BEFORE and AFTER: Makeover of a Wooden Play Kitchen!

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If you had walked past this beat up wooden play kitchen at the thrift store, would you have stopped? Would it have caught your eye? Well, how about if you had know it could look like THIS??

before after wooden play kitchen

When I saw this wooden play kitchen., I stopped in my tracks–eeeerrrcchhh!–total thrift score! This isn’t the first time I have come across a kid’s piece of furniture that turned out totally cute! Remember that $5.00 thrift store kid’s desk  that I picked up last year and made over? I just love kid’s furniture! Here’s a few more shots of what it looked like before. Seriously, it looked like something that someone’s kid’s had DOGGED.

 

BEFORE

 

BEFORE_wooden play kitchen2

 

BEFORE_Dirty Top

The biggest mistake people make at the thrift store is walking past something that’s UGLY because they can’t imagine how beautiful or cute something could really be with just a little bit of paint and creativity! It’s amazing how NEW it looks nice!

 

AFTER

 

3_AFTER_wooden play kitchen

  I’m so excited to share this with you, because it’s been in the works for the past week and a half! Remember I recently posted a short video giving you guys and up close and personal look at the “BEFORE” of this project?

 

 

It was a lot more work than I thought it would be (just see the VIDEOS….sheesh…), but it was so worth it! I found that little wooden play kitchen on President’s Day, when my favorite thrift store was having 50% off. Get this— at first it was marked $14.97…..then someone marked it down to $4.97…..add 50% off to that deal….and well, they were nearly GIVING it away! I had been feeling a little bummed that day because I hadn’t found anything really good, and felt like the 50% off day was such a waste. Then right as I was about to walk out, there it was. (Seriously, don’t you hate when you go to the thrift store and find NOTHING that day?? Please tell me I’m not the only one! It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it sucks). So thankfully, I found it and could see past the ugliness and foresee the beauty underneath!

So How Did I Make Over This Wooden Play Kitchen?

This project was a lot of work–some things were totally new to me, so they took a little bit extra time, but you know what?? I’m a happy girl! And I recorded some short little videos of the process, so check those out, too!

 

1. Wipe, wipe, wipe!!

Better yet, scrub, scrub, scrub! It’s no surprise that thrift store furniture is dirty. Who knows how long it has been sitting in someone’s nasty basement or garage? So the first thing I wanted to do is wipe it down really good. YUCK! Ideally, you should clean it good before you even put it in your van. Um…..I always forget to do this. But yeah, it’s a good idea! Maybe carry a container of baby wipes, or even Lysol wipes! Note to self….

 

BEFORE_Dirty Thrift Store Furniture

 

2. Removed Stickers with Home Right Heat Pro Deluxe Heat Gun

Pretty gross, too, huh? Look at those cracked and worn burners. No wonder people just kept walking by this thing! I used my awesome Home Right Heat Pro Deluxe II , which is sort of like a blow dryer, but heats up to super hot temps so you can remove stickers, caulking, paint and varnish, wallpaper, and tons of other stuff. So in this case, I needed to scrape those stickers off. Worked like a charm! I also sanded out the sticky, glue-y parts with Medium grit sandpaper.

Dirty Burners

 

3. Chose the Perfect Paint Colors

It’s no lie that I’m in love with Annie Sloan Chalk Paints. Seriously, her paints are like the Mercedes Benz of paint when painting furniture! It’s expensive (at the very least, $34.95 for a quart, but that’s the cheapest I can find online at Robyn Story Designs online, and she ships them SUPER FAST–like, same day!). The colors are nice, and the coverage is amazing. I knew immediately that I wanted this little play kitchen to look a bit more vintage and retro. Plus, I wanted some colors that were more “boy friendly.” After all, boys can cook, too, right?! For this project, I used Annie Sloan Antibes Green on the outside, and Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue for the inside. The colors were so complimentary!

 

AFTER_wooden play kitchen_Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue

Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue_ThriftDiving

 

4. Painted Furniture On All Sides

I have a little secret to tell you:

I rarely paint the bottom of furniture!

