This is 17 Awesome Tips for Making a Kids Table and Chairs, your guide all of the tips and tricks that you need to know in order to make a fun table and chairs for young kids. This is a fun project, and after you read these ideas you will get a much better start. Enjoy.
Making a Kids Table and Chairs
Making woodworking projects for kids is one of the most rewarding things you can possibly do with your hobby. Not only do you get to enrich the lives of young children, but the gratitude and enjoyment you get in return is just amazing.
Kids love things that they can play with, and they also love things they can use. The table and chairs is a perfect item for young kids, which they can use for eating and activities. It’s also an easy woodworking project, even for a beginner without very many tools.
Like any project, there are a few things that you can do to make it more successful, and easier for you to accomplish. I’ll cover all of these things coming up in the post, and your first table will be much better for it.
Simple Designs Win
The first tip is definitely the most important. One of the best things that you can do right out of the gate is the set yourself up for success. This initial step will set the tone for all of the rest, and can make the difference between a successful project and firewood.
Pick a simple design that is easy to execute. Especially as a beginner, the more elaborate of a design that you choose, the more difficult the building process is going to be. This even holds true for amateur and seasoned wood workers.
Simple designs tend to take less time, tend to use fewer tools, and also tend to use easier techniques. Even if you are the world’s gift to woodworking, easier methods will always translate into a quicker project that is more successful.
Avoid the really over-the-top designs, and instead to choose something that is straightforward, easy to make, and something you’ll actually complete. That’s another little trick wrapped up in this tip, simple designs tend to actually be completed more than elaborate designs.
The Height of the Kids
It’s worth noting that the height of the children will have at least a little bit of an impact on the overall proportions of your table and chairs. Most sets of plans that you work from will already have this figured out for you, but it’s worth paying attention to.
Taller and older children will obviously need a little different design proportions than shorter and younger children. As the kids grow, so does the furniture. Watch closely, and look at the age recommendations on the designs that you choose.
If you are looking to create a small table and chairs for children that are two and three years old, then look for something with that age range as the recommendation. Look for smaller dimensions, and it will fit those children really well.
See Also: Making Toys For Kids
The Height of the Chairs in Relation to the Table
Another tip, especially if you are designing this on your own, is to pay attention to the height of the seats of the chairs relative to the height of the table top. When you’re making something small, it can be easy to miss a detail like this.
You need to have a little bit of extra room in between the seats and the table top in order for their little legs to slide under the table. You also want to have more room than normal because kids like to squirm around on their chairs, and get in/out of them in funny ways.
You don’t want to have a situation where the kids can’t push the chairs underneath the table without their legs getting pinched. You also don’t want to have a table top so high, that the kids feel like they’re sitting very low. Again, work from a good design and you won’t have to worry too much about this, just pay attention as you go.
One thing that you can do if you’re planning on designing everything yourself is to at least use an existing design for your proportions. This will help guide you when it comes to rough dimensions, and then you can make it custom from there.
Overall Size of Table
Depending on what the table is going to be used for, pay attention to the overall size of your kids table. If you are going to have small activities for just one child, the table doesn’t have to be very large.
However, if you’re going to have a lot of activities, larger activities, and more children, that it’s a good idea to make a larger table. Also, consider the space that you have to place the table, and where it will go in the end.
Lots of people put small tables like this out in the living room so that way the kids can do their activities while the parents relax in the same room. Sometimes, the tables will also go in the bedroom, and both of these have different size requirements.
See Also: Printable Woodworking Tips Cards
Chairs Not Tipping Over
When you design your chairs, it’s very important that you make them sturdy. Nothing was sadden you more than to see a kid fall off of one of your chairs and hurt themselves. It will sadden you even further to find out that it was because of a poorly designed chair on your part.
Think about stability and sturdiness at all times. Kids have a funny way of hopping into chairs and sliding out of them. It’s hard to accommodate all of those little differences, but in general a sturdy, strong chair is a must for kids furniture.
Think about how your design will work, and look for obvious mistakes. Chairs that have narrow bases are easier to tip, just as chairs that are very tall. Pay attention to these design elements, and build a set of sturdy chairs on purpose.
