Disclosure: I was financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience. #Ad #WestlakeAceYourProject
Summer is finally upon us and we couldn’t be more excited. My daughter and I are dying to get outside and soak up some of this warm weather. I’m constantly looking for new activities to get us outdoors. Some of our favorites include chalk, bubbles, park days, pool visits, and walks. This summer I’m looking to add a new activity to our day and that is a water table. Water tables are a great tool to encourage your child to engage in some sensory play. In fact, that’s one of my favorite things about them.
If you search the internet, then you will find a variety of options for water tables. However, I struggled to find an option that fit both my vision and my budget. So, I decided to make one myself. I’m thrilled that I did. I have a table that perfectly meets my needs on a budget that I could afford. Plus, making a water table was beyond simple. This entire project can be completed in an afternoon. It’s a win win! Here are a few key items I wanted incorporate in my water table.
- The ability to be used with multiple mediums (sand, water, rice, etc).
- A height that my toddler could easily reach.
- A balance between being big enough for play and not too large that it becomes overstimulating.
- Easy to clean.
- The ability to grow and adapt as my daughter gets older.
Where to Buy Supplies for a Water Table
All of the supplies for this project were purchased from Westlake Ace Hardware. I always shop with Ace for all of my DIY projects. I love that I can find all of my supplies in one convenient location. This saves me so much time while prepping for a project. This is always an important factor for me. After all, now that I have a daughter I don’t have the time to go to multiple locations to get supplies.
Additionally, I truly value the level of customer service I receive every time I walk through the doors at Ace. I’m always met with knowledgeable associates who are happy to help answer any of my questions. I know I will always be taken care of when I shop with Westlake Ace. For example, when I went shopping for this project I was assisted by the paint specialist – Steve. He helped me pick the perfect paint and even color for my project. Then, after we were done he left his department to walk us around the store to make sure we found everything we needed for our project. There was no mindlessly wandering the aisles hoping I stumbled across what I needed. Instead, I was able to quickly and efficiently grab all of my supplies.
Here is what I needed for this project:
- 3 or 4 10′ pieces of 3/4″ PVC (this will depend on the size of tub you use)
- 2 cross connections
- 4 end caps
- 14 T connections
- 10 90 degree elbows
- 4 3-way elbows
- PVC cement
- Paint brush
- Sandpaper (we used 220 grit)
- Measuring tape
- PVC pipe cutters
- Sharpie (to mark cutting spots on PVC)
- At least 1 plastic storage tub (you’ll need one for each play material ie. sand, water, rice)
How to Build a Water Table
Taking on a project like this can be overwhelming at first. This is especially true if building things is not really your forte. However, it really is a simple and quick project once you get into it. Here’s a quick run down of how we built our own water table.
- Measure your storage container to determine the size of your table. All of the measurements for the table will be based off of the size of the container you chose.
- Every plastic storage container has a lip at the top of all four sides for the lid to snap onto. You’ll start by measuring from the middle of the lip on one side to the middle of the lip on the opposite side. Do this for both length and width. These measurements will determine the size of the PVC pipe that runs the entire length and width of the table.
- Measure from the bottom of the lip at the top of the container to the bottom of the container. These measurements will determine the depth of your table.
- Cut your PVC pipe for the table.
- Use the measurements above to cut the PVC piping for the width, length, and depth of the table.
- Use the measurements of width to cut the two support pieces for the legs and the two support pieces for the storage bin.
- Cut 4 8″ pieces for the top of the table legs and 4 6″ pieces for the bottom of the table legs. These measurements are what worked best for the height of our toddler. You can change these based on the height of your kids.
- To create the bridge on top of the table use the measurement of length for the top. The vertical sections of PVC pipe were 12″ pieces. The vertical sections can again be adjusted based on the height of your kids.
- Before cutting your PVC pipe consider how many connectors will be in that piece. A good rule of thumb is to subtract 1″ from the overall length per connecter. For example, If you are working on a piece that is 20″ and there are 2 T-connecters you will subtract 2″ leaving you with an 18″ piece.
- Create additional pipe arrangements.
- You will have left over pipe after you cut the sections for your table. Use the additional piping and connectors to create fun patterns to come off of the bridge. We don’t glue these sections in. So, they are easily interchangeable for the kids to mix and match.
- Assemble your water table completely.
- Before gluing anything, double check your work by completely assembling the water table. It is very easy to fix the piping if it is too long or short before it has been glued.
- This step may add some extra time, but it is worth it to make sure everything fits snuggly before it’s too late to make changes.
- Glue your water table together using the PVC cement.
- Now that you know your water table fits together well, it is time to disassemble and glue.
- We chose not to glue the top bridge piece to the main frame so that we could remove it depending on the materials we are playing with. I plan to use this table as a sensory table for my daughter with rice, foam, etc. So, I wanted the option to change it as needed.
- We also opted out of gluing the additional connecting pieces to the bridge. This way our daughter can mix and match them as she pleases.
How to Paint a Water Table
My favorite part of the process was painting our water table. This is the part where you can get really creative and personalize the table for your kids. When choosing my paint color I knew I wanted something really bright and fun. I tend to gravitate towards neutral colors. So, when I do something for my daughter I always try to push myself out of my comfort zone and try something bold. With the help of the Paint Specialist at Ace I decided to use the color Blazing Orchid by Clark + Kensington. Westlake Ace Hardware carries a lot of great paint lines. So, it was a little difficult to choose. However, there are a few big selling points that led me to Clark + Kensington.
- Clark + Kensington is a budget friendly paint option.
- Despite the affordable price point, the quality of Clark + Kensington paint is top notch. I know it can withstand the wear and tear of kids.
- Clark + Kensington combines a paint and a primer into one. This helps save me a ton of time during the painting process.
Now that you have selected your paint, it’s time to get to work. Painting a water table is actually pretty simple and quick. The key is making sure it is assembled before painting. You don’t want to paint the PVC pipes individually and then try to assemble it. Once you have it all assembled, you will want to lightly sand down all of the PVC pipes. This way the paint has something to stick to. After you are done sanding, the painting is pretty straight forward. I used a regular paint brush and a quart of paint and was done in a couple of hours.