DIY Etch-A-Sketch coffee table!
You won’t need any fancy books to cover this genius coffee table — it’s an interactive art display for the lucky visitors and inhabitants of your home. Using an Etch-A-Sketch and a zen garden as his inspiration, Caleb Kraft created a larger than life version of the classic boredom-busting toy that looks surprisingly feasible for even novice makers who love a challenge.
As a Senior Editor at Make, Kraft can obviously handle some intensely complicated projects, but this coffee table uses materials that are easily found at hardware stores, such as plywood, string, washers, and ball bearings. The Etch-A-Sketch works using a sort of cable pulley system that moves along a grid in conjunction with steel bars.
A small sliding piece of metal connects the bars and acts as the central point for mounting the magnet. After the additions of a border around the tabletop, a paint job, some sand, and a Plexiglas topper, the table becomes a fun, tech-free, and creative activity. Turning the two giant knobs (which are attached to dowel rods) controls the operation, dragging the magnetic ball bearing through the sand in different directions, creating designs or words.
When you or the kiddos are ready to redo, simply slap the table on the side to reset and then begin again to get back in the zen zone. Perhaps the table could also have another use besides entertainment: you could leave not-so-subtle nudges to your kids such as “Did you do your chores?” to consider before they put their feet up and relax. This Etch-A-Sketch coffee table looks like an ambitious, hands-on family project, but even if you hire it out to some pros to tackle, we guarantee it will be among the most heavily used “toys” for years to come.