Thursday, January 4, 2018

DIY Play Kitchen [Full Details Shared!]

My husband and I love to give our children one really awesome big gift versus a dozen small gifts that will get thrown into the toy pile. We've made a giant ball pit (with almost 1,200 balls in it), a miniature workbench just like daddy's and this play kitchen.  Today I want to share with you the details of the play kitchen. A lot of time went into making this- not because it actually takes long to make but because we made it one very long drawn out process.  Tip: Just do it all at once. Just get it done so your kids can enjoy it already! I found different elements that I wanted online and some things I just made up on my own so hopefully this post will inspire you to create the perfect kitchen for your family.

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I have loaded up this post with a ton of photos to show you all my favorite elements from this play kitchen. I have also included links to my favorite play kitchen products in case you see something you want to add to yours.   Let's begin shall we...

First up is the sink.  We created this realistic and movable sink by using real faucet fittings (get at your local hardware store or check out the Habitat for Humanity ReStore to see if you can find one for cheap!) and a metal mixing bowl.  Just make sure the mixing bowl has a lip on the outside and it will fit perfectly into a hole you create.

Surrounding the sink is a window and some cooking accessories.  We cut a large square and I simply taped up an image I painted to the back so that the picture peeks through.  Eventually I may put something more permanent up, but if I waited for that it would forever be empty.  Then we added a toaster, a timer, a bell (mostly because my son loves it so much. We like to ding it and yell "ORDER UP!") and an oven mitt.  My favorite accessory is the Stand Mixer which spins by hand, has a speed dial and comes with accessories to make "pound cake" which is my son's favorite thing to mix!

I finished the window by adding some curtains made of this adorable dancing food fabric that I just happened to have lying around. See- this is why it's okay to just buy the fabric because you like it!  The edges are just folded over and stitched for a finished look.  On the top I made a basic casing for a dowel rod to go through. The rod has a little wood piece on the ends to keep it from sliding off and the whole thing hangs on some tiny little hooks.  I used small eye hooks and ribbon to tie the fabric back. Sturdy and easy peasy.

On the right side of the play kitchen we have a hook that holds aprons and reusable shopping bags.  Check out my tutorial on how to make your own DIY custom apron in minutes and for only a few bucks!

To the left of the sink, we created a "glass" stove top with movable dials and pretend "hot" burners.  My husband made the dials himself out of wood and attached them with a screw that allows our kids to turn the dial 360 degrees before stopping so they don't come off.

Loving those realistic looking pots and pans? They're from Melissa & Doug and they are LEGIT. My husband was so excited when my son got them for Christmas last year because they came with their own metal stand.  Of which my extremely organized husband was happy to hang in the play kitchen immediately.

To create the look of a glass top, we first put down a piece of black painted wood.  Next we placed the burners on.  I made these out of white and red vinyl that I cut with my Silhouette.

Lastly, we screwed a piece of Plexiglas to the top to give it the "glass" look and to protect the vinyl from peeling up.  I love how this turned out!  Bonus: The top is also super easy to wipe down when it gets dusty or dirty.

Beneath the stove top is an oven.  It's painted in contrast white and has a real handle attached to it.  Another piece of Plexiglas is used to make the little "peep through" window.

We used a wire shelf for the inside with some pieces of wood so that the shelf can slide in and out like a real oven.  My husband also added a washer and screw to make a "stop" for it so that the shelf wont accidentally come all the way out.

The door has hinges to help it open and close and has a magnet on the top so that it latches shut when you lift it up.

Enough about appliances, let's talk storage.  Every kitchen needs a place to store food, right?  My husband loves the bottom freezer (we don't have one in our real kitchen but he's waiting for the day that we have to get a new one so he can have it!) so of course he designed ours to have a bottom freezer.  We mostly keep ice cubes and Ice-Cream in ours.  If your kid loves ice-cream (who doesn't?) you have got to pick up this Melissa & Doug ice-cream set. It's magnetic and has cones and a box and a scoop that really works.  It's probably my sons favorite "food" toy.

On top of the freezer is a refrigerator with a few shelves (also made from the wire shelving).  We use this area as both a refrigerator and as a pantry for canned food and such.

