I've been struggling with two problems in buying a toy kitchen for my little guy. The first is that cheaper plastic kitchens are almost universally pink. The second is that the better quality ones are outrageously expensive. Even the IKEA kitchen, which is made from MDF and plastic, is $200 (before you populate it with utensils). I was lamenting about this with my lovely sister, who suggested that I make one from recycled furniture (and then sent me lots of pictures from Pinterest!).
What a brilliant idea!
This is a pretty good tutorial of how you might go about making a kitchen, featured on Better Homes and Gardens. Let's see if it's as easy as it looks...
Step One: Acquire some pre-loved furniture. I've found a mini buffet and hutch (adorable already), and a bedside cupboard. Both are made from pine and together cost $55. First step is to remove the doors, hinges and handles, ready for sanding. Any big scratches, holes or dents have been filled with wood putty.
|Dismantled, ready for sanding
Step Two: Buying the paint. If you need to buy paint, I heartily recommend going to a professional paint shop, and avoid Bunnings at all cost. I went to Hardware & General and not only did I get the right paint (and the right amount), it came with plenty great advice about how to apply it. Plus a toy dog and a kilo of jelly beans! The paint was $93 for a litre of Dulux Primer/Sealer/Undercoat and two litres of Dulux Aquanamel in semi-gloss Vivid White.
|Buy Paint, get freebies!
Step Three: Undercoat. The nice thing about using water based acrylic is that is doesn't smell, dries fast, and is easy to paint with if you're a bit crap at painting (which I am). The undercoat should help to smooth out the surfaces, and give the paint a nice surface to stick to. It also seals the wood and prevents stain from leaking through.
|Good thing it's water based!