Making A DIY Table For A Children’s Railway

diy childs play tableLooking for a quick, cheap, table to hold a small model railway? If you have a drill and a few nails why not build your own?If you’re building a railway for your children you don’t need an elaborate baseboard construction and other ‘table top’ set ups can be too high for a small child. Play tables are ideal – they’re low for great for small children but will keep the railway – whether it’s a Thomas style plastic train set or more sophisticated Hornby OO gauge starter pack – off the floor.

But it’s shocking how much play tables can be.  The average seems to be £50 to £100!

I honestly had no idea they were quite so much until I stumbled across one (literally) in a shop and glanced at the price. I nearly fell over it again!! Intrigued I had a look online when I got home and sure enough the average price for a simple wooden kids table hoovers around £70.

For something that will just be used to keep trains or maybe Lego off the floor this is pretty steep. Especially as they’re made from a few bits of wood.

This got me thinking. How difficult can it be to make your own and save that money for the actual trains?

After a bit of research it turns out it’s not that difficult at all. Scott Lawrence has a great breakdown of the parts needed on his Geodesic Sphere blog:

  • Two 2×4, cut to pieces:  5′, 2’9″ (2’9″ + two thicknesses of 2x4s = 3′), leftover
  • One 2×4, cut to pieces: 18″, 18″, 18″, 18″, 18″, leftover (one extra leg, because why not.)
  • One 1×3, cut to pieces: 3′, 3′, leftover (for the lip)
  • Two 1×3, cut to pieces: 5′ 1 1/2″, leftover (for the lip, with added width for the side lip)
  • One piece of 1/2″ 4×8 plywood, cut to 5′ by 3′
  • One box of 2 1/2″ drywall screws for connecting 2x4s into 2x4s
  • One box of 1 5/8″ drywall screws for connecting 1x3s into 2x4s
  • Finish nails (i had some leftover from before)

From his step-by-step guide see the full post here.


Picture: (c)  Scott Lawrence,

Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.

Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.

When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here,

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