DIY Lego countertops

We built our son a Lego table a few years back. It was simple enough, with a single shelf to hold a plastic storage bin with all of his pieces. But do you know what happens when a child continues to want nothing but Lego sets for every birthday and Christmas?

A single, modest Lego table no longer cuts it.

This LEGO table was great … for a while.

We realized on Boxing Day that we needed something bigger — immediately. Our entire dining room table was covered with brand-new creations and the table in his room was already overloaded.

So, a new Lego solution jumped to the top of our project list, and we went upstairs to measure his bedroom.

The ideal wall was 15 feet long, so we decided to frame out the bases for two counters that would be six-and-a-half feet long. My husband put these together with 2x4s with sheets of meranti plywood to hold slim plastic storage drawers.

Our son was using a wheeled contraption with drawers to colour-code his pieces (formerly my scrapbook paper organizer) so we wanted to reuse these drawers instead of buying new ones.

We hefted both (really heavy) frames upstairs to our son’s room and I got to work on sanding them. It was my first time using my mouse sander (a Christmas present) and I loved that it had a pointy tip to get into hard-to-reach areas.

There was no way I wanted to paint these two beasts — especially since I knew, down the road, I’d have to paint custom bunk beds to match — so I decided staining would be much faster. I picked out a new shade — Minwax’s Weathered Oak — that was a natural barnboard-like tone and a single coat was all it took. Gotta love the speed of staining!

Once the stain was dry, the next step was finishing the playing surface. We picked white melamine plywood sheets because that’s what we used to build my custom L-shaped desk and I love how that looks. We used L brackets to keep them from moving around or slipping off the bases, but opted not to screw them in so they’re easy to remove if we move the tables around.

Because these melamine boards have scratchy unfinished edges, you need to get white plastic trim to finish them nicely. I finally have a knack for clicking this stuff into place, but it takes a little practice. You ease the trim around the start of an edge and then press your hand against it as you slowly work your way down — clicking it into place as you go. It seals in the rough edges, protecting it from getting chipped, and gives you a smooth finish.

The magic of these tables — counters, really — is that they’re finished on all sides, so we can move them into different configurations down the road. They can push together to make a huge rectangular play surface, or even make an L-shaped table.

For now, we have them side by side. They take up 13 feet of space — nearly the entire back wall of our son’s bedroom. The plastic storage drawers slide in and out easily and there was even an empty space leftover to store his binders of instruction manuals. He has a couple of chairs that tuck under the counters, but we plan to build long benches so he can have lots of friends over to build.

It didn’t take long for the counters to fill up with finished and in-progress creations, and our son has loved having so much space to work. Let’s just hope he doesn’t outgrow this space, because I don’t think we can dedicate an entire room in our house to Lego — as cool as that would be.

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Read the tutorial for my LEGO shelves

So what do you think?

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