Your kid saw a bead maze table at the toy store and started crying when you didn't bring it home. You don't blame him for wailing. A bead maze table, which features a kid-size table with wire loops, dips and mazes filled with beads, is an awesome toy. You'd love for him to have one, but the one at the store cost £130. Rather than saving for weeks, you can spend a day making your own. Use some simple supplies and a little creativity to build a bead maze table that outclasses even the overpriced one at the store.
Get your table supplies. Find a small round piece of wood for the table top and four wooden posts for legs. Lumber yards and home stores may have pieces already cut to fit your needs. Make sure the legs are short and very stable so kids can reach the tabletop and beads. Saw the pieces as necessary. Sand any rough edges. Pick up a plastic strip while you're there, or check hardware stores for one large enough to fit around the table's perimeter.
Build the table. Attach the four posts to the table top by hammering through the top and into the centre of each post. Add a dab of wood glue for extra reinforcement before you nail. Sand the table once again. Paint or coat with a sealer to further smooth the surface. For extra protection, glue a strip of plastic around the table's perimeter so no one gets splinters.
Set up your beads and wire. Get heavy-duty, plastic or vinyl coated wire from a hardware store and large beads from a craft store. The wire should be thick, like wire hangers, so it will stay in any position you bend it but cannot be easily bent by kids. Beads should be durable and have a hole large enough to slip easily in and out of the wire. Bend the wire into loops, droops, large spirals and other fascinating shapes that beads can travel over. Use at least six large pieces of wire in an array of shapes, each filled with at least 10 beads. Make sure to leave a few inches on either end of the wire for attaching it to the table.
Attach the beads and wire to the table. Once you have your beads and wire hooked up into fun designs, attach them to the table by drilling small holes through the tabletop, just large enough for the wire to fit through. Secure the ends of the wire beneath the tabletop by wrapping it around a washer. Use pliers to fully twist and hide any sharp edges.
Test it. Before you hand over anything for a kid to play with, it's best to test its durability. Shake the table to make sure it doesn't fall over. Pull on the wires to make sure they do not come loose.
You can cut your work in more than half by finding a small table at a thrift store, yard sale or used toy store and hooking up the beads.
Tips and warnings
- You can cut your work in more than half by finding a small table at a thrift store, yard sale or used toy store and hooking up the beads.