How I Built a LEGO Table from an IKEA Table that We Still Use Years Later

Let’s talk about the easiest way to build a LEGO table that will grow with your kids.  I originally wrote this article in 2011.  At that time I built 3 of these LEGO tables as Christmas gifts for each of my three boys who were ages 6, 8 & 10.

10 years later, the LEGO tables we built are still functioning proving that this simple DIY LEGO table project will stand the test of time and grow with your kids.

Let’s start at the beginning way back in 2011…

Completed DIY LEGO Table in Room - We built a LEGO table on IKEA table for older kids and this is how we did it
Building a LEGO table is easier than you might think!

Large LEGO Table Needs

When my husband and I started looking for a LEGO building table sized for older kids, we were surprised that there wasn’t much available.   Every LEGO table we found was sized for the toddler crowd, but our boys’ LEGO bricks needed a space for storage, building and display.  

At ages 6, 8 and 10 the boys were ready for a regular height table and chairs!  They have already grown out of the basic kids LEGO tables with child-sized chairs and table height.  In fact, they viewed the smaller LEGO tables as things for “little kids” and my playroom floor was over-run by various LEGO building projects in various stages.

We decided to build our own LEGO table.

How To Build a LEGO Table

After doing some research, we decided modifying an IKEA table for Lego purposes would be our cheapest option.  IKEA had the best selection of inexpensive tables in different sizes and also had a wide variety of chairs and benches that could be used with the finished kids LEGO table.

At IKEA we did a lot of LEGO math!

What We Needed in a DIY LEGO Table

We wanted the largest LEGO building surface area that wouldn’t take up more space than we have in the room.   None of the tables/table tops/desks we found had exactly the right measurements to add LEGO baseplates without alteration and it was our goal to have a portion of the LEGO building surface permanent.

This is what we ended up choosing to create our LEGO tables at home:

LEGO Table DIY supplies - IKEA table top, IKEA table legs, LEGO base plates in green and blue as well as road base plates
To build our DIY LEGO table, we used IKEA table top & legs plus a variety of LEGO base plates.

DIY LEGO Table Instructions

You can see in the graphic above the supplies we used to build this full size LEGO table.  Oh, and the 2011 prices are there too just for fun!

To Build this LEGO Table, You Will Need:

  • 1 – IKEA Vika Amon Table Top {in red} – dimensions: 59″ x 29 1/2″
  • 2 – IKEA Moliden Underframe – each underframe was 2 table legs at a height of 27 1/2 inches 
  • 8 – LEGO baseplates {green}
  • 2 – LEGO baseplates {blue} 
  • 4 – LEGO road plate packages {2 pack} 

The entire project cost a little less than $200 in 2011.   We could have saved an additional $40 by choosing a cheaper leg option for the table at IKEA and an additional $20 by going with a solid color vs. road baseplates.

How Many LEGO Baseplates Do You Need for Table Top?

The IKEA table top measured 59″ x 29 1/2″ and the LEGO baseplates are 10″ square.   To cover the table completely, we purchased 18 baseplates.

Our plan was to glue down the baseplates around the edges of the LEGO table allowing flexibility of the full size base plates in the middle to be exchanged out as desired.  The middle baseplates shown here in grey and blue were left intact and not glued down.  I can say that this plan withstood the test of time and worked great over the last 10 years.  The kids did not change out the baseplates very often so if it is easier to glue everything down, I don’t think that would be an issue for play in the future.

Lego Table baseplate layout on IKEA table top included 28 pieces of baseplates - some glued down and others not glued
We only glued the outer perimeter row of LEGO baseplates allowing the inner baseplates to be exchanged during play on LEGO table.

Can You Cut LEGO Baseplates?