See Also: Homemade Bear Chair
Look Online for Common Dimensions
If you don’t want to pay for a set of plans to get a look at dimensions, take a look online. There are plenty of places that you can find free plans, and there are also places that will just tell you the dimensions of the kids table and chairs that they’re selling.
All of these are great resources, and you can pull together all of the data you need to make good design decisions right away. The other really nice thing is that it won’t cost you a single dime to come up with all the dimensions.
Once you know what you’re looking for, and you know the sizes, bring that data back into the shop and create yourself a working drawing. Add all of your dimensions, and you can create a set of plans simply from what you discovered through your research.
No Sharp Corners / Grandfather Trick
Nothing takes the smile away from a little kid like hurting themselves on a sharp edge or a sharp corner on a project that you gave them. This goes for any woodworking project, but it’s very important for pieces of furniture like chairs and tables.
The difference between most little wooden toys and a piece of furniture is the stability. A table and a chair aren’t going to move when a young kid falls on them or bangs into them. This means if a kid falls and hits their head on the table, those corners are going to be a really big problem.
A bump on the head is still going to hurt, but when you drive your head directly into a sharp corner, it can be even worse. One of the best things that you can do in a case like this is to round the corner significantly, or just bevel them flat.
Watch your edges to, and round these over as well. You can do this with a router bit, or you can do it with a piece of sandpaper in a block. Either way, don’t leave anything sharp are pointy for a little kid to hurt themselves with.
A quick little funny story is how this happened to me as a toddler. It only took me hitting my head once, and my grandfather promptly sawed the corners off of every piece of my grandmothers new furniture in the house with a hand saw. Needless to say my grandmother was not happy about it, but those corners never bothered another of their grandchildren again.
I did the same trick on my Kitchen Helper Learning Tower Plans and you can see what I mean by beveling the corners.
No Splinters for the Kids
Another thing to look at is the species of wood that you choose. Some species are more splintery than others, but you can also make sure to go over the pieces thoroughly and ensure that there are no splinters present.
A splinter is one of those things that’s very scary for a kid, and in their mind all they did was touch their new table and chairs and it bit them. They have no idea why, all they know is that it might do it again, so I can be very scary.
Make sure to go over your piece very thoroughly, especially if you are using a piece of wood that is more brittle and has more sharp areas. Remove anything and everything that could possibly cause a snag on a child, and it will be a better experience for them.
See Also: 17 Important Tips on How to Sand Wood
No Sharp Hardware or Edges
Another thing to take a look at is your hardware. The type of hardware that you use, and how you use it can have an impact on the usability of the piece. Make sure that your hardware doesn’t cause any problems for how the children use the table.
This is going to be the most common with screws. Screw heads that stick up can cause points were kids can snag, and they can even cut themselves. Make sure that all of your screw heads are sunk below the surface, and consider filling them in.
Again, it’s very important that you deliver a flawless experience for a child. They won’t understand what happened to them most likely, and they could develop a fear of their table. That’s the last thing you want to, so pay extra attention to this part.
Use Strong Wood Glue
Another way to make your kids tables and chairs very strong is to use a strong wood glue. This really comes down to selecting a name brand that you trust, and using that glue for all of the wood to wood joints on the entire table and chairs.
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with Titebond original wood glue, in the red bottle. I’ve been using this stuff forever, and I’m definitely not alone. Millions of woodworkers trust their projects to Titebond, which means you can feel good about doing the same thing.
Whatever you do, don’t use cheap glue. Also, don’t use glue that’s old, or that may have dried up or got slightly thicker or thinner over time. It’s just not worth trying to use sketchy glue and saving a dollar to ruin a woodworking project down the road.
Strong Attachment Methods
Another great tip is to think about your attachment methods for all of the different parts and pieces that will go together to form the table and chairs. It’s a great idea to make them strong, and also use some redundancy.
It should go without saying that you don’t want to put two pieces of wood together and just fire one random brad nail through it. You need to make joints that are strong, and even double up on your joinery adn attachment methods for extra protection.
For example, if you are using wood glue, think about also adding dowels. This is a secondary joining method that augments the first, and now you have two great ways of holding something together, working in harmony to keep your project in one piece.
