Introduction: Fold a Kitchen Into Your Pocket

Picture of Fold a Kitchen Into Your Pocket

With just two sheets of paper, a color printer, a cutting board, an exacto knife, a ruler, a scoring tool, glue and 30 minutes of your time you will be able create a kitchen which can provide hours of cheap and portable entertainment for your kids.

This project came about when I was playing with my son and some colored paper... he asked me to make a house, and I was only too eager to comply (one the reasons I'd wanted kids was to have an excuse for building a doll house...). But since I live in an apartment with limited space and I'm allergic to dust, I wanted a house I could fold up and put away. You can read the back story of the house creation here, or you can skip ahead and make your own kitchen by following the steps in this instructable.

For those who prefer video tutorials to step by step instructions, just click play. The music is by John M. Davis, and was originally composed for an HBO documentary "A Matter of Taste"

Step 1: The Templates

Picture of The Templates

This pop-up is one room in an 8 room, 2 story house I designed and sell on my website (either as a kit or as a download). Individual rooms are also for sale (for $2), but since Instructables is a sharing community I set up a special $2 coupon just for you. This coupon will expire after 500 downloads.

To get the template click here, add it to your cart and when you check out use the coupon code


This will give you a $2 discount -- in other words it will be free, and you won't need to enter any financial information to get it. You can use this coupon on any of my designs, not just the kitchen, but you'll only be able to use it once.

Step 2: Equipment

Picture of Equipment

You will need:

  1. My design template (see step 2)
  2. A color printer
  3. Two sheets of light card stock.
  4. A scalpel knife, often called by the brand name Xacto knife.
  5. A self healing cutting mat is recommended, but you can also protect your table with a piece of cardboard.
  6. A scoring tool. You can buy a tool like this one, or use a knitting needle, a stylus, a ball point pen which no longer works (but be SURE there's no ink left) a piece of bone or seashell or any other sharp but not too sharp instrument which can crush your paper without piercing it.
  7. A ruler. You don't need to measure anything, but you do need to make straight score lines. I like using a metal one, in case I want to use it for cutting as well as scoring (the knife will cut a plastic ruler and ruin it)
  8. Glue. I like white glue best (this Neutral pH Adhesive, because I hate Elmer's tip which always gets clogged) but you need to have a light touch if you want to avoid making the card bumpy. Rubber cement is another option.

(Full disclosure: if you buy any of the items I linked to here, Amazon will reward me with a few pennies -- however these are all tools I use and would recommend even without the nickel)

Step 3: Cut

Picture of Cut

Start with the support because it's much easier and almost invisible. The template comes with a cut and fold guide, so just follow the printed instructions.

Step 4: Score

Picture of Score

Using a ruler, score the kitchen support card by following the dotted lines on the cut and fold guide.

Step 5: Fold

Picture of Fold

Holding the picture facing you, poke your fingers through the counter top shape as you close the card with your other hand (since I was taking the picture, I couldn't really show both hands at work). It's very easy so long as you've scored it properly.

Step 6: Repeat

Picture of Repeat

Cut the kitchen sheet along the red lines of your reference picture (follow the details in the picture not the rough lines -- cut around the coffee pot, and leave the handles on the pot!).

Score the card using your scoring tool and a ruler (no rounded shapes on the score line, even if some details in the picture might be curved).

Fold first the sink counter top, then the fridge, then the stove counter, and finally the floor beneath the refrigerator before folding the whole card in half and smoothing down the creases.

Step 7: Glue

Picture of Glue

Take the kitchen card and put a small quantity of white glue on the back side of the floor. Make sure you only put glue on the floor surface, not in any of the popups.

Carefully align the kitchen card on top of the support so that the middle crease line comes right up against the middle crease line of the support. Press it down flat to glue the sheets together.

Separate the kitchen wall from the support wall and put a small amount of glue behind the kitchen wall. Press if down flat on the support wall, then open and close your card to make sure the kitchen and support are aligned and glued properly (if not, quickly pull them apart before the glue dries and try again).

