I am pretty proud of myself for completing this project in a week – which includes 2 days of painting and 3 days of layering sealant on the whole board. You might notice that someone else is pretty happy with her new toy, as well.
Several years ago, when I was a nanny in college, I got well acquainted with Thomas and Friends. I had no problem at all when Grace started watching and enjoying the show. I knew that we would have a train table in our near-ish future. As many parents can attest, the train table at Barnes & Nobel can lead to some trouble. Grace enjoys those tables, to the point of tears when it is time to leave, so I was happy that the Easter Bunny brought her a small set of tracks and Thomas and Percy in her Easter basket. Unfortunately, Lulu enjoys chewing on wooden things and two of the track pieces were lost within the first 2 days. I knew we would need something more permanent, to avoid Grace just tearing the tracks apart, and Lulu-proof.
Coincidentally, this post appeared in my life. The instructions were great and I already had plans running through my head. All of our tracks are from IKEA. The layout is two sets of the Lillabo Rail set and one of the Lillabo 12-piece Train Set – because I wanted a bridge.
Oh, yes, we won’t even pretend that I made this only for Grace – I am planning to have a lot of fun with it, too. I used two of the risers to make the bridge and the other two to make buffers at the ends of track lines. As a note: Thomas engines are taller than the bridge risers of the Lillabo sets. I used wood glue to add 1/4″ wooden blocks to the bottom of the risers for the bridge. Parts of the bridge pieces are suspended in the air, I plan to add extra splints or dowels under the gaps in the future, if it becomes a problem.
The greens are both Valspar sample pots from Lowes, while the blue for the lake, river, and ocean is the same blue I have been using in several other project around our house lately (like this). I painted the light green over the whole board, then went back and added the dark green trees and the water. I put two layers of Safecoat Acrylacq over the whole board before I tackled the beach. I didn’t want to have a white-painted beach, so I used Elmer’s School Glue and laid out a thick beach area and sprinkled real sand over the top. I smushed the sand down into the glue and added about three layers to make it still feel gritty. I finished the whole board (including the sand) with two more coats of Acrylacq.
Our tracks are all nailed to the board with finishing nails. I had originally thought to use screws from underneath, like the Young House Love bloggers had, but I lost my ambition as I got to the end of the project. I also reminded myself that Grace wouldn’t care if you could see the nails.
One thing that I knew that I wanted to add to the board, not in any of the others I had seen online, were handles. Again, thinking of myself, I knew that I would be picking up this board pretty often – to put it away, move it between the living room and the playroom, protect it from Lulu, etc. These are Screen Door handles that I got at Lowe’s and that I already love. I purchased two and screwed both on one of the long sides of the board about 12 inches in from either end. The included screws are long enough and have wide enough threads to go into the wood securely.