use a variety of materials. The job of the plexi glass is to keep the paper from moving on the surface of the table and to keep the crayons from rolling off.

Prior to starting this project please use proper safety gear!

First I measured the top of my table: 21 5/8" x 21 5/8".

Then I measured the distance in between the legs of the table: 17.5"

Step 2: Step 2

Picture of Step 2


 I cut a piece of 1/2" plexiglass that fits perfectly on top.( 21 5/8" x 21 5/8" x 1/2")

After that, I measured the distance between the legs of the table, which was 17.5", and cut a 17.5" x 17.5" square hole in the center of the plexi glass.

To cut the hole into the plexi glass I used my drill gun with a 1/2" hole saw and drilled 4 holes into the inside corners of the 17.5" x 17.5" square. That gave me enough space for fit my jig saw blade, and also gave me rounded inside corners, that make the surface look nice.

Step 3: Step 3

Picture of Step 3

Clamp down the plexiglass and try to cut as straight as possible.
Using a jig saw I cut on the inside perimeter of the plexiglass, from one hole to the other, until I cut the center piece out.

Step 4: Step 4

Picture of Step 4

After cutting the center hole out, I used a router with a 1/2" 45 degree bit around the inside and outside perimeters to smooth the edges.


Step 5: Step 5

Picture of Step 5

Next, I unscrew all 4 legs of the table. I measure 3" down from the screw end, and make a red mark in the center of the legs. My dowels are 3/8" wide, so I used a 25/64" drill bit to make my holes. I drilled completely through only on 2 legs, and on the other 2 legs I had only one penetration.
After finishing drilling, I screwed the legs back onto the table, making sure I can slide the dowel through one leg and have it stop in the other on both sides of the table.

The job of the dowels is to hold the reels of paper.
You also have the option to use both sides of the paper by flipping the reel.

Step 6: Step 6

Picture of Step 6


I marked and cut my dowels at 21.5". 

I marked and cut my reel of paper at 17 3/8".

I slid reel of paper in between two legs and pushed the dowel through the reel to support it, leaving the dowel sticking out 1/2".

On both of the legs I glued 2 plastic knobs to help support and turn the reel.(You don't have to use a knob, but I would suggest to make it kid friendly)

Step 7: Step 7

Picture of Step 7

I cut 2 strips at 21 5/8" long of  the 3M double sided tape and stuck it on the back of the 2 opposite sides of the plexiglass then unpeel the other side of the tape and carefully place the plexiglass on top of the table( make sure not to stick it on the side where the paper is fed).

After sticking the plexiglass on the table, I fed my paper under the plexiglass across the table and secure it to the other dowel with scotch tape.

Step 8: Step 9 - Final Product

Picture of Step 9 - Final Product

Your child should love this table. I know ours does!

Comments

CreativeGeek (author)2013-11-08

Actually, make that a bit higher, it would be a good art table, period.

xenomachina (author)2011-01-14

I was at Ikea today and discovered that they have rolls of paper that are 18" wide. It's $5 instead of $3, but the roll is about twice as long so I think the price is comparable, and you wouldn't have to cut off so much.

It may even be possible to avoid cutting the roll entirely by instead shaving a little more than 1/4" off the inner parts of the legs where they meet the roll.

To find the roll look for "MÅLA" at Ikea. It's for a child-sized easel, which could be a nice complement to this drawing table.

Eh Lie Us! (author)xenomachina2011-01-15

Neat! Great for kids and big kids alike. I made a very simple version of this for my garage when I'm kicking around design ideas. I get my roles of paper from the local newspaper company. They have end rolls of news print 2ft (0.6meters) across. They practically give them away. The only challange is with cutting it once i'm done with a sketch. I'd like to be able to rip it down like a piece of tin foil but unfortunately, it's more cooperative being cut lenght-wise. Haven't installed 'teeth' or a clever (safe) blade to it yet.

Parabola949 (author)2011-01-14

Hah funny enough I bought this exact table the other day at wal-mart. This is brilliant! I know what I'm doing this weekend...

Good work!

primadiana (author)2011-01-13

Where did you get the table?

BADMANU (author)primadiana2011-01-13

I got the table from Ikea. It's a "Lack" table. They also make a wider version of the same table...if you have twins :) Check it out!

digitalmonkeyman (author)2011-01-13

Definitely one of those projects that makes you say, "Why didn't I think of that"?
Superb, I'm grabbing my 40% Coupon from last weeks paper and I'm going shoppin'!

BADMANU (author)digitalmonkeyman2011-01-13

Thanks for your comment! It's true, it's an easy project and fairly cheap to make. Good luck!

srsantafe (author)2011-01-13

I´m gona have a kid in 2 months and this is a cool thing for her, thanks for the instructable

BADMANU (author)srsantafe2011-01-13

congratulations on your baby! This is a great table. We move it around the house so our daughter can be in the same room with us, it's great!

xenomachina (author)2011-01-13

Very nice! My son is 2, and we've been thinking about getting a craft table for him. I may end up building one of these instead.

BADMANU (author)xenomachina2011-01-13

thanks a lot clgonsal! It's really easy to buid. Once you start, you get creative as you go.Good luck!

dreliuhernandez (author)2011-01-13

I'm diggin' the paper-holder/roller idea. Well done!

BADMANU (author)dreliuhernandez2011-01-13

Thanks! the thing with the roll of paper is that nothing gets waisted, your child can color on every inch of paper, and when on side is done, you can turn it around.

canida (author)2011-01-12

This is awesome!

BADMANU (author)canida2011-01-12

Thanks so much canida!

BADMANU (author)2011-01-05

THANK YOU ALL

GOOD IDEAS IN A BAD ECONOMY :)

l8nite (author)2011-01-04

thats GREAT ! when my kids were growing up we had a coffee table covered in white formica, even "permenant marker" washes off with a little elbow grease and as somewhat of an artist myself I was always doodling or sketching right on the table along with the kids. I hope your kids have years of fun with your project

craftyv (author)2011-01-03

Great instructable and very good idea.

DELETED_jorgegunn (author)2011-01-03

wow so easy and very adorable i think its way better than the expensive ones its just the right size for smaller spaces and keeps it simple. Amazing. That one used your Noggin.

ChrysN (author)2011-01-03

Nice!

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