Photo By: Susan Teare ©Joanne Palmisano

Susan Teare, Joanne Palmisano


Creative Playspace

To make a toy kitchen, you'll need: an old entertainment center; primer, white paint and a paintbrush; painter’s tape; a sander with medium-grit sandpaper; wood screws (various sizes); finish nails; hinges; metal hooks; a spring curtain rod; fabric or dishtowel; a used faucet; a metal mixing bowl with lip for the sink; 10 to 12 feet of black rope; a picture frame for window; silver spray paint; stove knobs; luan or plywood for refrigerator door, stove door and back; cabinet hardware; a drill and drill bits; a jigsaw; tape measure; scissors; and a hot glue gun.

Step 1


Salvage an Entertainment Center

These types of entertainment centers were very popular in the 80s. We found this one at a secondhand charity shop. There’s probably one just like it at your local thrift shop.

Step 2


Add a Back

If the shelving unit has an open back, create a solid back using plywood. Measure the opening then cut the wood to size. Apply a coat of primer to the plywood and allow it to dry before fastening it to the unit.

Step 3


Plan and Prep for Fridge

You may be able to find an entertainment center with one tall cabinet that can be converted into the refrigerator. If not, determine the refrigerator and freezer size and placement. For our cabinet, we had to remove one of the lower cabinets to accommodate the big appliances.

Step 4


Hang Fridge and Freezer Doors

We made our refrigerator and freezer doors from a piece of luan. Each door was cut to size. The two inside corners (non-hinge side) were cut on a curve to give the appliances a vintage 1950s style. The luan was sanded and primed. Hinges and magnetic door closures were added, then the doors were hung in place.

Step 5


Make the Oven Door

We also used luan to create an oven door. After the wood was cut to size, a coat of primer was applied. To make a window in the oven door, painter’s tape was used to mark off a rectangle in the middle of the oven door. The inside of the rectangle was painted silver. When the tape was removed, black paint was used to make a border around the silver rectangle and horizontal lines through the rectangle.

Step 6


Determine Placement of Sink and Stove

Measure the “countertop” to determine what size to make the stovetop and where to place the sink.

Step 7


Make a Hole for the Sink

Use the metal mixing bowl as a guide to mark where the sink will be placed. Use a drill to start the hole just inside the line, then use a jigsaw to cut out the entire hole.

Step 8


Insert the Sink Bowl

Make sure the hole is sized so that the bowl will sit level on its lip.

Step 9


Create Stovetop

To make the stovetop, a piece of plywood was cut to size then spray-painted silver.

Step 10


Paint Then Start Assembling

Sand the entire piece to prep it for paint. Cover the oven window so it won’t be painted over. Let it dry and then apply a second coat. When it is dry, attach the stovetop plywood piece using wood screws.

Step 11


Add Message Center

On the refrigerator side of our kitchen, we applied four light coats (allowing time to dry in between each coat) of chalk paint to create a message board.

Step 12


Create a Kitchen "Window"

A scenic landscape in a pretty blue frame is hung over the sink to make a kitchen window.

Step 13


Make Curtains

A dish towel was cut in half and glued around a spring-loaded curtain rod. The rod was then hung in the top back, over the “window.”

Step 14


Add Burner Coils

Black rope is glued in a coil to mimic the look of an electric stove burner.

Step 15


Add Faucet

In order to be able to fit a pot in the sink, our secondhand faucet was mounted on a wood block.

Step 16


Attach Stove Knobs

Glue the stove knobs in place or screw them on from underneath so that they can spin.

Step 17


Photo By: Susan Teare ©Joanne Palmisano

Susan Teare, Joanne Palmisano


Add Accessories

Add hooks to hang cups, towels and cookware.