Step 8: Play

Picture of Play

It's time to roast up some wild boar!


porcupinemamma (author)2012-02-19

You are BRILLIANT!!! The video really helped me understand better. Thanks so much :0)

belsey (author)porcupinemamma2012-02-20

Thanks! That makes it all worth while!

CraftBear (author)2011-01-08

Awesome make thank you so so much! Now I really can carry everything including the kitchen sink!

theREALcybercat (author)2010-09-16

i've just make my own and its really awesome!


belsey (author)theREALcybercat2010-09-17

Thanks! If you happen to be in NYC, the entire house is included in an art show called "Paper and Pulp: Gathering a Community" at the Salt Space (1158 Broadway, entrance on 27th St in Manhattan). The opening is tonight from 6 to 8 but the show will run till October 18, 2010

porcupinemamma (author)2010-04-17

5/5!!!!   voted way to go :0)

I'm also thinking aboout adding smoke and dirty dishes and a caption somewhere that says-"Wanna come over for dinner, or shall we go out?" (lol)

persephone94 (author)2010-01-20

 I love your instructable -- and the accompanying website for the bedroom printouts -- and can't wait to modify it, literally: I'm making a MOD 1970s styled ranch house dollhouse from an old architecture magazine I found. I had no idea where to start, but you've made it actually easier to compress the visual-spatial stuff :)


belsey (author)persephone942010-01-21

Thanks! I'm glad you're modifying my design.  I don't think I've ever followed an instructable step by step, instead I use them as inspiration for other things... Please post pictures in these comments when you're done, I'd love to see the final result!

delicate_secret (author)2009-11-30

beautiful work! I love making stuff for the kiddos-- and get waaaayyy into detail, too ;)

belsey (author)delicate_secret2009-11-30

Thanks! You should post some instructables too, or if that takes too much time take a few pictures and post a slideshow!

ThePlatapus (author)2009-07-23

Oh wow! When I read your Instructable on how to make a kitchen, I was so excited I made it right away! It turned out perfectly and I saw the website attached to the kitchen so I decided that I would look at your website. When I saw your doll house it was one of the coolest papercraft I've ever seen. So I was wondering if your could make more Instructables on how to make the other parts of the doll house?

belsey (author)ThePlatapus2009-07-24

I have no immediate plans to do so... I modified the kitchen from the house for the instructable so it could be printed on a regular sized paper. You couldn't build the whole house without printing on large format paper. Since most people don't have printers which can handle that size, sharing it as a download isn't very useful. I'm considering printing it out and selling prints, but I need to get IKEA's permission first (the house is filled with their stuff...). I'm working on it... In the mean time if you subscribe to me you'll hear if I post another room -- and don't forget to vote! I'm really glad yours turned out well. You've got to be very precise, particularly with the two layers.

belsey (author)belsey2009-11-23

Now you can sign up for the chance to download a PDF of the bedroom at

Wafflicious (author)2009-09-13

Cool! you could probably have the refrigerator open up too.

belsey (author)Wafflicious2009-09-14

Not really without changing the design... it would make it too fragile to cut out the door the way it is here. But pretty much anything is possible with this technique when you set your mind to it, and if you look at the other rooms on my web site you'll see that in the master bedroom there are sliding mirror doors with clothes folded behind them.

Wafflicious (author)belsey2009-09-15

Ya I saw those they are incredible!

irrilia (author)2009-08-25

Fantastic.... :) Kids have got to love this!

endawmyke (author)2009-08-15

This is some awesome paper craft

wenui (author)2009-08-13


samyboyster (author)2009-08-09

HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!

sideways (author)2009-07-28

Very cool and thanks for posting it. I've been a fan of popups and paper engineering for years now. Your skill is outstanding.

belsey (author)sideways2009-07-30

Thanks! I find very few things as relaxing as staring at a flat sheet of paper and picturing it folding into 3 dimensional shapes in my mind...

