Hey all! Whooee, that was a jam-packed weekend! I shopped (at the vintage mart, twice!) and met up some awesome readers and fellow bloggers, went to a party, attended a school event for the kiddo, had a girl’s night with one of the BFFS, went to a Lego event at the fairgrounds and hung with my stepdaughter and her boyfriend who were home on spring break. It was a whirlwind but fun!!
We surprised the Bub with a trip to the Lego event yesterday – to say he’s a a fan would be a huge understatement. He got started on Legos when he was only four (he could never be bothered with the bigger, toddler ones – he only wanted the smaller, big boy sets), and from that very young age was putting together sets with 600+ pieces by himself. It blew our minds but he’s been hooked ever since.
Which for use means a LOT of Legos. I mean…people. They are everywhere. I’m working on getting them corralled to the basement and succeeding…it’s slow but sure. And I think I finally found a storage method that works for us – I’ll show you soon. (It’s not what you think either.) ;)
Anyhoo, a couple years ago I got this Pottery Barn table off of Craigslist for the playroom:
My goal for two years now was to paint it and then cover the top with Lego sheets so it would be a big huge table for him to play on. Well, it moved downstairs about a year ago, into the almost-finished basement, and I swear to you I haven’t seen the top of it since.
We (he and I) were always throwing stuff on it and even when it was kinda cleared off he rarely sat at it and used it. He’d much rather be on the floor doing Legos (or games/toys), or at a higher table, like in the kitchen.
What’s funny is we gained all this additional square footage with the basement, but all I’ve done is get rid of stuff that was down there. I want the basement family room to be open and non-cluttered but when that’s the goal there’s less room down there than we thought there would be.
So a few weeks ago I came up with a plan. First part was to get rid of the table – it was a clutter-catcher and a beast. Huge. To set things up the way we wanted there was just not a spot for it so thankfully a friend took it off my hands.
The second part of the plan is this tray I came up with. I’ve made wood trays before – you just start with a base:
I got a piece of wood from the hardware store and had them cut it down to 30 inches – I wanted it that size for a number of reasons. First, I wanted it HUGE so the Bub had a ton of room to play on it. I also needed the Lego tiles to fit just right and they were ten inches wide.
I didn’t take pics of putting it together, but you can see how I made the tray in our family room here:
It was the same exact process for this one.
Initially I was just going to stain the sides of this one because I knew the bottom would be covered with Lego sheets. But at the last second I had an idea and stained the whole thing. I used the dark Kona stain I used for the top of the basement cubbies and then added hardware:
I got these from Lowe’s – they were inexpensive and simple but I wanted the handle to be really easy to grab.
We laid out the Lego mats and immediately the kiddo was playing:
He loved it! When this idea came to me I planned on gluing the tiles down, but later decided not to (more on that in second). They stay in there just fine. And at one point the width was just slightly under 30 inches so I had to cut down a couple of the Lego mats just a tad – but I just did it with regular scissors, so easy!
My boy was in heaven – the first set up was a basketball game because he’s absolutely obsessed with it right now (thanks to Daddy and the Big Ten Champs IU! Whoot!):
Legos are not cheap but we are happy to encourage his love for them (well, I’m not happy when I step on pointy ones in the dark, but whatever) – I love how his creativity comes out – he found pieces to make basketball “hoops”:
Did you know Harry Potter was a basketball player? Me neither.
So here’s the thing – I made this tray so it did something extra special:
Awww yeah bay-bee! It hides perfectly away under the sectional. Ours is really low to the ground and it still clears it just fine (I was prepared to raise up the sectional ever so slightly if I needed to). That is why I wanted the handles to be easy to grab.
It’s accessible from both sides of the sofa but he likes to pull it out in the open space behind. WE LOVE IT.
Another reason I made this so big was so we could use it for other reasons too – we can easily carry it over to the top of the ottoman down there so he can put sets together up higher. But we also use it to play games:
At first I thought we would remove the mats but there’s no need at all. They are a great surface for the game boards:
And I’m so glad at the last second I decided to stain the bottom too – because now we use it for movie nights, pizza dinners, snacks:
Again, we could just leave the mats on (it takes 30 seconds to take them off or put them back on) and most of the time we probably will. (With them removable that means I can wash them too!)
I love how big it is because it fits over the ottoman perfectly – it’s like it was made for it. ;) And it’s sturdy enough we can put our feet up on it and it’s not going anywhere.
So I was able to get rid of a big table that was taking up tons of space and not being used and replace it with a multi-functional one that we can hide away when we’re done:
The cost to make the tray itself wasn’t too bad – I think about $20 for the base and $4 for the handles (I had the trim pieces for the sides), which I didn’t think was too bad for that size. The Lego mats were the cost here – but we will use this and the mats for years to come so it was a worthwhile investment for me.
I love figuring out a way to make things work better for everyone in the family, but I’m most thrilled that the Bub loves it so much. He uses it every day.
So do you have a Lego-obsessed kiddo (or adult??) in your house? I gotta admit, even though they drive me bonkers some days they are fun to do – almost cathartic in a way. And I love seeing what my son comes up with!
Linking up at Traci’s Best of March party!