Handmade gifts are a really important part of our holiday tradition. I like to give things from the heart, and I feel really good about gifting something I've labored over. Don't get me wrong. We do lots of store-bought presents as well, but the gifts I pour time and energy into always make me feel the proudest!
When the idea for a handmade kitchenette came about, I was immediately intrigued. I had several questions: Can we make a kitchenette that is functional so a child can actually play with it? Can we make it sturdy enough that I don't have to worry about it falling on my kids? Even if I think it is cute, will it appeal to little ones? After Emma and I did some sketching and planning, this is where she came in and used her superpowers. The hard part was done for us since we had found this little rolling cabinet. It was the perfect size and we felt that with a few minor additions, it could become the kitchenette we were planning for. First we cut a peg board down, so that it was just tall enough to fit two play pans. Emma secured the peg board by creating a frame in the back of the unit with wood planks. She then added a shelf to the top of the pegboard and the side of the unit. This was done by screwing in a small plank of wood we cut to fit the unit. The wooden triangle pieces were then secured with liquid nails. She also removed the handle from the top drawer and added four wooden knobs with more liquid nails to be the oven controls. After we painted she also added two hooks on the other side of the unit for hanging play towels or aprons.After Emma got the structure all put together, it was my job to paint and make it look like a play kitchen. I started with orange and white paints as my base and put a few coats on the whole thing. Once it was all painted and dry, I masked off a portion on the door to be the "oven window". I painted that with chalkboard paint, and then used some of my extra chalkboard paint on the oven knobs as well. The last step was creating the "burners". I picked up some 6" round wooden plaques. I first used my grey paint to cover the bottom side of each plaque. After the paint was dry, I used a compass to draw circles onto contact paper. I affixed the contact paper to the plaque and painted white between the contact circles. Once the white paint dried, I pulled the contact circles off and touched up the lines with a paint brush. I used gorilla glue to glue the "burners" down and put 3 coats of clear varnish over the entire "stove top". One of my very favorite parts of this kitchenette is that the door and the drawer from the original cart are still functional. The "oven door" opens up so they can "bake" their food, and the drawer is great storage. One of my biggest concerns was that the kitchen would be sturdy enough for real kiddo wear-and-tear. I'm happy to report that I have NO fears of this unit being top heavy or coming apart. It is extremely sturdy. (hooray!) We are technically saving it for Christmas, but when I brought the kitchenette home to photograph, my kids went crazy for it. They played with it non-stop until bedtime, and then it magically disappeared into our basement until Christmas rolls around. I'm excited to pull it back out on Christmas morning and watch my 2 year old enjoy playing with that old rolling cart-turned-colorful kitchenette. It's a good feeling. xo. Katie (& Emma, too!)
What a beautiful DIY project for playing space…. I love it!
If you have the room (and the time and materials), you can make a toy refrigerator out of a similarly sized and shaped cabinet. Just paint the cabinet a “refrigerator color” such as metallic silver or white and put vertical handles on the top and bottom doors. Voila! A kitchenette update!
This is insanely amazing….Katie you are a genius! Emma/Elsie….this is spectacular!! xoxox Alix
Wahhh,, so cute. looks like the original kitchen set. Kids will Surely Love This one.
This is incredible. You are both so clever and original! Poe looks ever so happy 🙂
OMG this is awesome – sooooo much cooler than the IKEA one I was thinking of getting for my littlest … I decided against it anyway as I think she’s enjoy it more in about a year, so thought I’d get it for her birthday … this gives me plenty of time to find the perfect old junk shop dressing table … thank you xx
Awesome idea! 🙂
ah this is amazing!
This is so fabulous. My daughter will turn 2 at Christmas time next year and we are definitely making her this! This year we made a little walking trolley and I can’t wait until she tries it out. I also made my niece a hobby horse. Handmade gifts are just the best!
too sweet–this is definitely the best kitchenette DIY i’ve seen.
Has anyone see anything like this on etsy. I love it but I am nowhere are handy as you talented folks 🙂
Love! Utterly perfect, cute, wonderful! I would have NEVER thought of making a kids kitchenette. So, so sweet! Love the colors too.
This is too cute!!!!!!! I seriously will do this… I just wish my little one was old enough ! Soon enough though!
This is adorable and SHE is adorable! X
OMG she is so cute playing with it! Wow it turned out so great, not sure I’d have the know-how or patience to make this, but it looks amazing. Great job ladies!!
Strive to Thrive,
Your daughter is beautiful and looks exactly like you! This is such a cute idea. Great for storage, and also fun to play with.
I wish I got one of these when I was younger 🙂
Fantastic! Have you got any ideas on how to make a market stall/shop?? I’d love to see what you can come up with. I’m thinking about making one from an old shoe rack/small shelf unit, with 4 batons and a fabric canopy at the top… If you could come up with another great tutorial for this it would be great! Benedicte (somewhere near London…)xx
I need this in my life! Or rather in my niece’s life.
PS: Head to my blog if you like thrifting, flower crowns, cat dresses, clogs, and general thrifty-fashion.