Lesson 1 is all about the supplies! This week you will need to gather your supplies.
First Up- A Supply List PDF
I recommend printing this list out and reading it along with the post. You can then highlight the items you would choose as I discuss them below. There are many substitutions and I hope that you are inspired by the options presented to expand on these ideas. If you come up with something new, please share it!
This is a long and detailed post. Bear with me! Gathering the supplies is the most time consuming part of the whole process. Although, you probably have a lot of these things at home.
The Base Cabinet
The base of the play kitchen is a nightstand, small cabinet. or chest of drawers. For these directions, I will be working with a two drawer chest. The top drawer will become the oven and the bottom drawer will be removed to make a storage area. With four kitchens under my belt, I can safely say this is the easiest, cheapest way to go. If you are going the "tool free" route, the top drawer is especially important. However I can assist you with any questions should you have a different styled cabinet.
In the past I have been really lucky to find cabinets on the curb or get donations through craigslist. This time however, I bought the cabinet I will be using. I saw it on craigslist for just $5 and went for it.
In LA we are very lucky to have a thriving resale market with a Goodwill or other thrift store on every corner, year round garage sales and a very active craigslist. However, in other places you might have a basement, attic or garage. (Concepts that are just a distant yet fond memory for me.) Shop your home. Call the in-laws. You never know what someone might be storing and willing to part with.
These are the nightstands I have used in the past.
This awesome retro nightstand was (maybe still is?) just $35 on the Tucson Craigslist.
Updated- This very cabinet was snatched up by one of our build a long builders! I could not be happier that Amanda from All Things Creative got this cabinet for her kids' kitchen to be!
This one was (maybe still is?) just $10 on the Houston craigslist.
One last consideration for the cabinet is height. The counter top height on mine will be about 23". However, if you have a tall child, you may want to consider a higher cabinet in order to accommodate them for longer.
Paint- I always use primer, paint and a low odor sealant. A quart of paint will do you.
I buy a quart of primer and use it on multiple projects. I just consider it a balcony workshop staple. Many people swear by spray paint primer. I am thinking that one can of spray paint primer would probably work. You could always buy two cans and save the receipt just in case.
I get my paint from the "oops" shelf at Home Depot. Lowes and smaller paint retailers also offer these cans for cheap. If you have a certain color in mind, or if you want to save time, I highly recommend the Dutch Boy "Twist and Try" quart. I went to OSH hardware and they custom mixed a color for me in the satin finish for just $5.With the satin finish, you may be able to skip the sealant. On the other hand, if this is likely to be your first and last project for a while, spray paint might be the most affordable option with little left over to store or dispose of.
To seal and protect my efforts, I use Zar Ultra Max Satin Polyurethane. I chose it because it was low odor, fast drying and cleaned up with water. I load it on so it can be a little bit yellowing. I think I paid about $20 for it, but one quart was far too much, so I have lots left over. If you want to save time or money, a can of spray on sealant works great. You can get it at Michaels with a coupon and one can should be more than enough. Just beware, the fumes can be nasty. Be sure to work in a well ventilated area.
Craft paint- I use silver, gray, and black acrylic craft paint to paint the oven and the knobs and such.These little 2 oz. bottles are very inexpensive and often on sale at Michaels. I have also used silver spray paint. Craft paint is just as easy.
You will also need a paint brush and or foam roller, and a dropcloth of some sort.
For the counter top I have used regular paint.
I have also used Rust-Oleaum American Accents Stone Spray Paint.
The "Stone Pebble" looks just like granite. It runs about $8 a can and is also available for purchase with a coupon at Michaels. One can should be enough.
Knobs- For a while I was buying wooden wheels to use as the oven knobs and then I realized that plastic lids from soda bottles or milk cartons are just the right size. Diet Coke is my preference because they are already gray and scratches wont show on them. Diet Coke is also my beverage of choice while working on the kitchen. :) For the sink facuet handles have used the little wooden turnings that are shaped like people bought at Michaels or thick dowel cut into small lengths as knobs.
This picture shows the wooden wheels and wooden people used as knobs for the oven and faucet. You can click to see a bigger picture.
Faucet- I know lots of people buy or use real faucets so that is always an option. If you have an old faucet sitting around, by all means use it! I use a white 6" wooden letter "L" or "J." I have bought them both at Michaels and at Joannes. They cost about a dollar. However, I have recently noticed that they are harder to find and that the fonts for these wooden letters are changing. I use the block letter style because it is symmetrical as opposed to flat on one side. Thicker 8" paper machae letters might also work. Wooden letters are my faucet of choice because of the scale, ease of installation and price.
