How to make a Play Kitchen for under $300.

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:

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(Child made separately)

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.

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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!

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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.

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Part 2 forthcoming when we get the shelves built!

21 thoughts on “How to make a Play Kitchen for under $300.

  1. oslowe

    January 20, 2009 at 3:16pm

    Frickin’ awesome! I need to check if we have sand paper.

  2. Mary

    January 20, 2009 at 3:37pm

    That is sooo cool! I love it. Sam looks like he is loving it, too.

  3. B

    January 20, 2009 at 4:13pm

    Brilliant. Enjoy all the tea. Soon it will be coffee I imagine.

  4. Nana

    January 20, 2009 at 7:57pm

    I am totally impressed!

  5. theletterkae

    January 20, 2009 at 8:18pm

    Your son has the kitchen playset I always wanted when I was his age. I’m totally jealous. You MUST keep those hidden if/when I come over.

  6. Lori

    January 20, 2009 at 8:21pm

    genius. genius, i tell you.

  7. Jenn

    January 20, 2009 at 8:35pm

    Love it. *I* want one even though I’m allowed to use the real stove!

  8. Amanda

    January 21, 2009 at 5:44am

    Plus, it rolls up for easy storage. That is SO. AWESOME.

  9. Crystal

    January 21, 2009 at 8:11am

    Too. Cool. Sam has the most funnest toys in the world (grammar issues intended to emphasize the awesomeness).

  10. yojo

    January 21, 2009 at 9:40am

    That is awesome!!!

    As for other quality toy needs, it just so happens that I know a very reasonable carpenter who’s always interested in widening his portfolio…

    certain things might not be as out of reach as previously thought.

  11. Anne

    January 21, 2009 at 10:06am

    I must also say . . . AWESOME!!!

  12. Lucretia

    January 21, 2009 at 12:43pm

    Ooh, I like the little egg. It tickled my fancy. How did you do that?

  13. Natalie

    January 21, 2009 at 2:12pm

    That is awesome!
    They also have pot and pan sets and cooking utensils at IKEA. Cookie and Kiss just got some and now I am going to have to make a cool stovetop too. It will be the perfect Valentine present!

  14. Annika

    January 23, 2009 at 9:36am

    Thanks, everyone! I am considering making them to sell, if this CPSIA thing doesn’t prevent it. Lucretia, I didn’t make the egg, but I am going to try my hand at it.

  15. Jenn

    January 23, 2009 at 9:38pm

    To get around the CPSIA, make them for adults! (helpful)

    Er, I have no idea if that works. I’m just blabbing away.

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