Do you? Or do you take short cuts like me, and skimp on the paint? I mean, it’s that area that no one EVER SEES. However, I’m actually thinking about selling this cute piece at a flea market this spring (although I may have to reconsider since my boys are pleading with me NOT to, lol). When you’re selling a piece of furniture, seriously, PAINT THE BOTTOM! Imagine how embarrassing it would be for someone to turn over the piece while loading it into their van and they see the ugly ‘old crusty rotten brown side of what they just paid you a handsome penny to purchase! I think I would be mortified! I would die of embarrassment! LOL So, my opinion is, if something is just for you, by all means, CUT CORNERS if you want. But if this is something you’re a) selling, b) giving away as a gift, or c) really need to impress “Joe Schmoe,” then by all means, don’t embarrass yourself–paint every surface! :) I painted the bottom AND back of this wooden play kitchen, and I even added my signature. Now I feel like a legit artist :)

 

Every Artist Signs Their Work

 

Every Artist Must Have their autorifcation od

 

5. Created a Panel Door With Mitered Trim

I have another confession: I have never cut mitered edges before. I know…..I know…..I’m a DIY virgin when it comes to some things! But I discovered this really great tool for cutting mitered edges of molding and trim, from the Home Depot for about $8.00. It’s called the Buck Bros Miter Box and Saw Set. It’s so easy to use! Now I don’t have to be afraid of mitered edges and can do more paneling and trim work on many more projects. Maybe even some DIY picture frames, huh….?

 

miter box Check out this very short 1:38 second video that I did to show you exactly how to use this tool. It really takes the guess-work out of cutting miter edges! And seriously, if you’ve ever wanted to make your own picture frames, or add molding

 

or trim to something, this is the tool to get! And I’m not scared of miter edges anymore! :) YAY!

After I cut the mitered edges, I laid the pieces of trim down on the doors to see where exactly I would place them, and of course, to make sure they were STRAIGHT. WHEW….**wiping my brow** they were!

 

How to add panels to a flat door

6. Vintage Fabric Cut Outs

I had found this old vintage tablecloth nearly a year ago, from the thrift store (of course!), for about $2.00. I loved the green and blue, but I had no idea what I was going to use the fabric for (pillows, maybe??) So when I found this little wooden play kitchen, and knew that I wanted to paint it green, I got that “Aha!” moment and ran off to find the fabric. Funny how it matched my colors to a “T”!

 

Vintage Fabric

I cut out 2 rectangles…..

Vintage Table Cloth

 

Then I fit the fabric and the wooden trim to the doors, to make sure it all fit properly. It did, after some necessarily trimming!

Creating panel doors

 

7. Glued Fabric to Wood

Next, I used Mod Podge , (no, it’s not called MODGE PODGE, lol), which is one of my favorite DIY products EVER (because it’s so versatile!) to adhere pretty much anything to anything. In this case, I used Mod Podge to glue the fabric down to the wooden door, and using my brayer to squeeze out any pockets of air that may have gotten trapped underneath the fabric.

 

Mod Podge Fabric to Wood

 

Here’s a short video showing how to glue fabric to wood using Mod Podge:

8. Gorilla Glued Wood Trim to Door

Have you ever used Gorilla Glue? Good Lawd! That stuff is TOUGH! Here’s a piece of advice: when the pack of the Gorilla Glue instructions say to only use a TTTTHHHIIINNNN strip of it when gluing, because it expands to 3-4 times it’s size–BELIEVE THEM! lol. You see this??? DO NOT USE THIS MUCH.

 

How to Use Gorilla Glue

 

It doesn’t LOOK like much, but………. See all that thick hard dried glue seeping out of the edges 24 hours later? Yeah–NOT GOOD :) I ended up having to cut it out with my Dremel Multi-Max oscillating tool (amazing tool!), but man if I wasn’t PO’ed at myself for that added unnecessary work on my “TO DO” list! LOL

 

How to Use Gorilla Glue_ThriftDiving

 

Watch what happened:

 

And I also used wood filler to fill in the gaps around the edge of the new panels, to close up any ugly seams between the panel and the door. Worked like a charm! Then I painted over the wood filler.

 

 Wood Filler

 

9.  Painted Oven Dials & Attached Cup Hooks

 

I thought the “before” dials were uninspiring. I liked the idea of adding “LO” and “HI” temp gauges, as well as using a chalk pen to draw little lines on them.

BEFORE

BEFORE_Dirty Top

 

Also, I went to Home Depot and bought cup hooks, then drilled holes in the side and screwed them in. I love that!! Oh– and those measuring spoons are from–where else??–the thrift store, for just a few bucks :)

 

Drill holes for cup hooks

Cup Hooks

AFTER

Thrift Diving_cup hooks and painted dials

10. Cut Vinyl With My Silhouette Cameo

What’s hilarious is that I’ve had my Silhouette Cameo for a good….4 months???….before I used it for this project!! It just sat in the box! What the….? I posted about that on my Facebook page, and soooo many of you all said the same thing–that you ordered the Silhouette Cameo and just let it SIT for a few months before, I guess, you had the nerve to pull it out and use it! I think it was fear. It looks intimidating, and not knowing how to use the softwareeeee…..blahhhh, blahhh, blahhhh. Excuses of mine! They had to stop! Because, seriously, this machine was AWESOME! Look how perfect those burners look! I wouldn’t have been able to PAINT or stencil anything as precise and professional as that!

