Monday, February 8, 2016

Cardboard Creations - DIY Play Kitchen

How To Make an Easy DIY Play Kitchen - Cardboard Creations - Sly Spoon

The holidays have just passed and during December I ended up seeing a million toy ads, many from the company Step2, which happens to make awesome play kitchens. Every time I saw them I though about how much fun my son (who loves helping me in the kitchen) would have with them.  I've tried to win a few but no luck.  Go figure.

Anyway, since our cute little family is surviving on a grad student stipend I thought I'd try my hand a building one... out of cardboard. My little guy is two, he's going to have fun with it no matter what, and he's really not going to notice or care that the thing is painted rather than made out of colored plastic.



Supplies Needed:


  • Large rectangular cardboard box, I looked for one that would reach a little above my son's stomach
  • Large flat piece of cardboard
  • Shoebox
  • Exacto Knife
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks
  • Paint
  • Bowl, can of soup or cup (will be traced)
  • 5 milk carton lids
  • 2 soda pop lids
  • 2 empty toilet paper rolls 
  • 3 brads (optional, only if you want to be able to hang pots/spoons)
  • 7 Small nails
  • Roll of plain white paper (wrapping paper rolled inside out would also work well for this)
  • A curved piece of plastic for the sink part.  I ended up using a cracked tupperware, but I think a milk carton cut in half, a plastic salad container (like you find at Costco) or even a takeout box would work just as well

How To Make an Easy DIY Play Kitchen - Cardboard Creations - Sly Spoon
Step 1) Flip Your Box
If you plan on painting your kitchen you're going to save your self a lot of heartache and a lot of paint if you flip your box inside out so you don't have to try to paint over and cover up whatever ads are printed on the outside of your box. 

My box was a huge pain to flip (because I ended up with a really sturdy one that had about a million staples holding it together)  I had to use the edge of a hammer to get all the staples out of the seam, a lot of boxes are just glued and you can pull them apart with a little bit of arm muscle. 

Anyway, pull the staples out or rip the glue apart then flip your box inside out and glue the seam back together using your hot glue gun. 

Step 2) Outline the Oven & Cupboard
I used a book to keep a strait edge and just kind of eye balled where I wanted my kitchen oven & cupboard to fold out from.  I traced one of the soda lids for the little hole on the cupboard so there would be an easy way to pull it open and I cut out the extra square 'viewing window' in the stove for the same reason.  

How To Make an Easy DIY Play Kitchen - Cardboard Creations - Sly SpoonStep 3) Outline the Sink
Use whatever container you have for your sink and trace it.  If your item (like a halved milk jug) doesn't have an edge that will allow it to sit into the hole you're going to cut, then make sure to cut you're hole smaller than the width of the jug so that it won't just fall through. 

Step 4) Cut out your Cupboard, Oven and Sink
Use an exacto knife and cut around the areas that you traced.  Make sure you leave one side of the cupboard and oven intact so that your child can bend them open without pulling them off the box. 

Step 5) Make your Shelf
Get a piece of cardboard a little longer than your oven/sink box.  You need a flat strip that will fit inside the box.  Bend the edges of this piece of cardboard and rest them against the flaps inside your box to hold them in place. 

Step 5) Make your Burners
Trace something round (a cup, can of soup, bowl) to outline your stove burners. Then use hot glue to outline what you traced.  Make smaller and smaller hot glue circles inside of your burners.  

Step 6) Make your Backsplash
Get a large piece of cardboard, about the height of your child and as wide as the box you are using for your oven/sink.  You will use this to create the backsplash.  Lay it flat on the floor and roll a length of plain white art paper over it (or wrapping paper, printed side against the box, white side out) and tape it in place.  Use a ruler or stencil to create the pattern you want for your backsplash. 

Step 7) Make your Microwave 
I found a shoebox that had the lid connected to the box, it was awesome because I could just throw the lid over the top of my backsplash and the rest of the box would just hang in place.  If you can't find a shoebox that already has the lid attached, no worries, just tape the lid to the box.  

Use a book to trace a rectangle on your shoe box and draw out your buttons. 

How To Make an Easy DIY Play Kitchen - Cardboard Creations - Sly Spoon
Step 8) Add the Faucet 
Get your empty toilet paper rolls. Place one roll upright where you want your sink faucet to be, cut a "C' shape in the second roll and slide the flap into the first roll creating a slightly curved faucet.  Use your hot glue to glue them where you want them to be on your box. 

Step 9) Paint 
Grab your paints and paint your kitchen to your hearts content. 

Step 10) Add your Knobs
Grab your bottle caps.  (I choose to paint mine) Place the two soda bottle caps on opposite sides of your faucet and grab one of your small nails.  Push it though the top of your bottle cap, and through your cardboard box (you may want to use a hammer, I was able to use my super strong thumb).  Then grab your glue gun and glue the bottom part of the nail that is protruding through your box.  This will keep the cap in place and protect your child from the pointed part of the nail while still allowing them to twist the "knobs" 

Do the same thing with the knobs for the oven burners, and I choose to add one to my microwave so it would be easier to open. 

Step 11) Add your Brads
I poked a few little brads through the back of my backsplash to hang pots and pans on.  Do whatever works for you... you could probably also do it with nails, but I didn't like the idea of nails jutting out so I opted for the brads. 

And "Wha-la" you're done!

If your kid/s are anything like my son they will adore it.  We've got some great stainless steel pots and pans from Ikea and my son happily cooks on his stove and dutifully puts his dishes in his sink.  Ha.  I love it!

Have you made this craft?  What was your experience like and do you have an suggestions to make it better?  I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below. 
How To Make an Easy DIY Play Kitchen - Cardboard Creations - Sly Spoon

How To Make an Easy DIY Play Kitchen - Cardboard Creations - Sly Spoon