Friday, January 10, 2014

A Tale of a Table

We've all seen them.  And by "we" I mean craft losers like me and by "them" I mean those IKEA Lack table hacks where the parents glue down a Lego platform and build a station for kids to play block.  A-like so:

A sample - not the one I did
Well, who am I to turn down such a great idea!  First, I bought these big blocks that I thought were Duplo blocks, which will be fun for Avery, but not a choking hazard for Cassidy.  I got two sets because there isn't that base, flat piece that Legos have and I wanted to use a set to make a platform.  I wish I could properly foreshadow for you what went wrong here, but I'll keep you nice and innocent, like I was at this stage.

This project also gave me a reason to go thrift shopping and pick up this little baby for $7.99.  WHAT?  $7.99!  And it's a solid piece, too.  I used a little 150 grit paper to rub off the shine and then it was time for a primer.  Primer helps the paint bond and also prevents stains from coming through.  I bought water (latex) based, but then read online that some people use oil-based.  Enh, I wasn't overly concerned, so I just gave it a nice thin coat of primer over the course of a couple of days, dusting off the excess sand and a few cobwebs (how long was it at the thrift shop??) along the way.
Primed and ready!
Then, it was time for some color.  I decided to go with a black base and a green top.  The green simulates some grass, and the black just goes with everything, right?  I bought this color and this color and did very thin coats to avoid drips and a sloppy look.  After 2 coats, it looked nice.  And because kids are using this, I also put a layer of Minowax to keep it shiny and wipeable.


Then it was time to set the base.  Like I said, I didn't have a flat base to work off of, so I took the flattest Duplos and made a square on top, playing around with the size of everything.  One I had my pattern, I was ready to glue them together.  So I got out the super glue and.....

Nothing.  No sticking.  So I got out the hot glue gun and....

Nothing.  No sticking.  The hells?

So I got on Skype and showed Jon my failure and he did a little research and told me about this ABS melting glue crap from Lowe's to go buy that would fuse it all together.  So, I went, I bought it, I prepared to make a mess, I put the fusing glue on and.....

Nothing.  No sticking.   HOLY CRAP!  We had researched how to glue Legos/Duplos together, and once we ignored all the haters to think it's punishable by death to glue Legos together (seriously, they are very adamant about this) we had read that this ABS glue should work.  And then Jon said...

"Are you sure they are Duplos?"

(Ali pauses to read the bag)

"Uhhhh....they aren't.  They are Mega Blocks."

Well, guess what everyone, Mega Blocks and Duplos are made of different things, and Mega Blocks apparently can never ever be glued together.

So, it's 3 days before our Christmas Eve, and my cheap project is turning expensive because I have to order Duplos (which SURPRISE! have a base plate piece) on Amazon Prime, but the holiday season means I still have to pay extra to get them there on time.  $70 for two sets of blocks and a base plate.  On our Christmas Eve they arrived in three shipments from three carriers (weird.)

So, during naptime, Jon got out the drill and turned what could have ended up just being a plain random green and black table into this, using the base plate and a shoe container from The Container Store:


And when the kids came down for Christmas morning, it looked like this:

Both kids were super excited, and while I wasn't thrilled with how much it ended up costing, the fun they have with it makes up for it.  And I learned a lesson: Mega Blocks don't glue together.  It was a Christmas miracle :-)

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