I had no idea how controversial it would be when I first wrote this DIY LEGO table tutorial to cut LEGO baseplates.  If you look at the comments below or find information about this set of LEGO table instructions online, there has been an outcry because we cut the outer perimeter of baseplates a size that allowed the use of full size (uncut) baseplates in the middle.  I would like to defend myself and explain why cutting LEGO baseplates for a LEGO table is actually a really good idea:

  • I only cut the baseplates that I ended up gluing permanently to the table.  It actually worked out really well that by doing so it allowed the majority of the baseplates used on the table to be intact and removable.
  • I couldn’t find a table that was scaled exactly for the 10″ square baseplates.  So, if I wanted the entire table to be covered with studs for LEGO building, I was either going to have to build my own table (no thanks) or cut LEGO baseplates.
  • LEGO baseplates are easy to cut with a circular saw and the cut edge is not sharp which makes it ultimately flexible to create the exact size studded surface you want for your DIY LEGO table!
  • I had a friend who decided not to cut the baseplates but followed these same instructions for making her LEGO table.  She glued all the base plates starting in the center of the table so a consistent band of non-studded space surrounded her baseplate center.  It worked for her, but she did have a band around the entire studded surface that was not LEGO building surfaced.

Steps to Building the IKEA LEGO Table

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Step 1 – DIY LEGO Table

Lay out the baseplates on the table top and determine the size you need for the outer border of baseplates in order to create a glued perimeter of cut baseplates to corral the inner full size baseplates.  You can use a marker on the back of the baseplate to keep track of what needs to be cut and label where on the table that piece will be glued because that portion will not show in the final LEGO table.

For our table with the dimensions: 59″ x 29 1/2″:

  • The green baseplates that ran along the long sides of the table were cut to a depth of 14 studs.  This involved cutting 5 plates into ten 14 stud pieces.
  • The green baseplates that ran along the shorter sides on each end of the table were cut to a width of 13 studs.  This involved cutting 2 plates into four 13 stud pieces.  
  • The green baseplates that sat in the four corners of the table were cut from one baseplate into four 13 x 14 stud corners.

Lego table cutting baseplates

Step 2 – DIY LEGO Table

OK, now that we have the table laid out and the green LEGO baseplates marked on the underside, we used a circular table saw to cut the baseplates with a fine tooth blade.

Once the baseplate was cut, I gently sanded the cut edge with sandpaper.

Step 3 – DIY LEGO Table

Next, lay out all the LEGO baseplates on the LEGO table how you want them to be arranged when finished.  I always faced the cut edge on the outside edge of the table which will keep the gaps between baseplates consistent so LEGO bricks can be applied across gaps.

In fact, this is really one of the most important steps.  You have to make sure that the adjacent baseplates are positioned so that kids can create buildings across different baseplates. 

To easily accomplish this goal, once you have the baseplates in desired arrangement, place bricks across each gap connecting all the baseplates into one moveable piece the size of the table top.  These bricks straddling each baseplate connection is key to getting a functional studded play base.

DIY Lego Table step for gluing using blocks for spacers to make sure studded baseplates are functional for play
There is a little gap needed between LEGO table baseplates to allow kids to build across the transitions between surfaces.

Step 4 – DIY LEGO Table

Once the entire layout was one unit, we lifted up the green border pieces around the perimeter slightly and squirted Elmer’s glue underneath making sure it was liberally covering the area.

We placed books on top of the glued border until dry.  Once it was dry, the interior plates could be removed and rearranged as desired for play.

What Glue is Best for Making a LEGO Table?

I tried multiple types of glue over the three LEGO tables I built and the numerous LEGO tables friends, family and readers have built and if you are gluing baseplates onto a finished surface like an IKEA table, hands down the glue that held the most consistently was just regular old Elmer’s glue!  

This is good because every once in awhile during play, you may find a glued baseplate piece pops off and it is easy to repair it quickly with glue you already have on hand.

DIY LEGO table - Lego Table border of glued baseplates allowing the empty area shown in middle to be used with full sized baseplates for play
When the glue dried, this is what our glued border of baseplates looked like on our homemade LEGO table!

Finished DIY LEGO Table

I can say without reservation that this was one of my most successful DIY projects…ever!  This was the first one I built and then I did two more.  Nearly every family whose children came to play ended up making a variation of this LEGO table for their own home.

The reason is simple.  It is an easy LEGO table to make and it grows with kids as they grow, but still love to build LEGOs.

DIY LEGO Table finished and shown with bench seat in play room
Our DIY LEGO table is finished and ready to build LEGOs now!

