Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Craft Tutorial: Kids Activity Tray for Legos, Beads, and as a Felt Board

It seems that as my girls get bigger, their toys get smaller and have more parts to them. And they like to play in different rooms in the house, as well as on the floor, on the couch…so I find their little toy parts everywhere. Nothing’s creepier than a Lego head staring back at you when you lift a couch cushion.

The Silly Pearl {Handmade}: Kids Activity Tray For Legos, Beading, Felt Board

I had found two wooden trays on two different trips to two different thrift stores. I was going to redo one for my mom and one for myself, when it dawned on me that I could stick a Lego board on it and also provide some “wells” to catch their Lego pieces. I also realized that they could also use the board for beads as well as their felt pieces (like their Screen Printed Felt Paper Dolls) by laying a piece of beading mat on top of the tray (it’s like a really soft felt for keeping beads from rolling around on your work surface).


The tray would keep everything in one place as they move around the house, and encourage them to put one project away before they take out a new one. Maybe Mama needs one for her crafts, too.

Here’s how I made our

Kids’ Activity Trays

For Beading, Legos, and as a Felt Board




  • White Primer
  • Craft Paint
  • Wooden dowels to fit your tray (you may need to trim them)
  • Fabrics:
  • Ruler/Straight edge, rotary cutter and self-healing mat (to cut fabric)
  • Mod Podge (I used Matte)
  • Foam brushes
  • Push Pins
  • Not shown: Sand paper, band saw (if needed to trim the dowels), sticky Velcro dots, beading cloth such as this one: Beadalon Beading Mats - Prevent Bead Rolling 12 X 9 Inch (Set of 3) or you could use a piece of felt.


Sand, prime and paint your wood tray. My girls selected purple and pink. I stuck push pins on all four corners underneath to serve as little legs to give me a place to hold the tray while painting it, and so it would dry without sticking to my newspaper (idea from Chica and Joe).


While the tray is drying, trim your wooden dowels if needed, and cut out your fabric to fit the dowels as well as the fabric for the bottom of the well (in my case, that would be the stamped fabric). For the dowel fabric, you can cut it just slightly longer but cut the width the exact circumference of the dowel. Also, stick a push pin on either end of the dowel to give you a place to hold the dowel while you are applying the Mod Podge.


Sand the dowel and coat with a layer of Mod Podge, and another coat on the wrong side of the fabric strip.


Here’s an easy way to apply the fabric to the dowel smoothly…lay the fabric strip down horizontally on your workspace, and hold the dowel by the pushpins with both hands, like rolling pin. Then roll the fabric right on to the dowel, smoothing the fabric as you go. The seams should meet together if you cut it exactly. Apply a coat of Mod Podge on top to seal. Allow to dry. Repeat with all dowels.


One of my girls insisted on using this purple floral, but it wasn’t long enough. So to hide the seam, I wrapped a strip of fabric around it and Mod Podge’d it down.


When the paint is dry on the tray, add the fabric strip that is the bottom of the well. Apply Mod Podge to the tray the width of the fabric, then apply Mod Podge to the wrong side of the fabric. Smooth down the fabric and apply a coat of Mod Podge on top to seal. Repeat for the other well on the opposite side. Allow to dry.


Use the glue gun to glue the Lego plate to the center of the tray. Then apply a bead of hot glue down the seam of the dowels and press down onto the tray, along the edges of the stamped fabric. You may need a rather thick bead of glue for it to stick. Test for wobbliness when it dries…if it wobbles, you can peel it off the tray carefully, peel off the dried hot glue, and reapply a thicker bead of hot glue and press down harder.


Finally, add Velcro to the tray and the beading mat which can be removed when the girls want to play their Legos, but the Velcro will keep the mat in place when they’re beading or using it as a felt board.


All done! Here are our trays in action…

-As a Felt Board


-For Beading


-For Legos, whether working on our own separate projects…


…or collaborating with each other.


We love snuggling with the tray on our laps, working on a project together.


So while I was working on our trays, I came across some other DIY Lego trays. Apparently I’m not the only Mama of kids who like Legos but wants them off the floor. These trays are both unique and awesome in their own ways! Go check out the Lego Trays from That’s My Letter and Finley and Oliver for more inspiration.

Anyways, hope these trays keep us more organized!

Linking: The Frugal Girls :: Tip Junkie :: Rook No. 17 :: How to Nest for Less::Oopsey Daisy :: The Trendy Treehouse ::Tidy Mom :: Creation Corner::Whipperberry :: Sassy Sites::Tatertots and Jello :: Lolly Jane Boutique : :Homemaker on a Dime :: The Gunny Sack :: Mine for the Making :: Fine Craft Guild :: Mad in Crafts :: Finding My Way In Texas :: Creative Jewish Mom :: The Taylor House



Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.



  1. This is a brilliant idea! Love it!

  2. Steph- these are over the top awesome! What a great way to use trays!

    We host a weekly Crafty Showcase (Sat-Thur) with the Featured links on Friday. It would be an honor if you would stop over and link up this fun crafty idea post or any others you want to share!

    We also have a linky for ETSY and Crafty Business links!

    Have a great weekend!


  3. What a fun, creative idea. Found this at Mad in Crafts. I'm glad I stopped by.

  4. This is such a fun idea! Love that it keeps everything together.

  5. Very Cool. Made it to my top 6 to share at Trendy Treehouse. I also am grabbing your button to share your blog as my featured blog. ;)

  6. Just posted about these boards, great idea! My girls are getting older now too, so its nice to see some options rather than breaking my neck on legos:)

  7. LOVE it! :) I need to show this to my husband! Our boys would love a lego tray. Thanks for sharing; I think your ideas are great! :)
    I'd love to invite you to join us and share Saturday Show & Tell on Cheerios and Lattes! I know my readers will love your ideas too!
    Have a great weekend!
    Mackenzie :)

  8. Steph, I love the colors and the whole idea too! Such a wonderful way to keep the activities together and make them portable. The Lego tray would be perfect for my girls for road trips as alternative to the all-consuming handheld videogames.

  9. Thank you for linking it up at our party at (and thank you for linking back). What a lovely fun idea to make these play boards. Keeps things together and your table free when you want/need it. Brilliant.

    We'll have "Featured"- projects + a whole new round of entries tomorrow, Wednesday! See you then!

  10. I know I'm probably missing the whole point, but I LOVE that very last picture! Handsome dude spending time with his little princesses- if Mod Podge can do that, sign me up :) I am thinking about doing this on a wall rather than a tray, reckon it might work?

  11. This is such an awesome idea! I have pinned it and shared it on G+.
    Thank-you for the inspiration!


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