Sometimes, our busy lives get too busy and we just need a day at home. Today was one of those days.
My allergies are raging and Rex is in full growth-spurt and toddler mode. His breakfast included a meltdown tantrum, simply because I served him the food he asked for. The quest for clothes took several outfits this morning, because he was only happy with his shirt choice until I tried to put it on him. The number of freak-outs, melt-downs, and general toddler-y-ness was amping up by 10am and I knew today was a Home Day.
Rather than let things spiral out of control, I took a few deep breaths, brought my voice down to a low, soft level, and canceled all of our plans. Here’s what we did instead.
We donned our “boobles” (aka goggles) and sanded down the board I’d had cut for the train table top a few weeks ago. I picked up the table via Freecycle, but the top was pretty much a wash. I pulled off the old one and went to Home Depot where we picked up some red oak laminated plywood*. I had the board cut at the store on their wacky sideways table saw. At that time, we also purchased primer and polyurethane as well as brushes.
This project has been sitting in the garage, waiting for its turn for a couple weeks. The problem? The board didn’t fit quite right and the edges were sharp and in need of sanding. I wasn’t about to do that much sanding with a manual hand sander. Luckily, over the weekend, my father gifted me with his old Makita hand sander. It’s a corded sander in the style that I’ve always referred to as a “jitterbug”, but in actuality is called a palm or finishing sander. Mine looks very similar to this one, but is at least 15 years old. Age didn’t make a difference for this project, because that little sander did just what I wanted!
I sanded the heck out of the edge that didn’t quite fit as well as smoothing and rounding all the edges. With the sharp sides fixed and the top smoothed out, it fits in there quite nicely. I may have to sand a bit after we paint it, but for now it’s perfect.
With the top sanded and ready, I was able to prime it while Rex took a very unexpected self-directed nap.
When we acquired the table, my husband had the idea of making it a family project that would take weeks and let Rex feel a lot of ownership over a piece that will ultimately be his. The plan for this table top is to paint it in layers, using one color at a time. We have a rough idea sketched out of what we’d like the finished landscape to look like. I purchased powdered tempera paints from a local place** so we can mix just what we need to use for each painting session. The tempera paints are easy to clean up and the colors tend to dry brighter than other kid-friendly paints. When the painting is finished, we’ll put several coats of polyurethane over the top to keep it looking great for a long time.
The cost of this project is not cheap (we’re at about $50 in supplies, give or take a little), but it is less expensive than purchasing a train table new. Many of the supplies (tempera paints, leftover wood, primer) are more than enough and will be used for future projects. The real benefit isn’t saving money, it’s doing a project as a family.
*It was mis-marked on a high shelf as underlayment and was priced at $12.97. At the counter, it rang up at $29.97. They honored the shelf-tag price, phew!
**Shout out for I’ve Been Framed! They were the only place in town that carried powdered tempera paints. I wish I’d had more time to browse as they have great stuff at great prices.