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How to build a train set activity station

Becoming a Leader

Difficulty: Beginner


Get the little ones to paint their own landscape for their train to ride through. Placing a timber panel on top turns the play table into a coffee table so you can keep it in the living area.



Step 1

The first part of the project is fun – lay out the tracks for your toy train. It’s a nice little puzzle working out how to fit the pieces into the available area. Once you have your layout, do a pencil drawing of what you want to paint – roads, grass and water, and whatever your imagination can conjure up. Let each colour of paint dry before adding the next so that they don’t mix.


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Step 2

While the paint is drying, start on the stand. Use a 42mm piece of Pine for the top and a 64mm piece for lower down.

Cut two other 64mm pieces into four 50cm lengths to make the legs.


Use 30mm screws to secure the leg pieces together. Attach the timber centre strut at 22mm down the leg with 30mm screws. Complete this for two side panels.


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Step 3

Measure two more pieces of 64mm width timber at 320mm long to form the widths at the top of the table. Before cutting, place them against the plywood to check that the measurement looks correct to the millimetre.


Drill a guiding hole before connecting these as you’re going through two pieces of wood first. Attach with 65mm screws. Once the frame is complete, place the top on to make sure everything fits.


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Step 4

For the lower shelf, take the other piece of plywood and measure a piece that is 1072mm. Cut to size and then place on top of the middle struts. Once you’ve made sure everything fits, then secure this shelf with four 30mm screws on each side.


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Step 5

Finish painting the tabletop and attach with 30mm screws, and then paint over the top of these screws so that they are hidden in the landscape. Add varnish to the table legs and lower shelf piece to make it more durable and easier to clean.


Assemble the train track and it’s ready for playing on. You can always repaint to change the landscape with different sample paint pots.


Place the optional timber panel on top of the table so it can double as a side table when it’s not used for play. The wood panel is heavy enough to sit on top without needing to be fixed.


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  • 1200mm x 396mm x 12mm plywood sheets x 2
  • 64mm x 19mm x 1.2m dressed Pine x 5
  • 42mm x 19mm x 1.2m dressed Pine x 2
  • 1200mm x 405mm x 18mm timber panel (optional)
  • 250mL paint sample pots, various colours
  • 65mm screws
  • 30mm timber screws
  • 1L clear timber varnish.


  • Panel saw or jigsaw
  • Drill
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • 25mm paintbrush
  • 50mm paintbrush.























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