DIY Play Kitchen for Kids
The tutorial for this DIY Play Kitchen for Kids is long overdue. I mean, really. I built this play kitchen for my boys 6 months ago. But, I finally set aside time to put this together. And after 6 months, I know my boys love this play kitchen and am so excited to share it with you!
My youngest has loved playing restaurant for about a year now. So, getting him a play kitchen for Christmas was a no-brainer, for me.
I shopped around for little play kitchens everywhere. I loved the look of this corner kitchen and this beautiful Farm to Table Play Kitchen. But they always seem a bit short or small to last long around here. And, they typically won’t last as long as solid wood builds.
So, I decided to design and build my own DIY Play Kitchen for Kids.
I knew it had to have fun working parts with lights and noise and all the things that make play kitchens fun. I decided to mix my design with real play kitchen equipment to make this sweet, functional kitchen. My kids love it and I think yours will too. 🙂
Watch the DIY Play Kitchen for Kids Build Video
Seeing something done always help me understand it better. Watch this quick build overview video to get a good look at how to build this DIY Play Kitchen for Kids.
What You’ll Need for This Build
- 1/2″ Plywood
- 1/2″ x 3/4″ Pine Moulding
- 1x2 Dimensional Lumber
- 2x2 Dimensional Lumber
- 2x2 Dimensional Lumber
- 1/4″ Luan Board
- 1/2″ Cabinet Grade Plywood, like Maple, for the counter top
- Edge Banding and Iron to apply it
- Miter Saw and Circular Saw and Jigsaw
- Brad Nailer and Brad Nails
- Kreg Jig, Screws and Drill (A Dowel or Biscuit Joiner would work too)
- Wood Glue and Wood Filler
- Thin Plexiglass and Super Glue for the oven door
- 4 Small Hinges
- 15 3/4 Bottom/Side Mount Euro Drawer Slides
- 3 Mending Plates
- 2 Magnetic Cabinet Door Latches
Steps to Build this DIY Play Kitchen for Kids
Please Note: All dimensions can be found on the printable plans. AND you’ll need to switch back and forth on the sizes for your brad nails and screws during the build. Always use one at least 1/4″ shorter than the thickness of the pieces.
Step One – Build Plywood Frame
Cut the 1/2″ plywood to size and sand smooth with 100 grit then 180 grit sandpaper. I used cheap construction grade plywood for this part of the kitchen, since I painted it.
I used the 1/2″ x 3/4″ Pine Moulding as supports for the shelves. I made a pencil line to mark the placement of the moulding then glued and nailed it into place.
Then connect the 2 sides and middle piece with the plywood shelves by gluing and nailing them onto that pine moulding. Attach the bottom shelves first. Make sure to always wipe away excess glue as you build.
Step Two – Frame out the Front of the DIY Play Kitchen for Kids
Now, we can frame out the front of the kitchen. We’ll use glue and brad nails here too. Start with a 1″ x 3″ piece along the top and a 1″ x 2″ piece along the bottom shelf. Then connect the top and bottom with 3 – 1″ x 2″ pieces at each side and in the middle. The middle piece should be centered on the plywood behind it. Finish off that framing with 2 – 1″ x 2″ pieces at the middle drawers.
Next, we can add base moulding to 3 sides along the bottom of the kitchen. I cut 45-degree angles for the corners with my Miter Saw for these. Glue and brad nail this moulding too.
Step Three – Build Frame for Seating Area
Use 2″ x 2″ lumber for the 2 legs on the seating area. Connect those with 1″ x 2″ lumber using pocket holes and glue. In the pictures I only built a 3-sided frame here. But the printable plans use 4. I think it would be stronger with the support of a 4th board.
Attach the Frame for the Seating Area to the Kitchen with glue and brad nails. Again, I used pocket holes in the picture, but by adding a 4th side to the plans, you can create a very strong connection with the glue and nails.
Step Four – Attach Back and Counter for the DIY Play Kitchen for Kids
Glue and Nail a sanded 1/4″ thick piece of Luan Board to the back of the kitchen. Cut the counter top to size and then mark the cutout for your drop in sink. Be sure to make this hole a little tight on the sink, so that the kids can’t pull it out by just playing with it.
You can cut the hole using a drill and jigsaw. If you over cut the hole a little, you might be able to make it hold the sink tighter by ironing on edge banding.