stephenlast (author)2009-07-27

you're a dedicated father

belsey (author)stephenlast2009-07-27

Mother, actually -- but to be honest, I did this as much for myself, because I need to make stuff, as for my kids. Certainly I think it took me more time to design it than they spent playing with it...

bethmwl (author)2009-07-23

Great job on the kitchen! Great detail.

illdoyourdrugs (author)2009-07-17

Nice instructable. I'm actually going to make this. I think this finally might be the first instructable i will ever do hahaha. I have over 300 fav's, have been a member for forever and have yet to complete one.

belsey (author)2009-07-11

I wish... no, I just have way too much patience. I was curious how long it took me, and checked when I created the first version of the file up to the last modification... over 4 years! True, between my first and second versions I worked on many other projects, but this was made during stolen hours, after my kids went to bed and before I collapsed from exhaustion. No TV for me!

Nick_12 (author)2009-07-09

really cool u have a lot of patience

l8nite (author)2009-07-07

I went to see the whole house.. pretty awesome and a LOT of work. The instruc would be a lot more helpful if you showed or told us how or where you came up with the various room and furniture pictures

goodgnus (author)l8nite2009-07-07

You can probably get the pictures of stuff in the room from various home magazines. Magazines like Dwell for modern furniture or more traditional home magazines for ordinary furniture. IKEA catalogs would work good for an IKEA home. Visit a 2nd hand book store that sells magazines to get them on the cheap.

belsey (author)goodgnus2009-07-08

Yes, this is the IKEA house. All furniture and accessories either come directly from their online catalogue or are based on their designs.... My original design had pictures from all over (including google images), but then I decided I wanted to sell the idea, and to avoid any rights problems I thought of making a 100% IKEA house then pitching the idea to them. It seemed like a natural for them: very cheap to mass produce, wholesome toy, marketing tool for their furniture, new collectable model each year with their new catalogue, folds flat (they are obsessed with flat shipping). How could they say no? But they did. I got a form rejection letter back from Sweden, but they only returned one of the three samples I sent them.... So if they come out with a similar house in a year or two I'll be pretty pissed off....

goodgnus (author)belsey2009-07-08

Apply for a provisional patent, with a little research it can be done without the help of a patent lawyer and only costs $110 to file.

belsey (author)l8nite2009-07-08

This instructable was designed to explain how to make this kitchen, not how to design your own... once you make this and look at it carefully it's fairly obvious how to design something similar yourself. "All" it takes is time (lots and lots of it) patience (even more) and plenty of ink in your printer. It would be impossible to give specifics on where to find all the pictures. It took hundreds of hours to find and prepare all of them...

goodgnus (author)l8nite2009-07-07

Another idea would be to search for whatever item you're looking for on

Kitty Lamour (author)2009-07-08

That is really lovely. Will be making one straight away .mmm Could make a whole house.

Sandisk1duo (author)2009-07-07


stephenniall (author)2009-07-07

awesome im going to tru ,aking one of my room !

belsey (author)stephenniall2009-07-07

Go for it, but be warned: it will take at least ten times more hours to make than you think it will...

mbudde (author)2009-07-07

Thats sweet! How long did it take you to make the pattern?

belsey (author)mbudde2009-07-07

I can't really say, because I made one version of the whole house (over a period of about 2 months) then later I started all over from scratch. Many many many hours, because in addition to designing the popups (which are fairly simple in this example) there were hundreds of photos to take, capture, crop, resize, etc. But now that it's done I can make it in about 5 minutes....

Wolf Seril (author)2009-07-07

Great idea! 5 stars.

Focker (author)2009-07-07

Dang! That looks really good! In fact, if I were in real estate or an architect I would totally do this for a virtual room experience, great ible!

JakeTobak (author)Focker2009-07-07

I might consider something like that if I was developing a building with a lot of similar units, but for a single property it would be WAY too much work.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I ... More »
More by belsey:Slug-killing Electric Zapper Raised BedRainbow Pussy HatDuck Tape Woven Heart Beach Bag
Add instructable to: