This is a little farmhouse-style play kitchen I made for my daughter as a Christmas gift.
There are hundreds of homemade DIY play kitchens online - many of which were made by modifying old wooden entertainment centers.
In fact there are several versions of play kitchens worth checking out right here on Instructables: play kitchens
This is my version, and while it was also technically made from an old entertainment center, I completely disassembled it and started from scratch.
Aside from the entertainment center, I only had to purchase a few nuts and bolts as well as a used oven rack I picked up from a thrift store.
All other materials were things I had on hand. Hoarding useful materials pays off! :)
Here's a quick look at how I built this, including a few specific tricks that I'm quite proud of.
Perhaps there are some ideas or methods here to help you if you ever want to build something similar.
Step 1: Break Down, Build Up
I found the entertainment center at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore and bought it for $10.
It was made of oak-veneered pine plywood with solid oak doors and trim. For $10 dollars plus a few hours taking it apart and removing all the nails and such, I was left with a very nice pile of good material to work with.
After some initial sketches I decided to make a single cabinet with an oven on one side and a sink with storage shelves on the other. I began cobbling it together using glue and screws, but basically making it up as I went.
Remember when using screws to always predrill and countersink your holes. I strongly recommend this set of tapered, fully adjustable countersinking bits from Lee Valley; they're pricey, but the best I've ever used for basic cabinetry like this.
Tools used for this project included table saw, band saw, drills, drill press, pneumatic nail gun, clamps, and other common shop tools.
I didn't keep any precise measurements, but the finished cabinet is about 24 inches tall, 17 inches deep, and 36 inches wide.
Step 2: Finished Cabinet Case
Here is the finished cabinet case. I created an opening on the right site to which I later added a "farmhouse" style sink, which was also made from plywood.
Step 3: Oven Rack and Door
A small oven rack was purchased at a thrift store and some little supports were made from scrap wood to support it. These were glued and tacked in place with a brad nailer.
The hinges for the door came from an old sewing table. I tend to take apart old furniture and keep all the hardware for future projects like this. For the hinges, I routed small recesses in the door itself as well as the cabinet frame.
Step 4: Counter Top
For the counter top of the cabinet, I pieced together bits of plywood.
My initial intention was to paint this top surface, but later decided to leave it as exposed, but finished wood.
If I had known at this point that I was going to leave it exposed, I would have used a piece on that left side that had the grain running lengthwise . . that bugs me every time I look at this. Oh well!
Step 5: Add Counter Trim and Acrylic Stove Top
Pieces of oak trim from the original entertainment center were used to finish the outer edges of the counter top.
These were glued and nailed in place and then sanded smooth all around.
The stove top was made from a 1/4" piece of scrap acrylic plexiglass I had. A recess was routed into the opening for it to simply nest in place.
Step 6: Making the Stove Top
I wanted to make a realistic looking smooth-style stove top, and this is how I did it.
I began by sanding the top and bottom of the acrylic piece with 220 grit sandpaper using an orbital sander until the surfaces were equally foggy looking.
Then I spray painting the bottom side with black spray paint.
When the paint was dry I used 80 grit paper on the orbital sander to very gently press directly down and sand away most of the black paint to create four circles that looked like stove top elements. Some swirl marks were left, which enhances the effect.
The bottom side was then spray painted red.
When the red paint was dry I sanded again with the orbital sander in the same fashion, but this time with 220 grit paper and only very, very lightly . . just enough to add some fresh swirl marks in the red paint.
When placed in the cabinet with the painted side down, I thought it looked a heck-of-a-lot like a red-hot stove top!
Step 7: Sink, Oven Door, and Painting
The cabinet was painted pink, and all bare wood was sprayed with a few coats of lacquer.
The sink was made with scrap pieces of plywood and painted white. This was later glued in place in the opening with some epoxy.
The oven door was painted black and a piece of acrylic was added to the backside with screws into a recess routed in the back of the door. A temporary handle was added that was replaced later on.
The door was attached to the cabinet with hinges and a magnetic catch plate was added to hold it closed.
Step 8: Oven Knobs
The knobs for the oven were made from bits and pieces of maple and walnut.
Bolts were epoxied into the knobs, sprayed with lacquer, and fastened to pieces of scrap aluminum with washers and nuts, but kept loose enough so they could still spin.
The aluminum plates were then fastened to the cabinet.
Step 9: Faucet
A faucet was made from pieces of maple. Rough pieces were put together with glue and dowels, and then trimmed to rough shape on the band saw.
The edges were routed and everything was sanded with 220 paper, and then sprayed with lacquer.
The knobs and faucet were completed and mounted to the cabinet in the same fashion as the oven knobs from the previous step.
Step 10: Oven Handle
Initially I had made an oven handle out of scrap piece of aluminum, but this was replaced with a nicer handle made out of maple. This piece was cut on the bandsaw, edges routed, sanded and finished with lacquer.
This was screwed in place to the oven door.
Step 11: All Done
When this was completed, I had enough scrap plywood left over from the entertainment center to make a small set of shelves as well, which were painted to match.
The result was a very happy little girl on Christmas morning.
Now I just need to make her a play welding set.
That'll be next year's gift!