Play Kitchen

Quick Breakdown:

Carcass: $15 entertainment shelf from the thrift store (YES-finally found something that would work)! I love the granite-looking top and the curved front, as well as the height.  It fits perfectly under the kitchen bar).  This is the "before" shot-though I guess it's actually the "during" shot.  Originally it had some short feet, and that black thing on the left was attached to the bottom and would swing out-perhaps for hiding a remote?  The panel on the left was originally some shelves that were the same width as the ones on the right.  I moved the panel over and added a door.  I'd also already cut the hole for the sink before I thought to take the "before" photo.
Doors, drawer and added shelves: reclaimed particle board from Habitat for Humanity.
Knobs: unfinished wood wheels from hardware store, painted and bolted loosely so they spin, unfinished wood handles and a black sphere knob for the drawer (~$12.50, not including the two handles I broke before I realized the bolts included were too long).
Sink: brownie pan from the dollar store. I cut a hole in the top of the entertainment center the size of the pan minus the rim, and dropped it in.
Faucet: pvc p-trap ($4) spray painted copper (because that's what I had already).  I thought at first I'd use some blue ribbon for water, but found this cool yarn in my stash and decided to use it instead.  I just tied it together at one end, ran it through the pipe, and tied it to one of the bolts I used for the water taps. 
Oven Door: cut hole with jigsaw, then attached a $4 piece of plexiglass to the back.  I found the stove rack 2/$1 at the dollar store. I originally planned on putting one halfway up but they were too short.  I may do that if I find one that fits.
Stove Burners: painted wide-mouth mason jar lids
Hardware: I used four of the smallest hinges I could find ($1 for a two-pack), and two magnetic cabinet fasteners to keep them closed ($1).  I spent a lot more on screws and bolts than I thought I would, about $5 total including the bolts.  You'd think with all the random hardware I already have that I wouldn't have to buy anything...but nothing I had quite worked with that silly particle board.
Paint: One can of red spray paint, and some crafting paint. $3
Accessories: The dish set was part of the present, and his aunt sent the cute wood condiment set from Plan Toys.
Apron:  I made this in a hurry a few days ago when he insisted on an apron like mine while helping me cook.  I just used what I had on hand-but love how it turned out. I may make a pattern up and post it if there is interest.

My little buddy is still at the stage where he wants to do everything I do-and cooking is one of his favorites.  Tonight he helped put the chopped apples into a pot and to his delight, he got to sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar.  This concoction went over some pork chops, yummy!
For his second birthday I wanted to get him a play kitchen.  I looked around, and of course fell in love with the most expensive ones...and suddenly all the plastic ones just wouldn't do.  Some of my favorite play kitchens were re-purposed nightstands and entertainment centers.  A few months before his birthday I started watching the thrift shops and ooggled every garage sale I passed, without finding anything that would work.  A few weeks before his birthday I decided I'd need to make one from scratch.  I found some particle board at our local Habitat for Humanity shop-it was odd stuff, and had a light wood laminate sticker on one side, and a darker color sticker on the other.  It was the right price though- $3 per 8' board.  Luckily the darker color was pretty close to my kitchen cabinets so I drew up plans and started cutting-and immediately ran into problems. 
I soon found out the wood I'd bought was NOT intended to be cut with a jigsaw...but ya work with what ya got.  The particle board just fell apart when the teeth pulled up.  Switching to a scrollwork blade helped, at least the side I'd have facing outward wasn't too jagged but I started to have my doubts.  I am the ultimate amateur when it comes to woodworking.  I just jumped into the deep end and used black paint to cover up the worst of it...You'll notice I didn't take any closeup photos of my cut edges.
The night before his birthday I'd cut a few pieces but hadn't gotten very far.  I happened to try the thrift shop one more time, and found the entertainment center!  I don't think I could have made anything out of that particle board that would have lasted more than a week.  That entertainment shelf really saved the whole project.  I just had to move one support side over to make it wide enough  for the fridge, and add the drawer and stove door to the middle.  Sounds simple right?  It worked fine but took me two weeks of irregular use of nap-times and evenings.  Throw in multiple trips to the hardware store...I guess maybe I should sign up for that rewards card...and two weeks later I got it done. The point is I GOT IT DONE!  That's kind of a big deal in itself, judging by all the half-finished projects cluttering my craft room.   In hindsight I should have just bought a sheet of nice plywood and I would have been a lot happier with the results, rather than trying to be thrifty and green by using reclaimed wood.  I did learn from the experience, and I have to keep reminding myself this is for a TWO-YEAR-OLD.  I still might replace the doors later-most of the hard work is done already.  The project was not as cheap as I thought it would be considering I went the most inexpensive route I could-it just cost a bit here, a bit more there...  In the end I'm happy with the result, and think it was worth it, but I definitely could have bought a decent play kitchen for what I spent-and probably will do that next time.

You know what's the funniest thing is about all this? I found a table saw at a garage sale for $10 tonight!  Wish I'd found it a few weeks ago...


  1. It looks wonderful. I love the water running out of the faucet.

  2. The water was the first thing he went for-aside from opening and shutting everything to see how it worked.