 

Silhouette cutter round circles

 

They really turned out flawless! And the Silhouette Cameo was so easy to use, it’s silly to think how nervous I was to use it.

Cuts Vinyl_Silhouette Cameo

11. Painted White Trim Detailing

So that last step you see there is a white trim boarder I added all along the top of the stove to give it a little bit more “oomph.” Sometimes it’s the small things that really “make” a piece, and this is one of those “small things.” I knew I wanted it with rounded corners (see above), so I cut mini templates with the vinyl that I attached to the corners, so they’d be round. And then I used Frog Tape (my favorite because it produces cleaner lines than that blue tape!) to extend the 1/4″ (give or take) all the way around. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint “Old White.”

 

Create round corners_Silhouette

How to paint straight corners

 

The result was clean lines, rounded corners, and fun little temperature dials!

 

Thrift Diving wooden play kitchen

The “AFTER” of the $2.50 wooden play kitchen!

 

I seriously am loving how this turned out! There’s something I love about making over children’s furniture. (Oh, and pssst–all those pans inside came from–where else??–the thrift store, too, for just a few bucks. :)

 

AFTER_wooden play kitchen_Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue

 

My boys think it’s “cool” and love making “Cheerioes Stew” LOL

IMG_7467

And to think Mommy only paid $2.50 for that…..! Don’t you love a good deal?!

 

IMG_7448

before after wooden play kitchen

 

BEFORE_Wooden Play Kitchen1

PIN IT!

Thrifted Play Stove

 

So what do you think??? If you liked my project, please consider leaving a comment, and SHARING it with your friends! :)

 

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About the Author ()

Hey there, I'm Serena, a 36-year-old working mom of 3 young boys who can't get enough DIY! If you actually made it to the bottom of this post to read this, it means you're really enjoy my blog. That means SO much. If I can inspire just one person through my passion and energy for DIY, then I'm fulfilling my life's purpose. Thanks for joining me, and I hope you'll subscribe so we can keep in touch! ~Serena

Comments (44)

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  1. Iain says:

    You did such a fantastic job with that piece.

    It is amazing what you can do with a little imagination.

    I love the not painting the bottom hack. That is a nice little tip. Every like bit of savings helps.

    Great job.

  2. Iain says:

    For sure. It came out awesome

  3. Kathy says:

    I love this so much!!!!! So much cuter than the Little Tykes one my girls used to have!!

  4. Cathy says:

    Wow! That turned out so freaking cute! You definitely have a knack for this.

    I’d probably give in and let the boys have it if they really like playing with it. What an interesting thing that could be handed down to future generations of kids in your family.

    • Thanks, Cathy! I am finding that KIDS furniture is an area I reaaaaallly love. You can just be so much more versatile, you know? As for my boys…their excitement for toys and such is usually short-lived, UNLESS it’s Legos. That’s the only thing they really enjoy. Oh–and using the vacuum attachments as fighting swords. LOL. So I know they wouldn’t even play with this play kitchen for more than a couple days before they got bored with it! LOL.

  5. TK Hays says:

    Awesome job on the makeover! I made a small kitchen set up for a friends daughter since I couldn’t ever find anything used or at a thrift shop. I wish I could have seen your work before I did that. Thanks for the great ideas. Yeah and Gorilla glue is a beast to work with sometimes. I use the gel super glue from the woodworking store and in very small quantities for small pieces like that.

    • You could always do another one! :) They’re fun to do, aren’t they? Man, Gorilla Glue is NO JOKE! It’s misleading when you use it, because you expect it to cure instantly, like Super Glue, or something. And when you find that it’s not sticking right away, you want to add more. BAD IDEA. LOL…Thanks for commenting!!!

  6. anna says:

    Thanks for the inspiration as usual. I am going to use what I learned from your mitered door instructions when I decorate my sliding closet doors, except I will probably be using wallpaper instead of fabric.

  7. Rita says:

    Ahhmazing job, Serena! Great details at how you transformed the whole piece! May I ask where you purchased the awesome sheet of utensils paper? I’ve been looking all over for a piece of it to frame, but to no avail.
    Feel proud of your creativeness:)

    • Rita, thank you! As for the paper, I got it from a place called Paper Source in Bethesda, MD. I’m not sure if you can buy it online, but if you do a search, I’m sure you can find it! :)

  8. Wow and wow.. I love how you laid out your steps from before to after with visual and audio. You are doing great. .. I’m excited for your future projects…

    • Yeah, I was trying to something different! It makes for more work, but definitely more detailed and more valuable step-by-step instructions. I don’t see a lot of DIY bloggers doing videos of their projects (at least, not the blogs I follow), so I am hoping to stand apart :)

  9. Jennie says:

    I’m pretty sure this is the cutest play kitchen EVER. You really went all out on this! So many little touches that I never would’ve thought of. I bet your little chefs appreciate all the hard work!

    • Thanks for appreciating all the details! While I was working on it, hubby said to me, “Come on…you think people are really going to CARE about that extra stuff you’re doing?” I told him, “YES! And even if they didn’t, *I* care about doing it.” That’s enough for me! :) Glad to see you notice and appreciate them! :)

  10. Debbie says:

    Very cute! Almost makes me wish I had little kids again instead of an 11 and 13 yr old! Thanks for the link for chalk paint. I’ve never used it before but have a couple if projects waiting for me in the garage as soon as the weather warms up. I’m looking forward to trying it out.

  11. That is adorable! I have bought a few things at garage sales and thrift stores, and repainted them. But I have never went into the detail to fix them up like you did. Good job!

  12. Alaya says:

    Wow! This looks great! I found you on Hometalk! I love before and afters.. and your’s it just amazing. Great Job!

  13. Wow what an amazing transformation. I love how you show all the steps with pictures. Any kid would love to have this play kitchen.

  14. Valerie says:

    Looks great! Love the boy colors and stainless steel cups and pans! you’re right something extra fun about making over kid furniture. :)

  15. I love it! You did a fantastic job. I’ve seen this done with old TV cabinets, too, which I think is super cool! I love the colors and prints you chose. It’s so unique!

    I’m currently searching for a dresser to revamp for my kids’ shared room. I want to make it really funky, but I can’t find anything! I hate the thought of buying something new. All I can find in the stores is junk.

    • Oh, I know! I hate buying new! I like things that I can add a touch of personality to, so when people come over, I can show off to them what I’ve done :) Have you tried searching on Craig’s List? Even the “FREE” section, sometimes you can find a dog of a dresser, but with paint–VOILA!

  16. I want to upcycle so badly this looks like so much fun!

  17. Thanks so much for sharing your post at our linky party this week!
    The fabric you used is so cute! I love the redo.
    xo

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  20. Bonnie says:

    Did you sand before you painted? I want to paint an old wooden refrigerator but don’t want to mess it up. This looks beautiful!!!

    • Hi Bonnie! For this one, I did have to sand a bit, trying to get some of the gummy glue off of the old burners on top. Normally, I don’t sand if something have a smooth surface. It can’t hurt to sand, though, even if you’re using chalk paint! You won’t mess it up ;) Thanks for commenting, and I’m glad you like it!

  21. Heidi Jonas says:

    This is so inspiring! I picked up an almost identical stove with a matching sink for $6! Thanks for the step-by-step instructions. Can’t wait to get started.

  22. This is so cute! I would have loved to play with this when I was a little girl and know that your boys will spend many happy hours in play with it. The paint and fabric colors that you chose for the update are so pretty. Love this!! Thanks for sharing with this week’s Throwback Thursday party!!

  23. Donna D. says:

    LOVE IT!!!

  24. gail says:

    beautiful job Serena! Saw this on my fb feeds and had to jump over to check out your before and after of this play kitchen.
    I have all the same tools you used including the Gorilla Glue. Sooo sorry that happened to you. The expansion feature of this glue is why I love it, and why it’s great for repairing chairs etc. However, I use Gorilla Glue wood glue for trim and such.
    What a great deal you got, and now it looks like a million bucks!

    super tip about painting the bottom. Glad you brought that up. Since I sell 99% of my pieces, I always start by painting the bottom. I learned the hard way by helping someone load a piece revealing the ugly truth (the bottom)
    love it!!
    gail

    • Hi Gail! Oh, I”m sure that was sooooo embarrassing!!! I don’t see very many pieces of furniture, but I’m always cognizant of the fact that a piece I may sell, at LEAST the bottom edge has to be painted and FREE OF COBWEBS. lol. I want them to feel like they’re getting a deal, and not buying a piece of crap, you know?

      Thanks, I’ll have to get some of the Gorilla wood glue. I’m guessing that doesn’t expand like the original Gorilla Glue?

  25. Patty says:

    I’m so inspired! I loved the colors that you used. I found the same stove and a sink last year for $5 each plus a 25% off! So it was a steal! Problem is they’ve been sitting in my garage all this time! Well I think it’s time to bring them back to life. I can’t wait to start!

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