Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pottery Barn Kid’s Knock-off Table/Train Table–$40!!

Okay. This is a tutorial. Wherein I will attempt to tell you how to create something that I did not in fact create myself. This could be interesting. (New here? Well, I don’t do much … I boss my husband around and he does all the hard work … this makes tutorials sorta tricky)

Here it is … a 4 foot x 6 foot adorable train table that even Pottery Barn would be proud of. :D

pottery barn kids inspired train table kids table $40

Here’s what you need:

* 1/2 sheet of 5/8” MDF (1/2 sheet is 4’x6’, full sheet is 8’x6’) ($10)
* 30' feet of 1.5” x .75” trim board ($15)
* 1 8 foot 3.5” x 3.5” square fence post (you’d think they’d be 4” x 4”, but they aren’t) ($10)
* About 1/2 quart of white oil based ENAMEL paint ($5, give or take)
* A bunch of screws and a few dowels … you may or may not have these lying around. We did.

pottery barn kids inspired train table kids table for $40

So, go to Home Depot. Find a full sheet of 5/8” MDF. Haul it over to the saw and ask an employee to cut the thing in half, so you have 2 4’x6’ sheets.

Grab the fence post and take that to the saw too, unless you just like cutting stuff yourself. Have them cut the post into 4 – 20” pieces for the legs of the table.

Next, grab your trim (Superman used 1.5” x .75” trim) and have them cut 2 – 6’ and 2 – 4’ pieces for you. This will be the edges under the top of the table (you’ll cut/trim them down farther when you get home).

Finally, take home about another 10 feet of the trim, to use for the pieces under the table (as shown in the picture below).

When you get home:
Lay the MDF (top of table) on the floor. Measure in 1 1/4” from each outer edge. Trim the 4’ and 6’ pieces to fit. If you are confident in Home Depot’s trimming skills, you can just have them cut those pieces to be 2.5” shorter (so, 5’ 9.5” and 3’ 9.5”).

After you have cut out those trim pieces, get the drill … it’s time for dowels. Place a dowel in the center of the trim piece and then one on either side of that, centered, on all 4 sides. So, 12 dowels total. Once you’ve drilled the dowel holes, take your table legs and measure pieces off of the remaining 10 feet of trim you brought home. You’ll need 8 – 3.5” pieces, cut with a miter saw at a 45 degree angle, shown in the picture below. You’ll also need 4 – 10” pieces to brace the table leg, as shown. Once you have all those pieces cut out (and make several mistakes and waste a bunch of trim trying to get them all right), you can start assembling.

pottery barn kids inspired train table kids table $40 DIY

Make sure to run some wood glue under the trim piece and inside each dowel. This will give extra support to the table. You are going to screw the legs on as shown in the picture above and below.

pottery barn kids inspired train table kids table $40 DIY tutorial

Make sure to putty over the screws that show on the trim on the outside of the table.

Once you’ve constructed it, sand and round the top edges of the table … and sand the putty areas and any rough spots through out the whole table.

Wipe it down clean removing any dust.

Then, Paint it.

pottery barn kids inspired train table kids table for $40

Superman used an air compressor and paint canister to spray the enamel on. You can use a fine sponge roller to roller it on if you don’t have an air compressor/paint canister.

I think, start to finish, it took Superman about 3-4 hours to construct this. It’s really not a bad project at all; especially when you consider how much Pottery Barn wants for a table that looks almost identical.

Here, see for yourself:

pottery barn table

This is Pottery Barn Kid’s Carolina Play Table, the ‘large’ one (which is still only 45” x 30” x 22”h) and it runs $179.00 before tax. O.U.C.H.

The table Superman made is more than TWICE the size for less than 1/4th the price.

pottery barn kids inspired train table kids table $40

That’s what you call WINNING, my friends. :D

And, I know I’m partial, but I like mine better. The sturdiness of the thick post legs just helps anchor the table, in my opinion.

Wondering what to do with the other half sheet of MDF? Well, you could make a second table, or you could go here ( and make a corner shelf for the TV in your playroom:


Happy table making, y’all! :D


  1. Nice table! But, where did you get the little green stools? They really set off the whole thing.

    1. I don't know for sure but I'm pretty sure they sell those at IKEA :)

  2. Thanks for sharing useful post. I read your post and really appreciate for that. We also provides MDF board, foberboard, MDF furniture etc. at reasonable price.

    MDF Board | Veneered MDF

  3. Wish me luck I'm going to try and make this table this week. I have a daycare where i have ten kids a day.

  4. You seriously go all out!! Another amazing project, Janette!

  5. where exactly are you putting the dowels? I'm not seeing them in any pictures so are they holding the trim to the MDF, through the legs, or what?

  6. Yes. The dowels are holding the trim to the MDF along with some wood glue. I was able to find a cheap jig at Harbor Freight to help make sure the dowels are lined up nicely.