{DIY} Coffee Table Play Top

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We flew out to Washington DC to visit my brother in-law.  Jesse’s family all flew out, so we were all able to spend it together.  It was a great trip with a very relaxed trip into the city.  Lucy is still a bit young for the Natural History Museum and slept through all the dinosaur bones…next time she’ll love it.   As for the flights, which I was totally dreading, they went very smoothly.  Some how, miraculously, Alaska Airlines was able to give us an extra seat for Lucy.  It made all the difference in the world.  I can’t even imagine how the flights would have gone if she didn’t have the car seat to be buckled into.  So I owe our Thanksgiving traveling success to Alaska Airlines! :)

Now we are back, and back to getting things done!

Remember a few years ago I did  The Great Coffee Table Switch-up, well it’s been switched up again!  Here is the living room with our coffee table, which sadly we moved out to the garage while Lucy was perfecting her footing.

Better Remade It’s been great having an open living room, but there is no where to set anything down.

Better RemadeAnd then there is the play table that my parents have Lucy for her birthday.  It’s a bit bigger though than either of us realized and this corner was really the only option.  I wanted it in a “public area” space where Lucy could play and I could keep my eye on her.  The down side is that it’s hard to get around the table.  And I have plans to build a china cabinet and together it’d be way to crowded.


I came to the realization that the best solution was a coffee/play table, but not a permanent one.  It’s the perfect height and I still need to have a grown-up coffee table when I have grown-up parties :)  So I decided a removable top was the perfect solution, and would be able to slide under the couch for storage.  AND it would protect the coffee table top from Lucy’s abuse and tendencies to bang things on it.

Initially I thought I’d have wood in the garage, but unfortunately I was about an inch low on length.  It’s a total bummer when you have to purchase new wood for only being an inch short.  So close!  I ended up having to purchase a 4×8′ piece of 15/32″ plywood.  Oh well, I guess!  I’ll have some for the next project.  I cut the plywood to about 1/8-1/4″ over the dimensions of the coffee table top to allow the play table top to just barely cover.  Then using molding I framed the plywood top to hold it in place.  I nailed it with a 3/8″ lip to help hold toys on the table.  And incidentally the lip has been helpful for Lucy to use when pulling herself onto the table.

Better Remade I Play top coffee table

Better Remade I Play top coffee tableAfter priming the top, the next step was to paint a landscape.  Now I wouldn’t recommend what I did next.  I used tempera paint.  I should have used a higher quality paint, but I had tempera paint, I don’t even remember why, and I didn’t want to buy more paint.  It was easy enough to paint with, but in some places got a little crackly.  It also dries a bit chalky.

Better Remade I Play top coffee tableThe chalkiness didn’t really matter luckily because I put about 3 coats of high gloss polyurethane over the top, and took the chalkiness right out of the tempera paint.

Better Remade I Play top coffee tableHere is is finished, and in use!

Better Remade I Play top coffee tableIt’s perfect for Lucy’s little wooden London set!

Better Remade I Play top coffee table  Better Remade I Play top coffee table

photoAnd it comes right off and slides underneath the couch!  Though it hasn’t actually come off…what’s the point?!

Better Remade I Play top coffee tableAnd because I need to keep it honest…here is our living room in reality.  It’s not fair to post photos of the house after a mad dash cleaning blitz during nap time ;)

photoIt’s a great easy solution for an inexpensive easily removable play table!

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