Over the years, I found some clear plastic bins with lids that fit really well in the space under the LEGO table and we used those to store LEGO bricks and LEGO sets with instructions.  There were times when all three LEGO tables were pushed up next to each other for a massive building surface in our playroom and there were times when each boy had their own LEGO table in their room.

Do you need chairs for a LEGO table?

You do not need chairs for a LEGO table at table height.  They are just too restrictive and take up space that kids want to use for moving around while building.  I think that chairs at a LEGO table is a toddler thing because it just makes adults feel better about it being a table they are spending money on!  But I would say even the toddler LEGO table we had when the boys were younger, they rarely used the chairs.

Yield: 1

DIY LEGO Table

How to Make a LEGO Table out of IKEA Table for Older Kids to Build LEGOS

How to use an IKEA table (or any table you already have) to make a LEGO table for LEGO building projects for older kids.

Prep Time 1 hour
Active Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Difficulty Medium
Estimated Cost $200

Materials

  • 1 - IKEA Table Top
  • 4 - IKEA Table Legs
  • 8 - green LEGO baseplates
  • 2 - blue LEGO baseplates
  • 4 - road plate packages of LEGO baseplates

Tools

  • Elmer's Glue
  • Sharpie
  • Tape measure
  • Circular saw with fine tooth blade
  • Sand paper

Instructions

  1. Lay out the baseplates to determine the most efficient use of baseplates.
  2. Mark any cuts you are going to make on the back of the baseplate with Sharpie.
  3. Using a circular saw, cut the baseplates as needed.
  4. Sand the cut edge of the baseplate with sandpaper.
  5. Arrange baseplates on table in desired configuration and attach LEGO bricks that span the gaps between all baseplates for proper placement.
  6. Lift solid unit of baseplates you just made and glue underneath the ones you want secure to table (reattach the LEGO blocks if they fall off during that process).
  7. Let glue dry then remove LEGO blocks between baseplates.

Notes

I created a perimeter of glued baseplate pieces that allowed for full-size pieces to fit in the middle. Those I did not glue so the kids could exchange the type of baseplates during play. The outside glued pieces kept them in place.

Building LEGO towns on the LEGO table

After the appearance of the first LEGO table, our boys built for days.

The roads were rearranged to create a main city street.

Lego Table in useThis street will eventually need a bypass because the traffic is TERRIBLE!

Lego Table traffic jam

This style of DIY LEGO table has been a big hit. Since its appearance in the playroom, it has been used almost every waking hour for literally years and years.

Good LEGO Tables for Younger Kids

If you have younger kids, I recommend a LEGO table that fits the standard size LEGO bricks instead of the larger brick size especially if there are older kids in the house.  Those toddler brick size bricks quickly become “baby toys” for preschool builders who become very coordinated with the smaller bricks.

When it comes to choosing a LEGO table for younger kids, storage is key.  You need deep storage you can dump bricks into for clean up quickly.  As the kids get older, they will accumulate more and more bricks, but when they are little they will have a more manageable number!  Here are some LEGO tables I like for younger kids:

  • KidKraft 2-in-1 Activity Table with LEGO base and large storage area – it is likely you will never use this for anything other than LEGO bricks, but I like the ability to reach around any side of the table for building purposes and the storage is big!
  • Utex 2 in 1 Kids Construction Play Table with Storage Drawers – this is a nice looking table that is super functional although those storage drawers will fill up quickly.  If you want the version with the chairs (you don’t need the chairs!), you can see that here.
  • The GOLOHO Large 2 in 1 Kids Activity Table with Storage is probably my favorite because it is adjustable for the height of the table all the way up to 22.5″ which gives you a little more flexibility for growing LEGO builders.  The LEGO table we built above is standard table height at 28 inches for comparison.

I still can’t find a full size regular table height LEGO table for sale anywhere.  Which seems super weird over 10 years after we built these DIY LEGO tables.  This product which is a tower of baseplates for building and storage is about the tallest thing I have seen.  

It just confirms that I was right not to wait around for someone to make what we needed for our kids and simply make the LEGO tables ourselves!

More LEGO ideas from Kids Activities Blog

Please tell me about your LEGO table experience in the comments below.  And if you want to yell at me for cutting up LEGO baseplates…I can handle it!