I wish I knew what brand that big circle divider was because I would recommend it a hundred times over.  It came with all different foods and the sections are divided by type (fruit, vegetable, grain, dairy, protein). Although we don't put them up in their correct spots, it makes an AWESOME container to store it all so that all the food can be easily accessed without dumping out a big box like other containers I've seen.  On the shelf above it though is the Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit Set which I also highly recommend. It comes with fruit pieces stuck together by velcro that you can "cut apart" with a play knife (also included).  I also really love the little wood crate it came in too. We store all of our velcro foods in there so that they are easy to get to without digging through the other food.

As you can see, we also store the pound cake (that came with the mixer) and some DIY tea bags in there as well.

On the top shelf, we keep all of our canned foods, condiments and felt foods.  I hate to admit, but I waited a while before opening up the canned items because I expected them to be those cheap, junky ones that you see everywhere.  Oh my gosh, was I wrong. They are also Melissa & Doug (I should work for them as much as I promote their products. We LOVE M&D in  our house!) and they are crazy sturdy. They get played with, thrown around and because the lids are removable, my son often tries to cram things inside them that are much too large and yet... they hold up. It's seriously incredible.  Don't buy these at the dollar store or whatever, buy the Melissa & Doug set. It's so worth it.

Inside one tote is condiments like ketchup, mustard, Parmesan cheese, syrup and box mixes, flours and sugars.  Inside the other we store felt foods like pasta, bacon and cookies.  To learn how to DIY your own pastas, check out my tutorial here.

Speaking of storage... where are all the dishes? Plates, forks, cups?  That's an easy one: under the sink!  I love how much storage space this kitchen has.  My favorite thing about "large" gifts is that you can store the play items within the larger item. No need for a bunch of loose toys laying around.

On the left side sits a Drying Rack (this isn't the exact one we have but it's the closest I can find since I don't know the brand) which holds utensils,  plates, cups, mugs and measuring cups.  I think this would also be really cute up by the sink but in our kitchen we just ran out of space up top!  This is probably less likely to get messy anyways.  I like using the drying rack for storage because it makes it easy for my kids to find what they are looking for.  If they want a plate, they just reach down and grab it.  No need to dump out an entire box looking for 1 plate.  It also seems more "real" because I don't know about you but we don't store all of our dishes in a big box somewhere!

Next to the drying rack are two glass containers (old salsa jars!) that hold cooking utensils.  Those blue ones in the front are real silicone utensils! We have some duplicate ones in our actual kitchen.  There are mini tongs, a pastry brush, a Whisk and a spatulaThose links are not the exact product we own but similar. The link on "spatula" includes a scraper, wisk and silicone baking cups which we also use to real cook and to play cook!

On the right side I took a plastic storage container (actually the one my son's train set came in) and tossed in all the "random" leftover items.  This includes other pots/pans from food sets we've gotten, larger plates, a cookie sheet, a cupcake pan, rolling pins, etc. We then slide the waffle maker  against the side and it fits perfectly.

Don't forget about cleanup!  Since we have aprons on the right side, we figured we might as well use the left side as well.  All we needed was one nail and our Silly Sam (Which we have been calling Sweepin' Sam for 2 years now! I just found his real name when I searched the link.) hangs nicely, ready for cleanup!

My son loves his play kitchen.  It's honestly his favorite toy that he owns and he plays with it every single day. My daughter is just starting to really get into playing with it too!  My favorite thing is watching them "play together" at it, which they can do easily since it's so big!  I also love that this kitchen looks nicer and will last longer than the plastic ones you can buy at the store.  A quick search of "entertainment center play kitchen" on Pinterest will provide you will more tutorials on how to physically built/adapt yours, but I hope that my post here has provided you with some great ideas to include in your own.

I would totally tell you how to do the building part but I have no idea what he did to the guts of it.  I just said "Honey... can you make it look like this?" and he did... because he's a good husband! haha!

Seriously though, that is one happy kid.  Go snag yourself an old entertainment center and get crafting!  I'd love to see what elements you've included in yours so please share them on our facebook page because it makes me happy to see us working on the same projects <3

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