I don’t know about you guys, but $300.00 as the average price for a light table seems a bit insane to me! You may have seen these guys at children’s museums or kindergarten classrooms, but they’re starting to pop up in subdivisions as well!
For my son’s 3rd birthday, I knew I wanted to invest in Magnatiles. YAY for Target carrying the line!
While basic play would surely be enough to entertain him, I wanted to add the light factor to enhance play time (and the educational bonus as there are SO many things you can do with a light table!). You can clearly see the difference in playing with these type of tiles on a regular table verses a light table:
I seriously could not believe the price tag for these tables when I started researching! While several pinterest people made DIY light tables, they weren’t exactly what I was looking for. Thankfully, Ikea and my husband’s handyman-ness saved the day!
We purchased the Ikea Flisat Children’s table for $49.99, and added two coordinating storage bins for $3.00 each. Built as intended, the table has room for two children to sit and play together at the same time, with ample toy / craft storage under the removable table top.
We decided to keep one half of the table in its original condition for my soon-to-be first grader to use as a desk / drawing area / lego building station. We used an acrylic sheet cut to size (Lowe’s will cut it for you for FREE!) to replace the second half of the table top. TIP: Keep the protective film ON the plexi glass or else you’ll have to use frost spray to duplicate the look.
Deciding on the lighting was honestly the hardest / longest part of this project. My first thought was to use the LED puck lights you would normally place under a cabinet. However, my husband really wanted to go with the LED strip lights, and once I saw them at the store, it was an obvious answer as to what we should go with! This particular kind has a wireless remote control that can cycle through 16 colors in a strobe feature, or fade (my favorite), or just stay on one single color.
This is where my husband took over the project. He drilled a small hole in the plastic storage bin to slide the cord through, and then taped it to the outside of the bin. The LED strips were self adhesive, and he lined them inside the basket. Here’s where the protective film on your plexi glass comes in handy. LED lights are BRIGHT (Oh, this also has a dimmer feature!) and can hurt little one’s eyes. The film cuts down on the glare and allows for the child to stare at the colorful table top without burning his eyeballs out of his head.
The storage on the other side of the table is a great spot to hold all of the tiles, and the table top just gently slides right into place when you’re done!
Since this is a birthday present for my son and it’s not quite his birthday yet, I let my oldest check it out to make sure it was as awesome as I thought. She completely agreed and put her stamp of approval on it. : )
Ikea Flisat Children’s Table: $49.99
Two Coordinating Ikea Storage Bins: $3.00 ea / $6.00 total
Two Ikea Mammut Children’s Stools: $7.99 ea / $15.98
18″ x 24″ Acrylic Sheet: $11.97
LED Strip Color Change Light: $39.99
Not only did I save over $175.00 for crafting our own custom table, we also doubled the space that this particular brand offers! Instead of “just” a light table, we have a fully functioning desk too! It’s two tables in one! With a pretty awesome light feature now : )