DIY Train Table: IKEA Hack
30 Nov 2022

DIY Train Table: IKEA Hack

Post by Walter Washington

My husband and I had lived separately before we married, so we brought furniture to the marriage. It meant that I got furniture to the wedding, and he brought bachelor furniture. He also obtained an IKEA birch coffee table and end tables that were long out of date (hello, coasters!). He also wanted to put a chin-up bar in the living area and art you might find in quirky bars and bathrooms.

Some of these items were moved to his man cave, while others made it into the house. He didn’t want his IKEA coffee table and end tables to go. Several months ago, we finally went to IKEA to purchase a shiny, white, brightly colored coffee table to match our new decor. As I was about to put the old one in the donation pile, I realized it would make an excellent DIY train table. You can find the IKEA LACK coffee table here.

I wish I had taken a picture of the “before” to show you. The poor table was in terrible shape with scratches and scuffs. It was $20, but it had survived many moves and years of abuse. IKEA products are affordable, but they don’t compromise on quality. That’s what I love about them. I took down the table and removed the legs. Then, it was ready for me to paint. My preferred spray paint method was the easiest. Wrong. I applied a kelly-green coat and added a touch of green glitter spray paint. It wasn’t enjoyable. It didn’t spread evenly, dried clumpy, and was too dark. I didn’t believe I could recover from this mess.

Although I knew I had Martha Stewart’s green paint on hand, I needed to confirm that I had enough to cover all the mess. Amazingly, I only needed two coats of Martha Stewart green paint, which worked perfectly! It is what I get. Next time, always, always go with Martha first. I used Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Acrylic Paint in Mint and Sea Lavender (purchased from Michaels) for this project.


After two coats of paint were dry, I assembled the train tracks to fit the table best. Each piece was picked up and glued with wood glue. Press down on each piece for a few seconds, then move on to the next. However, don’t apply too much glue, as it can squeeze out the sides. After the track had dried, I sketched the road and the lake. I used a yardstick to make my road. It was easy to trace on the table. I created a lake free-handing by drawing an eight without any holes. It will be visible under the blue paint so use caution when using a pencil. I used paint pens to outline the lake and cover the pencil lines. I used them as paint pens to draw the white stripes along the road.

Because I wanted my girls to be able to move the pieces during play, I didn’t glue down trees, cars, people, or houses. After you have finished painting and assembling the table, the legs can be screwed back on. I didn’t paint my legs, but you can. The paint covers the surface very well. You can also paint other features such as flowers and grass. Sophia received this pink train set as a gift for her birthday. However, you can still find a great set at IKEA- LILLABO 20-piece Train Set.

It’s great that the train set has a permanent home on the table. It is easy to put away and looks terrific in our playroom. The LACK table is high enough for little sister (1-year-old) to sit and big sister (6 years) to sit down and play. They played well together, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoyed the DIY train table.