Home & DIY Projects

DIY Play Kitchen Project


This is loooong overdue, and as it’s getting close to Christmas I thought it was high time I wrote about how I transformed an old nightstand into a compact play kitchen for Olive (grainy cell phone photos ahead!)

I’ve had this idea for a while, though initially I was going to do a larger one like this. After Olive and I moved, I quickly realized that something that size just wasn’t feasible in our smaller space, so I started sniffing around for different options. Pinterest is a wonderful thing and I quickly found a handful of other play kitchens made on a much smaller scale using night stands instead of entertainment units.

I scoured Kijiji and value village for a few weeks until I finally found something that would work (what is with people selling old nightstands for $100?? Who the hell pays $100 for a place to rest their water glasses?)

Anyway, at $10, this little beauty was the winner.

  imageThe drawer (which would soon become the oven) was quite shallow, but I really liked the shape of the bottom edges and I reasoned that having lots of storage space underneath was more important than having a deep oven. Pluuuus it was about a week until her birthday and I really needed to get started.

I took it home and got to work immediately after Olive went to sleep that night.

I began by taking the drawer apart,  which involved prying the face off, and then taking off the sides and the bottom.


I then slid the bottom of the drawer into the empty space to create a base for the oven,  secured it, and used silver craft paint to paint the entire inside space.


Action shot! Ooooooh

Next,  I took off the drawer hardware, filled the holes, sanded,  primed,  and started painting.

I have a deep and abiding love for all things teal, turquoise, mint etc. but I have a lot of it in my home already, and I thought Olive might like something a little sunnier, so I picked a buttery vintage yellow called “Daisy Chain” by Behr. I used a little tester pot, so the paint was only $4.


After priming and first coat of paint.

Next I added hinges on the bottom of the drawer and drilled holes to add a handle I found at the Calgary re-store.

I used black paint to make burners and added black knobs (also from the re-store) as burner dials, and used a chalk marker to make the little temperature indicator line.


Testing our knob colours and before adding a “drain” and the backing piece.

I lacked the tools and the know-how to inset a mixing bowl to form the sink, and given the depth of the drawer below it wouldn’t have worked very well, so Olive’s kitchen got upgraded to a vessel sink!

I found a glass bowl at value village and glued it to the top of the nightstand, and used an upside down wooden J from a craft store painted silver to make a tap.

The tap knobs are leftover from the kitchen cabinets of my old house. I screwed them in loosely so that Olive would still be able to turn them.

Next, I went to home Depot and had them cut two pieces of thin pine to make a shelf for the storage area, and a backing piece. I screwed the backing in place and used four L-brackets to install the shelf.

I added a few hooks above the stove for utensils and three on the side of the kitchen to hang oven mitts and tea towels, aaaand finally, I hung a curtain across the storage opening (using eye hooks, string, and an old pillowcase) to hide the storage space beneath, and I made a little window with a mountain view over the sink. I used one of my old sheets to make the valance.

To cap it all off, my mom supplied secondhand cooking items from value village, my mother-in-law made gorgeous mini oven mitts and tea towels, and matching aprons for Olive and I (!!) and my sister Lizzie crocheted these incredible little fruits, veggies, and even a roasted chicken!




I think the whole project came in at around $45, and Olive absolutely loves it. It was strangely empowering to make the whole thing myself, with drills and Home Depot dudes and measurements and a few macgyver situations, too.

If you decide to make one, come back and show me how it turned out!

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  • Reply Jennifer November 15, 2015 at 12:13 AM

    Love it! We are on toddler #3, so it’s too late to invest in a big play kitchen. This seems a nice compact size, not much bigger than the small Ikea table next to the fridge that we currently have the bucket of kitchen toys under.
    Very nice!

  • Reply Jen November 15, 2015 at 12:25 AM

    I love it so much!! My Olive is only 17 months so I have some time to improve my DIY skills…!

  • Reply heidi ruckriegel November 15, 2015 at 3:28 AM

    Hmmm… that’s giving me ideas, for the grandchild who is arriving next year… I’m thinking a nice mud-pie kitchen in the garden!

  • Reply yvette November 15, 2015 at 4:30 AM

    So adorable! It’s nice that your family helped. That makes the whole project extra special. I’m sure Olive will always remember her little yellow kitchen.

  • Reply Art, Elska, and a special giveaway for Calgary readers - Sweet Madeleine January 22, 2016 at 1:56 PM

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