DIY Play Table: Ikea Vittsjo Coffee Table Hack

Modern Kids' Lounge/playroom-FWMADEBYCARLI.COM

Guys, do you remember a little over a year ago, when I was working on the kids’ playroom/lounge at my mom’s new house?  Do you also remember when I created this little DIY Ikea coffee table hack, and I was so excited to share all about how I did it?  Welp, this tutorial sat in my drafts folder for over a year now—-oh the shame!  But honestly, this is one of my favorite little hacks, and one of my favorite spaces I worked on last year.  If you didn’t get a chance to see the reveal, you can see it HERE.

So it goes like this:  I had been thinking up this project for weeks.  We had a perfectly good coffee table that was no longer of use to us.  But if you know me, I really hate to get rid of things that still have potential.  I like to bring out the potential of items and make them work a little harder for me if possible.  I mean, even though it was a $60 Ikea Vittsjo coffee table, and it had served our family for about three years now, I knew it still had some life in it.  In creating the kids’ lounge at #mamasnewhouse, I thought about the space and how much I needed to maximize it since it is a such small room, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks–a play table!

Whenever I dream up an idea I always hit pinterest to see if I am the only one who thought of this-and if not, why reinvent the wheel??? But alas, I found no evidence of this hack being attempted, so then I had to think long and hard how I would make it work–I’ll spare you all the details and get down to the tutorial, because that’s what you came here for, right?  (Please excuse the grainy cell phone pics, sometimes this is the easiest way for me to document a process).

So this table has a basic metal frame and comes as a two piece set, I used only the larger portion of the table for this hack.  The larger portion of the table has a bottom shelf made of mdf, and the top is glass.

What I used:

  • 2-6′ 1×2″s
  • 2-1″x4″x6′
  • 1.5″ wood screws
  • Wood Filler
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood Stain
  • Nail Gun with air compressor
  • Screw Gun
  • Sanding Block
  • Orbital Hand Sander
  • Thin plywood, or luan board
  • Speed Square
  • Caulk and Caulking gun

What I did:

I took the glass piece and traced it on some thin plywood leftover from my DIY vent hood cover.  Using my jig saw, I cut out the traced rectangle and inserted it into the table and rested it on the supports that the glass would typically rest on.

I then created a frame, by cutting my 1″x2″‘s:  Two for the length of the table, approximately 35 3/8, and two for the depth of the table approximately 17 3/4″, basically using the metal frame as my template.

I screwed the frame together, using 1.5″ screws.  In hindsight, brad nails and nail glue would have worked just as well and would have been less noticeable.

Built a rectangular frame, using a quick square to ensure that the corners were level.
My table base was less than perfect due to using the jigsaw, but that part won’t show on the finished product.

Next, I used my stapler and 1″ brad nails and nailed the frame to the plywood from underneath.

I then caulked the seams on the inside of the table top frame.

Once dry, I filled nail holes and splintered wood and sanded the base and frame until smooth, rounding the sharp edges slightly.

Next, I needed to build a top–I ran back out to the store and grabbed 2-1x4x6’s and 1 more 1″x2″.


I cut the 1″x2″ into two 17″ end pieces for table top, and then two-16″ support brackets for the slotted top.  The 1×4 was cut into four 35 3/8″ slats for the table top, these would serve as my slotted top.

I lined the boards up on the frame and eyeballed the spacing of the slats, ensuring they lined up on the edges of the table was my priority. I used a speed square to make sure that everything was square.   I then placed the support brackets vertically across the horizontal slats and screwed them down.

Then I placed the end pieces on each end of the table and nailed them into the frame using 2″ brad nails.

Here you can see an overhang.  The end board gets nailed to that top bar, which secures the removable top on each end.
Once the top and side piece shown here are nailed together, this makes up the top of the table, which can be lifted

I then filled any holes and cracks and sanded them down with a combo of a sander and sanding blocks, paying close attention to the edges and corners.

Next, I stained the wood using a combination of stains–I very rarely use the stain directly out of the can-I always mix and match until I get the color that I desire.

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