Burners- I like to cook with gas and I think budding gourmets everywhere would agree with me. So, I cut and paint and glue all those little bits of dowel to make the raised gas burners. A thin dowel is available for about $0.75-$1 at hardware stores. Recently, I got smart though and bought a pack of 50 pair of chopsticks for $1 at General Dollar. The chopsticks are soft enough that I figure I can use a craft knife to cut them. I think I will use about 8 pairs to make four burners, but I may need even less. Maybe you can get some free chopsticks the next time you eat out?
On the other hand, you could just as easily paint your burners on and that would save a few dollars and a few steps. Or, if you have old CD's you could use those as modern burners. Coasters might also work. There is lots of room to get creative!
Oven Handle- I now buy my handles in a four pack at the dollar store in their hardware section. That makes them about $0.25. Home Depot has nice simple handles for a dollar or so. Depending on your cabinet, you may be able to repurpose the drawer hardware.
Hinges- If you want an oven door that opens down, you will need some hinges. You can buy these for a buck or two at a hardware store. Or you can make leather hinges out of an old belt. If your cabinet has doors with hinges, you can recycle those! I got a pack of two hinges for a dollar at my Dollar General.
Corner braces- I often add small corner braces under the edge where the oven door sits just for extra strength.Sometimes I am able to get these at the dollar store and other times at Home Depot or Lowes.
Plywood- I use a $4-$8 piece of plywood that I get cut for me at Lowes or the Home Depot. If you are going the tool free route, you can either have a hardware store cut the wood for you, or you can glue several layers of cardboard together to create a firm and sturdy shelf. This is one thing you will need to hold off on buying until you have your cabinet and can measure for the size accurately.
Curtain Rod- I use a 3/4" dowel for the curtain rod. If you are going the tool free route, you may want to buy a small cafe curtain rod.
Fabric- You will want to measure the width of your cabinet and get a scrap about 1 1/2 the length of the cabinet. This will make your curtain gather nicely. I use a sewing machine to make my curtain, but you would not need to do that. You could hand sew it or even probably hot glue it!
Glue/ Putty- Your heavy duty glue of choice. I use Elmers Wood Glue and or Gorilla Glue. I also use Elmers Wood Filler if needed to patch up dents and fill in cracks or holes.
Extras- This is where it gets fun. I like to put a little hook for aprons and pot holders on the side. This is the hook I use because I think it looks less pointy and safe. I also like to add a magnetic chalkboard on the other side. I usually buy a wooden frame and cut out a cookie sheet, put it in the frame and make it into a chalkboard. It's cheap, but not easy. I recently learned about these magnetic boards and I think they are great!
These tools are handy, but not necessary! It is easier with power tools so you might want to ask around to see if you can borrow some.
Power Screw Driver
Heavy duty scissors
Utility knife/ exacto knife
If you are going power tool free,
The only tools you really need are a screw driver, a hammer (or a big rock, seriously- it would do), and a thick nail.
Sink- You need a bowl with a rim. For the first three kitchens I scoured Goodwill for just the right bowls. Not any more. Time is too precious. Now, I go to a restaurant supply store and buy a nice bowl with a wide rim (important to allow bowl to hang/ balance in place.) Ironically, the restaurant supply place is cheaper than Goodwill! Dollar store cake pans work well too. If you are going tool free, I would suggest a cake pan because if it's low profile.
Chalkboard paint to make a memo board on the side-optional
Feeling Overwhelmed? I swear the gathering of materials is the hardest part. From here on out there will be lots of pictures and options! I think we will finish before six weeks, but just wanted to play it safe.
Play Kitchen Build Along Flickr Group I encourage you to share photos in our Flickr group. It's a great place to get ideas and encourage each other with comments.
OK, feel free to leave any questions in the comments. I will update this post with answers so that everyone can benefit from shared knowledge. Go forth and gather! We'll meet back here next Wednesday to get building!
Updated: Lesson 2 will be about measuring to buy the wood for the shelves and how to create an oven.
Updated: Stephanie asked a good question about the cabinets all being made of wood. Many do have some laminate. My last two had quite a bit of laminate on the tops and this current one is particle board on the sides. No worries! It will work! There is almost no sanding and with priming your paint will stick just fine.
Updated: About a minimum size- I sold both the blue and green kitchens without keeping any notes on the size. I did go out and measure the drawer from the green kitchen (the smallest I have made) and the drawer is 15" across. The counter extended about an inch beyond the drawer and there was about a two inch frame on either side of the drawer. I am guessing that the width was about 20"-21." I think it fit the sink and four burners just fine. Most kids dishes are small fry pans or sauce pans.
Lesson 2 Tool Free
My Play Kitchen Inspiration
* If you make a play kitchen from this free tutorial, I'd really appreciate if you would add a picture to my Play Kitchen Build Along flickr group and link to this tutorial on your blog! Thanks!