See Also: 7 Easy Woodworking Joints for Beginners
Redundant Construction for Extra Strength and Safety
Redundancy is definitely something worth covering a little bit more in depth, because it’s a great way to make your projects more safe. Redundancy simply means more than one method of doing the same thing on the same part.
In aviation, redundancy is very common. When you’re flying an airplane through the air, and one system fails, you don’t have the luxury of just pulling over and fixing it. You need to have a back up, or a redundant feature to keep you alive.
While the kids table and chairs isn’t an airplane full of people traveling over the ocean, it’s still important in it’s own way. Design your fastening methods especially with overlapping redundancies that hold the project together very sturdily. You will feel better about the build in the long run.
See Also: 50 Awesome Reasons to be a Woodworker
Light Weight Chairs
For the chairs, try to make a design that is lightweight. More than likely the table remain stationary the entire time it’s in use. The only pieces that are going to move normally are the chairs.
Little kids especially are not super strong. They are not going to be able to handle a really bulky chair very well. If you design your chairs to be too heavy, it may not be a fun user experience for the little kids.
Instead, make your chairs at a reasonable weight that way they can be moved by someone that is younger. After all, the audience for this project is very young, so you definitely need to think about them when you’re making your building decisions.
Food Safe Finish
Another thing to consider is the finish. My recommendation is that you pick up food safe finish because you just have no idea what those kids are going to do. When in doubt, be extra safe when you’re making anything for children.
There are a number of great food safe finishes out there that you can choose from. In general, most finishes are actually considered food safe after they’ve completely cured and all of the sultans have evaporated way.
However, you can pick out something that has been rated for contact with food, and use that as your finish for your table and chairs. This way, if a child accidentally drops their chicken nuggets on the table, they can pick them up and still be safe.
Fun Paint Colors
And easy way to enhance the look of this table and chairs is to use milk paint. This is a much safer version of paint than you find in home-improvement stores, and it’s great for a small project like this for a number of reasons.
First of all, milk paint tends to showcase more old-fashioned colors. This is great for a little table and chairs that’s meant for kids, because it adds a whimsical element and a classic look that is really cute on this project.
Another thing that’s great about milk paint is that it’s more natural (pay attention to what you buy and read the labels) than regular house paint. This means you could have a little bit of food contact without there being many problems. You just don’t know with kids, so definitely be safe.
What You Can Turn it Into After They Grow Up
This is way in the future, but you may want to think about what you can turn that table and chairs into after the kids grow up. You have two options essentially with this set, either pass it down to the next set of kids, or make it into something else.
The last thing you would ever want to do is throw away a treasure like this. You can turn the chairs into small plant stands, and you might even be able to turn the table into a mini bench with a little bit of reinforcement.
Whatever you do, don’t throw away the treasure like this. Up cycle it into something else that’s more useful as the kids have now grown up, or even make something that the kids can use once they’re too big for the table.
You have a lot of options here, so when the time comes take a look online and come up with something that preserves your project.
See Also: DIY Growth Chart Ruler
How to Preserve it for the Next Generation
The absolute best thing that you could possibly do with this project is to pass it down from generation to generation. It’s an amazing thing to have a family heirloom like this, especially one that you made with your own two hands.
It would be amazing to be a part of something that was still in use long after you are gone. It says a lot about your craftsmanship, and your ability to make something that people love year after year after year.
Think about that at all times when you are building this project. You could literally end up making something that lasts for 100 years. That’s just incredible if you think about it. There might be kids sitting at great great great grandpa‘s or grandma’s little table and chairs.
You are making quite an exceptional family heirloom here, definitely keep that in mind.
Your Action Assignment
Now that you know 17 different tips on making a kids table and chairs, it’s time to take action. Head out into your shop and break out a piece of paper and pencil. Brainstorm some great ideas, and start looking at different drawings and plans.
Making the kids table/chair set is creating a family legacy, and an heirloom that will be passed from generation to generation. Think of a great design, redundant building features, and a great finish that will last a long time.
You can make an excellent project, all you need to do is put your mind to it. If you have any questions on any of these tips, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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