Train Table Re-do: This is one project that I can admit I'm a little crazy for undertaking. We were handed down a used train table from my nephew and niece. The top boards were in bad condition (one almost completely destroyed by being left outside in the rain), the table frame had marker lines scribbled on it, and a rail on each drawer had gone missing. Fixing up the frame wasn't that big of a project. Justin tightened all the screws, built new drawer rails, added some drawer stoppers and I used the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to clean up the table. (I swear that Magic Eraser is the perfect cleaning tool for my OCD).
Justin picked up some new MDF boards for the table top. Instead of cutting three pieces like the original, we cut two - by doing so, we only had to buy two pieces of MDF board saving some money. However, we had to add some extra blocks for support around the inside of the frame to make sure the table top wouldn't tip inwards when pressure was applied. Simple enough so far.
Then it came time to paint the table top. I thought about painting a simple green top with some trees and a river - but why not go design-crazy instead? I know kids use train tables for more than just their trains… they use it for puzzles, building legos, etc, so I decided on a fun design that wouldn't hinder the imagination but would also work with the train set.
I began by finding a little inspiration from The Land of Nod. They had some Nordic/Folky type images that were really cute on their website. (Alright, I almost pretty much copied some of them, but used the rest as inspiration for the majority of my design). I ended up spending THREE hours drawing out the sketch on paper which I cut to the length of the MDF boards. This is when I should have known I was undertaking a project much bigger than originally anticipated.
Once I finished the drawing, I started painting the boards. I taped off the boards where I would paint solid green - I didn't really need a hard line here just yet, but I was going to be painting a light blue on the edge and didn't want to have trouble covering the green. After painting the green, I removed the tape and painted the light blue. Once dry, I taped out a one inch line between the green and blue where I painted the gray (with a little imagination, this gray could be a little road).
Once completely dry, I removed the tape and got ready to transfer my design onto the boards. I used some carbon transfer paper which made the task really easy.
Then came the hard part. If it took me three hours to do the original design… how many hours would it take to paint it? More than FIFTEEN hours of painting (three naps and several evenings later). I still need to spray a clear coat on it which will hopefully add some protection. I also planned on repainting all the little trains and cars that came with the train set - but I've decided that can wait… and perhaps wait indefinitely.
I absolutely adore how it came out but I can't believe I spent so much time on it. Hopefully Myla appreciates it and doesn't decide to scribble all over it on day one. Not only will this serve as a birthday present, but it'll be a fun activity for the kids at the birthday party - all the little engineers can "chugga-chugga" the trains around.
Here are some close-up views of the little town.