I used this sink with a real built in pump for water. But, I have to admit. My kids don’t know it can pump water. But the pump makes a cool sound when the kids “turn the water on”. So that adds to the fun and realism. If I ever build an outdoor kitchen, this would be such a cool way to add real water.
You might also like this similar pink top sink or this light blue top sink. You can really pick any sink you’d like. Just make sure that the sink isn’t wider than the opening in the cabinet so that you don’t have to cut into the frame for the DIY Play Kitchen for Kids.
Once the sink opening is cut, you can apply edge banding around the outside of the counter top. You can see how I cut the hole for the sink and applied edge banding in the video.
Step Five – Sand the Dimensional Lumber and Counter Top
I usually sand to about 180 grit for anything I’m painting and 220 grit for wood I’m sanding. Certain types of wood or higher end finishes may need a higher grit. But for the wood on this kids kitchen that level of sanding will work great.
So, sand the counter top to 220 grit. Start with 120 or 150 then work up. Sand the dimensional lumber on the face of the kitchen and in the seating area with 180 grit. If you used Select Pine, just sanding with 180 will work fine. If you used Common Board, you might have an easier time and better result starting with 100 or 120 then moving up to 180.
Vacuum extra dust from cabinets. Wipe away the rest of the dust with a very lightly damp cloth or tack cloth.
Step Six – Build the Doors and Drawers
Build the drawer boxes with plywood, glue, and brad nails. I went with 1/2″ construction grade plywood on 3 sides of the drawer box. I used the 1/2″ cabinet grade plywood for the drawer face so that I could stain it. I also applied edge banding on the drawer face for a nice finished look. Use 1/4″ Luan Plywood for the drawer bottom.
The 2 doors for my DIY Play Kitchen for Kids are made of the 1/2″ construction grade plywood too. Cut them to size. Then use your drill and jigsaw again to cut a square opening in 1 door.
Apply wood filler to all holes, joints, and anywhere that needs it on the kitchen. After that dries, sand anything that will be painted to 180 grit. Then sand the stained areas to 220 grit. Clean away all the dust.
Build long door handles from the 1/2″ by 3/4″ dowel. I went with long handles to match the look of long handles on real dishwashers and ovens. That’s also why I decide to attach them along the top of the doors. But those long handles are a great way to add another pop of color to the kitchen. And, they look really cute with a little hand towel hanging from them too. 🙂
Step Seven – Build the Kitchen Wall and Shelf
Frame out 1/4″ beadboard plywood with 1″ x 2″ Dimensional Lumber to make a back wall. In the picture, you might notice I used Tongue and Groove Beadboard for this project. I had that on hand from my DIY Porch Ceiling Makeover. You can use that or just regular beadboard plywood. Whichever is easier. 🙂
Also, after building mine, I realized that framing all 4 sides of the front would be best. That’s in the printable DIY Play Kitchen for Kids Plan. It just makes attaching the wall easier.
Build the little shelf with 1/2″ cabinet grade plywood framed on 3 sides with the 1/2″ x 3/4″ Pine Moulding. I used cut off ends of 2 store bought book shelf brackets as shelf supports. The ends were leftover from my DIY Wood Curtain Rod and Brackets build.
You can cut off store bought brackets to fit the scale of this kitchen or build custom little triangle brackets. You basically make a wood L-shape with 2 equal sides. Then connect those from end to end with a piece that has 45-degree cuts at each end.
Finishing the DIY Kids Play Kitchen
At this point, I applied finish before assembling any further. You can have fun with kids furniture builds and use colors you wouldn’t normally use. I’ll tell you what I used, in case you want to recreate it.
The red paint is Americana Decor Chalk Paint in Rouge. The blue paint is Magnolia Homes By Kilz chalk paint in Signature. The off white color is Magnolia Homes by Kilz paint in One Horn White.
This line of Kilz paint can be found online or sometimes in Ace Hardware Stores. I absolutely love the consistency and colors of this paint line. So, I have been buying it whenever possible for the last 2 years. I am not at all affiliated with them. I really just love it. 🙂
For the wood stain, I actually used Danish Oil in Medium Walnut. It’s a wipe on wood finish that is super easy to use. It’s been my go to for a while now. I used 2 coats of that.
