By Jill Phipps-Enustun
It seems nowadays you can find a way to DIY (Do It Yourself) just about anything with a little help from Google and Pinterest. In the interest of saving money, I spent numerous hours searching the Internet on how to make my toddler her own play kitchen. The pots, pans, utensils, food and snacks all over my kitchen floor made it very apparent this was a need in our home. It should be stated that I am very frugal and sometimes stingy with my money. So I was looking for a cheap alternative to purchasing a new kids kitchen. Some of the DIY kitchens I found on Google and Pinterest were elaborate to say the least. (Working sinks and lights, giant home entertainment centers that doubled as food trucks, multicolor painted designs you’d find in your own real kitchens just to name a few.) That’s why when I came across a photo of two bedside tables that had been repurposed into a sink and a stove. I immediately pinned it and began rummaging for supplies.
There were minimal instructions on how the original poster made her kitchen. Using several different photos I combined what would work for us. I had to do a lot of problem solving on my own, but hey, it was a DIY project so I expected as much. I found a side table in a neighbor’s garage and ended up paying $8 for a kid’s side dresser through a facebook market page. I found a lady giving away free paint samples cans on another Facebook market place. For some reason we had hooks galore in our toolbox so those were free. We had some left over wood, from shelving we previously built, to use as a backboard and shelf for the stove. We also had a plastic chip bowl that would work perfectly for the sink. All I needed was something to work as burners for the stovetop, knobs, and faucet.
Back to perusing Pinterest to look at photos, I noticed many people use different styled drawer pulls for the knobs and a very clever person used a sink trap J-bend (the plastic elbow piece that goes under your sink) as a faucet. I already had gold spray paint, so I just needed to head to Menards for knobs, glue, sink trap and something to use as burners. I found six plain wood knobs for a total of $4.26, a long gold handle for $2.22 to use as the oven handle and the white sink trap and extender for $3.27. I decided I could use mouse pads upside-down as burners. They were $1.99 for each so I bought four. Now that I had all my supplies my husband and I started the project.
Let’s start with the stove. I traced four circles using two different size bowls for the burners. Next we removed the drawer from the little side dresser and placed a piece of wood to create a shelf instead of the drawer that pulls out. We kept the face of the drawer to use as the oven door. The trickiest part was using hinges on the front of the original face of the drawer so it pulled down like an oven instead of out like a drawer. While it looks cuter and more realistic, next time I would have just kept the drawer. It’s heavy causing it swings all the way down when opened. We now need to add a different hinge that will stop it straight out instead of it dropping all the way down. (We haven’t completed this yet. Instead we just added a magnetic catch we bought for under a $1 to keep the door shut when not being used. I added a piece of duct tape to loosen the magnet’s connection so our daughter could open it easier.) We took a larger piece of wood and attached it to the back to create a tall backboard in order to add hooks and a shelf for pots and pans.
Time to get started on the sink. I traced the large chip bowl onto side table near the front and center. My husband then began to cut out the hole in the middle front of the side table. He originally tried to use a handsaw. That did NOT work. He instead used a reciprocating saw, which worked well. When I tried to fit the bowl in the hole I realized the circle was overcut, which left a gap outside the bowl on one spot. I took a piece of wood (the bottom of the drawer from the little side dresser) and traced and cut the hole to place on top of the main hole. You can see the square under the bowl in the photos. That’s all that needed to be done for the sink.
Now that everything was cutout and built we painted it. We also painted the inside of the oven part black to give it a more realist look. Once dry, we glued the two large and two small circle mouse pads upside-down to the top of the stove using a glue called Liquid Nails. We then screwed the knobs to the top of the stove in row loosely so the could twist. Next we screwed in the shelf to the backboard adding the hooks underneath. We added the pull handle to the front of the oven door and placed a metal cooling rack inside to complete the stove. For the sink we glued the gold spray-painted sink trap and extender using a generous amount of the glue to keep it from just popping off when played with. Next, we screwed in the knobs to each side of the faucet. Finally, we glued the bowl into the hole. The sink was complete!Once everything was dry we set up and brought our daughter into the room play with it. She has played with her new kitchen everyday! She LOVES it! And to think the whole thing cost us under $30 and just two days work. I’d like to call this a Pinterest Win!