Building a Train Table

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated August 19, 2022)


When building a train table for your children, it is usually best to go with something as simple as possible. This way, you can encourage their imagination, and not break the bank at the same time. That being said, building a train table for your children can be a remarkably easy to do, if you know what you are looking for. Here are the basics for building a great train table, and even a picture (See Figure 1.) of what a simple one can look like.

Figure 1. A simple train table.

  • Space. When building a train table, you should first look for an area where you can leave it up. If you are able to find a spot where you can leave it up, such as in a corner of the children's play room, or in the family room, you won't have to worry about anything too complicated. This means that you don't necessarily need to worry about making the table too complicated.
  • Table base. You will need a base for the table, and unless you are a carpenter, the easiest type of base is made from some sawhorses. Simply use 2, 3, or even 4 sawhorses, depending on the size of the table. You can buy them at any local hardware store relatively cheap. These sawhorse kits come in metal, plastic, or wood and when combined with the top, can make a very stable table.
  • Table top. The best thing for a table top is to use simple 1 inch thick "roof grade" construction plywood. The best sizes of wood to use are going to be in 4 feet by 4 feet, or 4 feet by 8 feet increments. Sand the plywood down a bit, at least on the side which will be up, and then paint it. Some of the better colors to use are either cream, white, or light gray paint. This will allow you to have a neutral background for later customization. For example, if you want to have some roads, add a little black paint for the roads, green for pastures and grasslands, blue for rivers and ponds, and so on.
  • Secure it. Secure the table top to the legs by using nails or screws. Typically you can you regular nails and screws for this part of the job. Simply make sure that you have your nails in the proper location before hammering.
  • Customize. If you really want to be fancy, you can even cut a hole in the middle of your plywood. This would allow your little engineers to get inside for easier access to all parts of the table. A small flap on one side can be created, where there is no track, so that they can enter. Or you can also just let them crawl underneath.
  • Finish. If you are using a premade track system, such as those made Play Mobile, Hasbro, or some other toy company, you can attach the track to the table top with no problem. Be sure that you use the specially designed nails sold at hobby shops for this step though. Otherwise, you may end up ruining the tracks. Add whatever other pieces you want to the train set (such as toy people, cars, trees, buildings, etc.) and let your children have fun.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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What is 4 + 1?

2013-02-15 09:27:30

Tony Kruschel

I have built a few of these in my time and haqve a few suggestions that may be considered when building these. One I built was raised up higher than normal to alow sight vision of the trains from the center hole which made the train action more real. We made boxes for the kids to stand on and altered them as they grew taller. Quite a hit with the little shavers.