Assembling the DIY Play Kitchen for Kids
After all of that is painted and stained, we can assemble it. First, super glue plexiglass to the opening on whichever side you pick to be the inside of the oven door. Then attach the doors with 2 small hinges on each door. You may need to buy new screws to attach these. Something short enough for the 1/2″ thick door, 1/4″ or 3/8″ long on the door side will probably work.
I was in a hurry and used the default, which puckered the plywood on the outside of the doors. You can’t really notice unless you look for it. But, it’d be better if it wasn’t there. 🙂
Attach magnetic cabinet door latches to the top inside corners to keep the doors shut nice and tight. Then attach the long door handles by pre-drilling small holes in the door and in the center of the ends of the door handles. Then screw from the back of the cabinet door through the handle.
Next, attach standard 15 3/4″ drawer slides to each drawer and the inside of the drawer opening. I set mine so that the drawer front actually sticks out 1/2″ from the face of the frame.
I did this to match with the cabinet doors that sit on top of the frame. But, it has the side benefit of being a bit easier too. You don’t have to worry about making the drawer face perfectly flush with the face of this DIY Play Kitchen for Kids. Win!
You have 2 options here. You can just glue the counter top on. I’d apply glue across every single part of the frame that will touch the counter top then use just enough nails to hold the top on tight while it dries. You can fill those nail holes with matching wood putty.
OR, you can use angle brackets to attach the counter top from underneath. I’d probably use 4 inside the kitchen and 4 in the seating area side. Be sure to pick the correct screws here too. I went with 1/2″ plywood for this build to keep this kitchen as light as possible. But, you will need to buy shorter screws or nails than you use for 3/4″ plywood build.
Kitchen Wall and Shelf
Attach the Kitchen Wall with Mending Plates along the back. I used 3. Make sure to line the mending plates up with the 3/4″ frame around the beadboard. This is why I decided the wall should have had a 1″ x 2″ across the bottom too. I needed a thicker material to attach the middle mending plate to.
I attached the shelf brackets to the wall of this DIY Play Kitchen for Kids with glue and brad nails from behind. Then set the shelf on that with glue on the brackets. That’ll need time to dry. Or, you can try using Dap’s Rapid Fuse for a quick setting glue.
Add all of the Fun Bells & Whistles
Now you can install that fun drop in sink. And add 2 burners and a griddle or just 4 burners. I used 2 round cork plant mats as the bottom of the burners. Then topped with 8 pieces of the 1/2″ x 3/4″ dowels and a 1/2″ thick slice of a 1″ diameter dowel rod. The griddle is just a framed in section of counter top with 1/4″ plywood inside to raise the griddle surface.
It’ll be easier for you to paint the pieces before attaching them to the counter top. You can attach them quickly and securely with something like that DAP Rapid Fuse I mentioned earlier.
For the seating at the kids kitchen, I built this easy $20 round counter stool. I used that wood round because I had one on hand, but it doesn’t slide under the counter. The frame would slide under the counter with a square top instead, though. So, you can pick which one you prefer. 🙂
I found that great little toy microwave on Amazon. It makes noises, lights up, and has a spinning turn table. I keep it in place with 3M Velcro Command Strips.
The Dishwasher is a cool red drying rack that I found at my local grocery store for about $10. I liked it because it matches my paint and it has a rim that made it easy for me to build wood brackets/slides for. I attached those wood brackets with DAP rapid fuse after painting them.
I also added a fun retro wall clock to the wall for fun. A calendar, notepad, or chalkboard would be fun options too. My son has a Christmas phone that looks really cute on the kitchen counter too. It just makes it all feel like a retro kitchen.
A big pack of play food, pots and pans, and battery powered kitchen accessories, like a blender, mixer, and toaster add to the fun. Somewhere like WalMart might be the best bet for low prices on those.
My kids also love this nice Chefs costume and the accessories that came with it. You can see the jacket hanging on the corner of the DIY Play Kitchen for Kids below.
After 6 months of constantly playing with this kitchen, my kids are asking for a fridge. I may have to build one soon. 🙂
That’s it for this DIY Play Kitchen for Kids. The Printable Build Plans for this Play Kitchen Build are available for purchase on Gumroad. If you find any of these steps confusing, the printable will help explain things better, with plan images of each step and measurements 🙂
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Thanks for checking out my DIY Play Kitchen for Kids. Let me know if you have questions. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.