51 Comments

  1. HappyCampers says:

    I am in awe 🙂

  2. That’s cool. I loved Legos when I was little. When my girls get a little older I’m going to have to make them a table like yours. Very cool.

  3. How awesome! I am thinking of doing it now but where you have that blue Lego squares maybe cutting a hole and dropping in a fabric or plastic bucket to hold Legos!

  4. Holly, as always what an AWESOME project!

    My boys just asked as I was scrolling through the pictures… can we have that?

  5. Holly, that is truly amazing ~ was it a Christmas gift? I’ll bet the boys were thrilled!

  6. Such creativity! I love how you used the red table underneath. It makes the entire setup look so professional!

  7. I think that is a great idea. There were also some tables at IKEA that were a bit more expensive that had drawers on one side…that could be great for scooping messes into.

  8. Thanks so much! I suspect this would be a hit at your house too :).

  9. Yes, Ryan has been asking for one for awhile. We had the clover-shaped toddler version that had just become a dumping ground and totally useless for building. They LOVE it and have now turned the bench into part of the city as well.

  10. Thanks Barb! We had such a good time putting this together and sneaking around behind the boys’ backs up until Christmas.

  11. I just built a lego table for my husband (nothing like yours, or as cool by any means). I put a raised border around the edge of the table and didn’t glue the lego base plates down so my husband had room to build. Well I want to find the Duplo base plates so we can always switch them out for the kid to play with as well. Where did you find the base plates for $5? Thanks!!

  12. I love this table and am thinking of making this for my 8 year old son! I especially like the matching red bench seat…. where did you find it? Very creative!!

  13. I may have missed it…but where did you get the red bench that is along side your table?

  14. I am sure it has been used almost waking hour! This is truly awesome and my boys would love it!

    Congrats as this post and your other food post were both one of my most clicked blog post on the Mommy Solutions link up last week!

  15. This is fabulous!!!

  16. What a wonderful table! I really need to make something like this for my son!

  17. Thanks for the great idea. I am planning on putting the green plates on the wall in my sons room but he might need a table as well.

  18. JustaLegoGuy says:

    That looks awesome! From what i’ve seen, you guys kids must love lego when they are building that kind of stuff

    have you looked into stop motion animation? it would be great for kids to do when they have a big lego set like that. it isn’t that hard, but you might need to help em along the way.

    My son was 11 when he started, he LOVES doing it, he even asked if he could make a website for it XD

  19. Ditto on the where on earth did you find the base plates for $5?! I must know! This is a great idea and my older girl needs to get those legos off the floor before the new little one becomes mobile.

  20. That’s incredible! I had a Lego table when I was little and it was far and away my favorite toy. I would love to link to your how-to if you didn’t mind. My readers would love this!

  21. this is amazing!!! i love it!

  22. This is great! I’m with the other ladies though, where on earth did you get baseplates for $5?? I want to get some more for my 5 year old that’s really starting to get into Legos & the only ones I found are at least double that price, if not triple.

  23. THIS IS AWSOME.

  24. I LOVE YOU ALL

  25. Thanks for posting; I took your advice and made a smaller version for my 4 and 6 year old boys for Easter out of a pine dining room table from Ikea, and two kids storage stools. It was a huge hit…thanks for all the tips!

  26. Boy, and I glad I read this before starting working on our son’s table. We bought a very nice train table with a solid wood top off Craigslist for $30, and I’m in the process of painting the legs different primary Lego colors. I had planned to cover the entire area with 12 glued down files, and purchased 8 of the roads tiles that I was just going to have loose on top of the greens, but this method of doing the border around it and having the other tiles fit in like a border tray puzzle is awesome! Now I’m going to sit back and do some re-calculating!!
    Thanks!!!

  27. Kasey Thames says:

    Hi

    I own a preschool and we are going to build this. I’m not a pro so when u say stud what size are the edge pieces suppose to be in inches? Thanks

  28. Kasey Thames says:

    And where did u get the bench?

  29. Texasholly says:

    Both the table and bench are from IKEA. Thanks!

  30. Texasholly says:

    I have been getting the base plates at the Lego store for that – and online. These are the smaller ones that are packaged individually that are $4.99. BUT the most expensive part of this project is all the LEGO base plates! They are expensive.

