Monday, January 16, 2012

How To: Hang Train Tracks

Y’all are really going to love this one!!!

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To begin this project, you need to put together your train tracks and measure to see how big your sheet of masonite board needs to be.

We measured both train sets and cut the masonite boards accordingly. Since we were hanging these on our walls, I wanted them framed … just to add a little bit more of a “finished” touch. (You totally don’t have to do this, if you want to skip a step … and not worry about miter cuts.) We used baseboard for the frames. This project uses 1 sheet of masonite and about 20 feet of baseboard. And then, of course a couple cans of white enamel spray paint (unless you really feel like brushing all that paint on with a brush). Total cost is: just under $30. (Give or take, depending on the glues, adhesives, and paints you have on hand already)

We used a combination of both hot glue and Gorilla glue to attach the frames/baseboard to the boards, then caulked around the inside of the frame to give it the finishing touch.

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Once you finish your boards and the paint is dry, lay them flat and once again, put your train tracks together on top of them. Then remove the track, one piece at a time …

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… and DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT use liquid nails to adhere them to the board. If you try this method, you will find that the glue is no where near as flexible as it needs to be … you will have kiddos crawling across these boards and those tracks will pop right off. Trust me. I speak from experience.

Instead, grab some industrial strength velcro. It’s stronger than liquid nails. Not even joking.

So, remove one piece of track at a time and place a strip of double sided sticky backed velcro on the underside and place the piece of track back in its place. It’s a tedious task … just keep reminding yourself that it is the last time you’ll ever have to put those tricky train sets together!! :D

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Once you get the tracks good and stuck on with the velcro (our new favorite adhesive), you can begin brain storming the myriad of options you have for hanging them on your wall. Or, you can learn from all our trial and error and go with the option we chose:

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Superman used some solid wood scraps to build little bottom braces to set the trains on. These are mounted to the wall with 3” screws, drilled into studs. (We’ll paint the front of those screws someday … right now … they don’t bother me too much.)

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Then, he used some more solid wood scraps to build some top braces that swivel up and down to lock and unlock the boards in place. Seriously. This was pure genius. It makes it super easy to put them away and take them back down again. I’m in love with his problem solving. And, it’s super easy and inexpensive to make these braces.

The end result is pure genius and adorable and functional all at the same time.

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The storage space in the toy closet was dramatically cut back … because now I just have two small plastic shoe box size bins with all the trains and controls and props in them.

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And now, when my kids say, “Mom, can we play trains?” … I don’t cringe at the thought of having to spend a solid 20 minutes trying to figure out exactly how those trains go together.

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And, because the trains are stuck to the board, there is no more crying over one of them messing up or breaking the train track.

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Which means that there is that much less fussing and whining and crying in our house on a daily basis.

So, do it! It’s cheaper than buying a train table, takes up hardly any room in storage, saves on time, and makes for a happier playing environment.

You’re welcome! ;)

6 comments:

  1. I'm so putting this on my to-do list.

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  2. Love! This is a definite must for us. Thanks for the brilliant idea!

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  3. Here it is! Thanks for the tutorial. Genius idea.

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  4. I LOVE this idea, Janette! Seriously....not only is it a cute decoration, but it's so amazingly functional! Smart mama!! :)

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  5. How easy is the velcro to remove? I'd like to make a train board for my kids but I don't want the toddlers/baby to be able to pull the pieces off and throw them around the yard, in the toilet, etc. Does the industrial strength velcro hold them tightly enough that the kids will have a hard time prying the pieces up?

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  6. You are a genius...grandma's playroom is going to be the best bomb diggity!!

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