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Our LEGO-filled life
If your family includes at least one little human being, chances are they are, were, or will be LEGO fans at one point or another. LEGOs are one of those things that are pretty much unavoidable, once you add a child to the mix.
And who can blame them? LEGOs are awesome toys that spark a child’s imagination, excellent for hand-eye coordination, and plenty of fun!
Oh, who am I kidding? LEGOs are not exclusively children’s toys. They can be fun for people of all ages (unless you are over 99 years old-it says so right on the boxes). While I am not much for sitting down on the floor to play (too old), I do love putting them together, and so does my husband.
Heck, even our 18 year old boy loves to play LEGOs with out 8 year old 😉
Unfortunately, part of owning a bunch of LEGOs is the inevitable mess that comes with them. There are just sooo many tiny little pieces! And gosh, are the painful to step on UGH
For quite some time, we struggled to keep those darn killers on check. Ms Emma has a small table where she plays with her LEGOs, but no matter how hard she (and we) tried, they’d just roll all over the place. Sometimes it feels like LEGOs are bouncy little things. And it’s usually your unsuspecting, tender, bare foot that finds it OUCH
We looked for many solutions, from storage, to LEGO tables, to just tossing the whole darn collection in the trash altogether. The problem is, most solutions are either too big for Ms Emma’s LEGO assigned area, too complicated to make, or too costly!
And since I am all about pinching pennies, I knew I had to keep looking.
How to solve the main LEGO problem
Finally, my husband decided to try to make her a tray. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive, but definitely functional. And he only used stuff we had around the house! I call that a win win 😉
How to make a VERY simple LEGO tray using leftover materials-DIY
Here is what you need:
- Piece of plywood for the board (your needs determine the size)
- Scraped pieces of wood for the sides (you could do anything from 1/2 in. x 1 in., to 1/2 in. x 2 in., no wider than that for comfort)
- Wood glue
- Nails and hammer
- Oil stain and sealer for finishing
- Paint brush
- LEGO baseplates (optional)
Here is how it went:
First, my husband looked for a good sized piece of plywood. We went with a 24 in. x 24 in. piece he found in our garage. It was leftover from another project. It turned out to be the perfect fit for Ms Emma’s little table.
You can choose whichever size you want to fit your needs. Just try your best to use your leftovers, or even stuff found on Craigslist, Offerup, local B/S/T Facebook groups, etc. You’d be amazed by the things people post for free on those sites. And as they say, one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure 😉
Next, find a few pieces of scraped wood to make the “lip”. We found some 1/2 in. x 1 1/2 in. in our garage. My husband cut (2) 24 in. pieces, and (2) 22 1/2 in. The 24 in pieces were used on 2 sides, and the shorter ones were jimmied in between the longer ones to make it an even square. After they were cut, he sanded them down to make sure there were no splinters that could harm our baby girl.
For the next step, we used some small nails, and wood glue. Hubby put some glue along the edge of the 1 1/2 in. x 1/2 in. pieces, and then stuck them to the edge of the board. He then nailed them in a few pieces for good measure.
To make sure the pieces stay all nice, and snug together while the glue dries, we used clamps. Clamps are nice little tools, used for many projects that require pieces to remain together for a period of time.
Finishing the project
After my husband was done putting this nice little tray together, I decided to once again rummage around for some oil stain and sealer. I wanted to give it a more finished look, without having to actually paint it. It turns out I had some oil stain leftover from yet another project, so I used that.
I also had a couple paint brushes (I love painting, so I like to keep some utensils handy 😉 ). Staining didn’t take long at all. I did a couple coats and called it good.
The finished project
All in all, this little project took very little of our time. Getting it all together took about 20-30 minutes. Staining it only took about 5 minutes. The wait time for the glue to dry completely, and between stain coats was a tad longer, but nothing crazy. Because watching glue/paint dry can be so boring, and such a joy killer, we just left the tray in the garage, and went on about our day. Then we checked back on it to see if it was ready.
When it was all nice and dry, we decided to also glue the LEGO baseplates we had. We set them snug to the corners, leaving a cross shaped area that is just plain plywood. We’ve thought about cutting some extra baseplates to fit into the cross shaped path, but I think it looks good like it is. It gives Ms Emma a bit of room to set up things like cars, boats, and the likes.
Ms Emma absolutely loves her tray! No, the LEGO problem wasn’t 100% solved. But I can say that this little tray solved about 90% of it, and we are all very excited and happy about it! Having the LEGOs on a tray, as opposed to just on top of a table, prevent those pesky little pieces from rolling off, and taking a hike. I think our next step will be to add a couple of drawer handles to the side, for easy lifting, and moving it, but that is only a plan. For now.
Tell me, do YOU have a LEGO problem at home? What kind of product, or DIY project have you tried to solve it?
Share away in the comments!