OK, the title is slightly misleading, in that there are plenty of ways to make (or buy) a play kitchen for under $300, but this is how I did it. I really want Sammy to have a play kitchen and have for ages, but I don’t want to buy anything less than heirloom quality and that is not exactly in the budget. So when Jessica put up this wonderful tutorial, I began plotting.
SPOILER ALERT! This is what I came up with:
I chose to skip the sink portion, because I am not sure whether Sam would get the idea of a flat version – and anyway he helps us do the dishes for real, whereas this will be handy when I am cooking and he wants to help (of course I let him help for real when it’s possible). I also opted to make it look more like our stove, with four burners instead of two. It’s about 18 inches square – I used half a yard of wool-blend felt in 70s appliance yellow and cut it where the fold was from being on the bolt. Since I don’t have a working printer, I cut out burners and knobs by tracing a cereal bowl and a juice glass onto the black felt.
I tried embroidering the red element onto the burner and it looked awful. Will suggested using felt, so I cut a circle to match the burner, cut it into a spiral, and then cut it in half along the spiral. I only did one burner both to save time and because I wanted to differentiate the left front burner, which on our stove is the largest and most frequently used.
I hand-sewed the stove top with embroidery floss and machine stitched it to the backing, which is a cotton print, black with red and green chili peppers on it. I managed to not get a photo with the backing, but I did get one of Sam playing!
My sister bought a little set of pots & pans at Acorn, which is a wonderful local toy store, and Will bought a tea kettle in Chinatown. I’ve been collecting miniature utensils for a while (though the ones pictured came with the pots & pans). I also have a box full of sample sized condiments and airplane booze bottles that I will give him.
We bought some lumber (knotty pine 1×6 boards at 63¢ a foot) to make shelves to keep everything on. We may paint the wall first.
Altogether I think this cost around $50 and it could be done for even less. I’d planned to look for pots and pans at thrift stores, which would have run a few dollars, but my sister was willing to spend the $25 or so for the set and I let her. Aunties sometimes need to spoil their nephews.
Part 2 forthcoming when we get the shelves built!