how to build a tuff tray stand diy
Creative Play Ideas,  Outdoor Play,  Tuff Tray Play

How To Build A Tuff Tray Stand DIY Style

We love Tuff Tray Play but it can be expensive to get set up with the tray and stand to begin with!

But what if there was a way to keep costs down and get the tray play setting you’ve always wanted?

That’s just what we are going to do!

After searching the internet we realised that apart from a handful of photos of homemade stands, no one has actually given any guidance on how to make your own Tuff Tray Stand and walk you through the process in any kind of detail, so that’s exactly what we’re going to do!

Guiding you through the step by step, we will walk through exactly how we made our Tuff Tray Stand with measurements and any relevant details, and suggest any changes you may wish to make along the way.

How To Make A Tuff Tray Stand

As much as I’d like to take full credit for this post, I can’t – it was in fact my wonderful husband who was the brains behind this wooden Tuff Tray Stand stand and so this post actually comes under ‘Dad’s Creative Shed’ … we’re pretty proud of that name 😛 (watch out for future posts!)

Tuff tray Activities Outdoor Play Wooden Tuff Tray Stand DIY ideas

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What You Will Need

Wood – We used 2 lengths of treated wood from B&Q each measuring 2.4m (H62mmx W38mm) for £6 each – we wanted to keep our stand outside so this was perfect for that but any wood will work when cut to size (ours is quite heavy but this ensures that it will not tip over)

Long Screws – These need to be long enough to go all the way through the wooden leg and into the cross beam

Jigsaw – We used our Bosch Jigsaw which is really good value for a mid-priced jigsaw

Wood Glue – We recommend using a strong wood glue like Evo Stik Wood Glue

You will also need:

Set Square


Tape Measure


Making the Legs for Your Wooden Tuff Tray Stand

Before we begin walking through the entire process, we do need to point out that for this stand we are using a 70cm ‘Mini’ Tuff Tray so some of the measurements will need to be adjusted accordingly (we love the mini tuff tray as it is perfect for at-home use and is still plenty big enough for our two children)

  1. Cut to Desired Height – Okay so let’s get started with the legs – the height of the legs is entirely up to you, we went for 50cm high which meant we were able to cut out two legs from each length of wood
  2. Cut Out Top Section to Fit – You will need to cut out a piece at the top of each leg so that it sits snugly in the rim of the tuff tray as in the photo above (for us, this worked out that we needed to cut across by 3cm, and 4cm from the top – if you are using a larger sized Tuff Tray (which would be 100cm) then it would probably be best to make a mock-up with a piece of card or spare wood to get the right profile)
  3. Check for a Snug Fit – Once you have completed the legs make sure that they all sit nicely in each of the corners ready for the next part

Making The Cross Members For Your Wooden Tuff Tray Stand

fitting the cross members togegther

4. Measure for Cross Members – With your Tuff Tray upside down, and with two of your legs still in place on opposite corners, you now need to measure the distance between them, this will give you the measurement for the 4 pieces you will need to make up the two crosses (one for the top, one for the bottom) Add 5cm to this measurement so they can be jointed in to the legs – cut 4 of these

5. Joining the cross beams – On the top edge of each crossbeam, mark the centre point. Mark out the width of your wood at this centre point (for us, 38mm) and cut down into the wood exactly half of the height of your wood (for us, half of 62mm – 31mm).

6. Test Crossbeams Fit – Slot together crossbeams checking they fit well and make any adjustments as necessary (Handy hint – small adjustments, once it’s gone you can’t add it back!)

Making the Leg Joints For Your Wooden Tuff Tray Stand

7. Leg Joint Measurements – Each leg will need a further 2 sections cutting out to accommodate the jointing of the crossbeams. Each cut should be the same height as your wood (for us, 62mm), and 2.5cm into the leg which will accommodate the extra 5cms that we allowed for earlier on the crossbeams.

8. Cutting the joints – The first cut should be directly below the notch made at the beginning for the tuff tray rim recess – the other cut should be towards the bottom of the leg but off the ground – make sure you cut them all in the same place!!

Assembling Your Wooden Tuff Tray Stand

9. Test Fit – First put the crossbeams together and then slot in the legs – make any adjustments necessary at this point to ensure a snug fit

10. Attach the legs – Put a ‘splodge’ of glue in the joint of each leg and push into place – then pre-drill a hole through the leg into the crossbeam (we used a 3mm drill bit) and then screw to secure together (we used 70mm screws) – Repeat for every leg.

Finishing Touches For Your Wooden Tuff Tray Stand

Tuff Tray Stand DIY ideas

Before you place your Tuff Tray on top, be sure to sand down any rough edges and check all is secure! And there you have it, your very own DIY Tuff Tray Stand!

The Recap

  • Cut 4 legs to fit the rim of the tray
  • Cut 4 lengths to create 2 cross members
  • Cut sections to fit together
  • Assemble, secure with screws and sand to finish!

For lots of ideas and inspiration for Tuff Tray Activities check out my other posts – here is one all about Dinosaurs!

Happy Creating!

Louisa (& Stephen of ‘Dad’s Creative Shed!)

Toddler activities at home

If you’re looking for ideas for your little one’s Tuff tray then why not take a look at the ‘Book of Play’ – I specialise in creating play for toddlers and preschoolers at home based on their interests!