Were any of you reading this blog waaaaaay back when I wrote about O’s play kitchen? No? It’s one of my favorite projects of all time. Go check it out, I’ll wait……
Are you back? Great! Well, today, I’m going to belatedly share a little addition to the play kitchen that I made for O for Christmas this year. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write about it! If you remember from the other post, that play kitchen started out life as a pretty boring “birch” nightstand from IKEA. Well, ever since then (ok, so it’s been an entire year) I had another of the same nightstand taking up room in my “office” (aka the room where junk goes to die).
I briefly considered turning it into something else besides a kitchen addition but about that time O realized he was strong enough to actually open the real fridge by himself and so I decided a fridge and microwave it was! Not to mention, he has sooo much play food that the shelves under the sink weren’t enough to contain it all (note: play food edited for photos, you are seeing about 20% of it). So more storage would be a big help. And anyway, we don’t want the ice cream to melt, right?!
The first step was a light sanding to rough up the “birch” veneer. If you’ve ever painted a veneer piece from IKEA (or anywhere else) you know, it can be a pain. It’s important to lightly sand so it’s not too smooth and the paint won’t stick. But you don’t want to sand too much or the veneer might peel. So just go slowly. I also removed the drawer completely as I was not planning on it using it.
The next step after sanding, especially if you’re working with veneer, is a few coats of primer. You want a nice primer that will block any stains or bleeding because sometimes the “birch” can come through. I did this all with a brush on the last part of the play kitchen and it took FOREVER. It may be a small piece of furniture but it has a lot of surfaces, especially when you add doors etc. So I decided this time it would be sooo much easier to use spray primer and spray paint.
And of course, this is when the project came to a screeching halt for two reasons. #1: we live in a high rise. There isn’t really an outdoor area where I could spray paint if I wanted to. #2: we live in Chicago. What? You didn’t know spray paint is banned in Chicago? Yep. That’s right, I can’t buy it here even if I want to. It’s part of a controversial effort to cut down on grafitti. I have no idea if it’s effective but it’s pretty annoying to people like me.
So instead, we hauled the whole project up to my parents over Thanksgiving and (legally) took care of the painting step in their well ventilated garage.
The bonus to this is that I could delegate a few things to my dad and his fully stocked workshop. While Aa did the priming and painting (I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner), my dad cut a door for the fridge (bottom) and a door for the microwave (top) out of scrap mdf he had in the basement. He used a router to cut the opening in the microwave door.
After everything was painted white, we brought it home and it was time for the fun part (aka the details)!
I wandered the craft store for a while trying to decide what to use for microwave buttons and eventually settled on this package of craft wood rectangles and a package of scrapbooking stickers (similar).
I laid the rectangles out on the microwave door, figured out what configuration I wanted them in, and then painted them a light blue. It’s the same color as the top of the sink/stove part of the play kitchen.
Then I used some tweezers to carefully apply the stickers and added a coat of polyeurethane to the top to seal them.
When they were all done, I measured and carefully attached the buttons with wood glue to the microwave door. Then I gave all the doors and the body of the nightstand a coat of poly. Obviously we use low/no voc when we do projects like this inside our condo.
When that was dry and sealed it was assembly time!
First I measured and marked and drilled where I wanted to add the handles to the doors.
They attached easily with screws up through the back.
Then we measured and marked for the hinges. Hanging the doors was MUCH easier as a two person job!
Then we held the doors up and marked and drilled for the hinges on the front edge of the nightstand body.
I should add, I did put a piece of clear plexiglass in the opening of the door of the oven, but O broke it out within a week and it broke with sharp jagged edges. So for the microwave and oven, I have left those openings open. It’s funny because even though they are open, O always opens the doors to put things inside!
Would you like to see inside? Oh wait, did I mention there’s a surprise??
There are lights inside that turn on when you open the door just like real appliances!!
I found these awesome automatic sensor LED cabinet lights on Amazon that stick to the top surface and have a sensor that turns on and off when the door opens and closes!
If I can be honest, I might have been even more excited about that than O! And did you notice? Inside the microwave, I glued a lazy susan so the food spins just like in a grown-up microwave!!
Anyway, now O’s play kitchen is complete!
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