Hi there, friends! I’m excited to show you how we recently created a convertible coffee table. That is, we took our existing coffee table and attached a hidden paper roll to it to turn into an arts and crafts table for our kids. See, we hang out in our family room quite often during the colder months to watch movies and enjoy the fire, but it’s kind of a small space. The kids like to draw while they’re watching TV, and there just wasn’t a good spot to do that. Enter my handy husband who devised a way to turn our coffee table into a great space for the girls to create.
But first, let’s back up a step. I bought this coffee table for $5–five bucks, people!–at a junk shop. Here it is before:
Isn’t she a beauty? I sanded it down, and painted it cream, and here it is in our family room now:
It looks pretty good, and I’d like to keep it that way. Meaning…I don’t really love the idea of crayon marks all over it, nor do I want to replace it with a table designed for kids. Our house is small. I’m not willing to sacrifice what prettiness we do have for a house that looks more like a Gymboree.
Now, since the kids are always fighting with my tray for space for their art supplies, we just set it aside for them, and they pull their paper across the top for a nice long space built for two. You can just baaaarely see the roll of paper under the right-hand side of the table if you squint. Here it is unrolled.
And here’s the deets on how we attached the roll so that we can take it on and off again to refill it.
Tools & Materials
- Paper roll (they sell them on Amazon; just be sure to get one that’s not too wide for your coffee table)
- Dowel rod
- 2 small eye screws
- 2 anchor shackles
- Power drill
- Measuring tape
First, measure the width of your roll of paper. Add about 1/2″ to this number. Flip your table over and measure that distance from the end of your coffee table on both sides. Mark these two spots with your Sharpie.
Next, look at the threading on your eye hooks. You want to ensure that these will not screw all the way through your table or they’ll stick out the top. Not good. Mark a drill bit that’s slightly smaller in diameter than your eye screw at the same depth as the threading on your eye screw. This will ensure that you don’t screw a pilot hole all the way through your table.
Drill pilot holes where your Sharpie marks are on the table, stopping when you hit the Sharpie mark on your drill bit.
Next, screw in the eye screws so that the opening is facing the end of your coffee table.
Now, measure your dowel rod to fit the inside width of your coffee table. You’ll want to cut it just slightly shorter than the inside table width.
After your dowel rod is cut, slide the paper roll onto it and attach the dowel to the eye screws using these:
Now the paper will roll freely. You can easily put on a new roll by unscrewing one of the anchor shackles, slipping off the empty tube and replacing it with a full one, then screwing the shackle back onto the eye screw. Keep the paper taught by attaching it to the other end of the coffee table with a bulldog clip.
And there you have it! I love that the paper roll is hidden when the kids aren’t using it, and they love that they have a great big space to draw whenever we hang out and watch TV as a family. It’s a win-win!
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