  31. Texasholly says:

    The “studs” are the bumps on the LEGO pieces. So for the end pieces, I just counted 13 bumps and then set the saw at that width to cut all the end pieces.

  32. Texasholly says:

    The bench is from IKEA as well. I think it was more expensive then the table…if I remember correctly it was around $70.

  33. Ione Becker says:

    What a fabulous idea and your finished project looks great. I’m trying to figure out how to make a removable base–probably just one color–to fit an imaginarium train table since it takes up so much room (50″x18″)–leaving very little room for another activity table and using tubs to store the legos in under the table, since his trains are in the tables drawers. I was thinking of using a very thin sheet of plywood to glue the bases down on and then standing the base up on end when he is playing with the trains. Does that sound fesible to you. My grandson just turned 4 and is really into both his trains and legos. I would appreciate any thoughts you might have on this project I am about to undertake. Thank you.

  34. I had a friend who used a table top that wasn’t as secure as ours {it was thinner and cheaper} and she ended up with problems with the glued down baseplates warping. I would suggest that whatever you use as a table base be able to withstand the tension from the upper layer.

    Good luck!

  35. That is awesome! What a great idea! 😀

  36. The best place to find the Lego Building Plates for $5 is at the Lego shop online, or Toys R Us online. I just purchased 4 of them for a Christmas, they were $5 each plus Buy 1 Get 1 Free from Toys R Us online. The prices vary drastically online! The Lego Bricks n More Building Base Plates is the brand Toys R Us has for $5. Legos can get very expensive, so I thought I would share this – prefect Christmas present!

  37. Built this table yesterday, cut the baseplates with tablesaw and cement blade, made smooth edge no sanding required! Also glued down with a contact cement glue for more permanent base without risk of lifting and breaking. FedEx shipping of tabletop was Horrible, 3 corners damaged and a hole the size of a pencil top punched into table top, but once baseplates in place- can’t see the damage.

  38. I work at an indoor playspace in NY and we have a very large lego table. The problem is it takes forever to clean especially since the base plates are the kind with the hollow bumps. How do you clean yours?

  39. Your way of telling the whole thing in this paragraph is genuinely pleasant, all be capable of effortlessly be
    aware of it, Thanks a lot.

  40. Hi! That table is amazing 🙂 My Dad is building one similar, and he wants to know: What kind of glue did you use?
    Thanks a bunch

  41. Hi Kaitlyn,

    I just used plain white glue. It has held up for over a year now without coming loose. Good luck!

  42. Graham Fisher says:

    Awsome idea, I will use this as inspiration for my project, which is just the table top, that fits over our coffee table so when not in use can be stowed away! It will be reversible so on other side when flipped will be a painted layout for use with my sons cars and playmobil. Btw, are you an alien as you have silver hands and fingers in the photos? Lol 👽

  43. ha! No, I hadn’t figured out color correction at that point~ I need to update the photo now that I am a tad more savvy!

  44. Holly, great job with this DIY LEGO table! What an awesome design! I recently designed a wooden DIY LEGO table. Its a little smaller and simpler than yours but still gets tons of use!

  45. I am needing to cut some base plates for the Lego table that I am currently making, but since they are so expensive, I want to ask plenty of questions before making my first cut. I read that you used a fine toothed saw blade, but does your circular saw have variable speed control, and if so, what is the speed range on your saw and what speed did you use? I have tried cutting plastic, albeit not Legos, in the past and I ended up with a melted mess and an anything but straight line. By the way, your table looks AWESOME!!

  46. To Ione Becker. Instead of gluing your base plates to plywood, look online for ABS plastic. It is the same plastic that Legos are made from and you can buy it in sheets in varying thicknesses (stack a few base plates together to determine how thick you want it) at 3 base plates thick, it will be rigid and still lightweight. If you have the company cut it to a custom size for you, it can be a little pricey, but if you are willing to cut it yourself, the price drops considerably. Hope that helps. Sorry I can’t recall the thickness of 3 base plates or the website I used, but it wasn’t hard to find using a Google search for ABS plastic sheets.

  47. This table is so fun. I have to buy one for my kid.

  48. Pingback: 75+ Ideas, Tips and Hacks – Baby Candy Land

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