Tuesday, 2 July 2013

DIY Play Kitchen.

Here is a little play kitchen I whipped up for the little lady for Christmas 2011. That Christmas, aged three she asked Father Christmas for a little kitchen, like her friend Imogen owned. Now have you seen how much play kitchens are?? Shocking. I was going to settle on this Ikea number and pimp it up, as it was the cheapest of the bunch, but at £90, I just could not inflict such prices upon poor old Santa. So after a little Google inspiration, I decided to make one myself, like you do 5 days prior to Christmas, with at that point very limited making skills plus with an 11 month old who did not ever sleep, seriously NEVER. Not the most genius of ideas this close to Christmas, let's just say we didn't get much sleep that week, but it was worth it. So the following is the kitchen I (OK we) whipped up and how it was made, it sits slap bang in the middle of our real life, fully functional kitchen and I think it is played with pretty much every single day, by the little lady and now the little chap too. I never took photos before, and these were taken yesterday, I think it is in pretty good nick considering it is a year and a half old, and I made it, go me. Woop.


The kitchen was made using this bookshelf from Argos. We had owned this for many a year and it had been sitting waiting to be driven to the local charity furniture shop, so it was a no brainer really to use it.

Rejig it.

The shelves required a spot of cutting/ inserting/ general rejiggery, hopefully the image makes sense. This is where King Kwak came in, sawing it by hand in the garden in the cold at midnight, our neighbours must of loved us that week. It was too tall so the top shelf came off, the back plate shifted down. Two shelves removed, and using one of these shelves we cut it and slotted two pieces in below to separate the spaces. Original image courtesy of Argos.

This is a piece of MDF, cut and sanded. The hole was cut using a jigsaw to fit the trendy stainless steel sink, aka a lunchbox off of Poundland. The MDF was covered in wood grain sticky back plastic (true Blue Peter stylee) £5 from Wilkinson, and I screwed on four knobs, which were 50p at the time from Ikea. The eagle eyed among you may have noticed the sever lack of a tap. First thing the little lady spotted on Christmas morning dammit, but at the time to buy a tap would have cost the same price as the whole thing so I put it on my list of things to do in the future, which needless to say may never happen. She hasn't mentioned it since. The whole piece was then screwed into place.

Paint it. 

The paint was a grey Dulux shade, leftover from my bedroom. Once painted I attached 8 screw hooks to the underside of the top shelf, to hold all of the cooking utensils and pans.


The bookshelf had no back. We got a piece of hardboard, cut and lightly sanded it. I glued wallpaper on, using wallpaper paste. The wallpaper is leftovers again, from the little ladies bedroom. I attached a layer of transparent sticky back plastic over the wallpaper so it would last and nailed the whole thing onto the back of the bookshelf. The frame was from Ikea, I photoshopped up a little Koco's Kitchen image, and attached the whole frame to the back hardboard, that frame, he is never coming off.

The Doors. 

This kitchen is ultra modern and houses an oven plus a microwave, luxury. The doors were cut from the same hardboard as the reverse, lightly sanded and painted. Transparent perspex was attached behind using No more nails. The handles are from Ikea, £3 for the two, and the doors were hung using little silver hinges.


You will have spotted we have a bit of custom Perspex laser printing going on. This came free courtesy of Kings Kwak's mate. If you don't have a mate with similar tools this would I guess cost a fair bit, but a similar effect could be created using MDF and paint. The Perspex we have is for the hobs: black and red discs with hob like lines and 'Kocos hob' laser printed on. Further perspex is on the oven and microwave doors, with relevant: dials, buttons, timers and again my daughters name printed upon. My husband did this as a surprise, which was a lovely touch.


To utilise every square millimetre of the bookshelf, the sides feature upon the left: A blackboard menu to display the days culinary delights. And to the right: I popped on some sticky chrome effect hooks, about £2 from Homebase for 2, which store all the essential cleaning apparatus a girl could need. Super handy for my little chap now as he has developed a little cleaning OCD, which is marvellous for me, bless him.


Now this is what took the time, had me up till silly hours and gave me a sore thumb. First I moseyed on down to John Lewis to buy the fabrics, the floral came first with the others picked to match. I bought the fabrics in 25cm lengths, plus a few buttons and I already owned the ric rac and ribbon. All together the fabric supplies only cost about £10. First I made a little tiered frilled curtain to cover the cupboards, I attached pom pom trim to the bottom of the layers and it is held on using ric rac. Then I made the above for the little lady to wear and use whilst playing. King Kwak's aunt crocheted the dishcloth and I made the bunting out of all the scraps, plus ric rac and buttons and attached the finished piece to the top shelf.


The little tiered curtain conceals the cupboard space, which stores her crockery/ kitchen supplies.


A close up of inside the oven and microwave. There is a proper authentic oven tray, off of some mango packaging, and the microwave has a actual rotating plate, which was the lid from the sink/ lunchbox, nailed into place.

Top Chef:

She loves it as you can see, she is looking ever so lovely and getting much better at this camera posing I feel.

On the Menu:

And this is what she was cooking up yesterday, some sushi which has to be the best play set they have ever been given. Toy sushi, amazing.

Cost: All in all this play kitchen cost roughly £28.
Supplies: Lots, all mentioned above.
Time taken: Several hours, at a guess I would say roughly 14 hours. Maybe more.

So the £28 price tag is a huge difference to the £90 Ikea play kitchen, granted it took a while and it does not make kitchen cooking noises, but maybe that is something I could look into, or I could make such noises myself every time she plays with it? We were very happy with the results and most importantly the little lady really does love it so it was all worthwhile. Just to point out, the cooking utensils and all other accessories do not feature within the £28, they have all been collected since, mostly as presents for the different occasions since. 

So what do you think? I hope you like it, any comments/ suggestions would be greatly received. Have you made a play kitchen? If you had been planning to buy one, then I definitely would recommend giving it a try.

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