How to Turn an Old Entertainment Center Into a Play Kitchen
Toy kitchens can be very expensive. Save money by turning a popular (but inexpensive) 1980s piece of furniture into a personal kitchen for your budding little chefs.
Nail together four 6’ 2x6s into a square. Use a framing square to make sure all the corners are 90 degrees. Use the pool as a guide for placing the interior joists; make those out of 2x6s as well. You want it to be tight enough for the lip of the pool to rest on, but not so tight that you won’t be able to easily remove it. Nail in two joists lengthwise, and two smaller perpendicular joists to frame in the pool.
Make the secondary decks; we made ours 4’ x 4’. Use 2x6s for the framing with two interior joists spaced 16 inches apart.
Cut the composite deck boards the exact width of each deck. Attach the deck boards to the joists with deck screws. Use a screw or a nail as a spacer to make sure you have an even gap in between each board. This will allow for drainage.
After the decking is attached, screw on pre-painted trim boards to all four flush sides. Lift the main deck upright and mark the centers of each joist in the inside frame which will hold the pool. Drill holes at the center points just inside the joists. This will provide guides for the edge of your circle as well as a starting hole for your jigsaw blade, and will prevent you from cutting into the joists.
Lay the deck down flat, and draw two intersecting lines connecting the opposite drill holes to make an X. Drill a screw into the center point of the X. Make a compass by attaching a string to a pencil. Tie the string onto the screw, pull tight and draw the circular cut line with the pencil.
Use a jigsaw to cut out the circular pool hole. Start the blade in one of the holes you drilled. Cut nice and slow around the entire circle to get smooth, precise edges.
Place your primary deck on a level spot in your yard. Give the structure a tiered effect by resting the secondary decks on cinder blocks and cover the sides and space underneath with plywood. Get creative with how and where you arrange your secondary decks around the primary one.
If you want to add a vertical element to the decks, paint and attach shipping pallets to the back of the structure. Add a piece of leftover decking on the top of each pallet to serve as a little shelf.
Add a cut-out to a pocket shelf in one pallet. Use a jigsaw to cut a square out of the pallet. Fit trim pieces inside the square, then paint and secure the trim to the inside of the square.
Insert the pool; fill it with water, set up plastic deck chairs and kid-sized lawn furniture, and have fun.