I turned this into that!

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Note: I added more pictures but they aren’t loading presently.  I will work on fixing this problem.

This is the project that started it all for me.  I was planning on buying my kids a play kitchen for Christmas.  They had outgrown the small one we had for them.  When looking, though, the height of the kitchens were still too low.  My girls are pretty tall and they still loved playing kitchen when friends were over.  After much research, I decided to try to convert an entertainment center if I could find one at Goodwill or a garage sale.  I completely lucked out at my first Goodwill stop.  I found this entertainment center and saw how this could be a perfect kitchen.

First thing I did was take off all doors and the shelf in the center.  The 3 shelf doors that I was planning to make into a refrigerator were separated.  I wanted it to be solid on the bottom but a freezer door on top.  I used wood glue to keep them together. Then,  I used wood filler so there wouldn’t be too much of a visual seam.

I wiped the whole thing with bleach.  I cleaned it off again with simple green or another cleaner later because it was pretty dirty.  I did sand this a little even though I was using chalk paint and you don’t usually have to sand, but the material was a cheap laminate so I didn’t think any paint would stick to that without sanding.  Then, I wiped it down.

I used Annie Sloan chalk paint because I heard and read that it was the best. I wanted to try it out first, then try others to compare.  I’ll write a blog post about this but, after trying several brands, I didn’t find Annie Sloans worth the $40 a QUART price.  I will say a quart did go far, but I needed a quart and a sample size to do this project.  A hint is that if you prefer an aged look, keep the paint thicker so you see brush strokes.  If you want a smoother, more contemporary look, add water to the paint (in a seperate container) to make it thinner.

I’ve seen suggestions that you can use a regular paint brush, but I didn’t like the way the paint looked with this brush.  However, I couldn’t justify paying $40 for an Annie Sloan.  I ordered this paint brush from Amazon for half the price, and it worked well for me.  Some bristles do fall out when you paint, but if you wash the brush first, it will minimize this.  I just picked out any bristles that came out when painting.

IMG_5711 IMG_5710 I taped off any areas that would be painted a different color.   I painted the entertainment center and outside of cabinet doors with 3 coats of paint, because I figured the girls would bang on it a lot with the pots.  I painted the interior of the fridge with a shiny white paint, the interior of the oven with a shiny black paint and the cooking/sink shelf and exterior oven door with a metallic silver paint.

I decided to wax the entertainment center instead of using a top coat. I chose this because, after doing much research, I was informed that, if the girls did bang up a small part on the entertainment center, I just had to touch up the paint and really the wax to that area.  If a top coat is applied, I would have to sand the whole side where there was a mark and then repaint.  Nobody wants to sand in their house if they don’t have too.  Plus, Annie Sloan wax cures after 60 days and becomes very durable (other waxes usually cure after 30 days).  In the 2 years we have had the kitchen, I haven’t had to retouch paint or rewax.

Some tips for waxing: use a waxing brush like this. I read you can use cheese clothe, which I tried, but did not like.  I felt I had more control over the brush.  I was able to apply a thin coat of wax and push down on the brush at the same time.  You want to apply a downward pressure when you are apply wax, like you are trying to work it into the wood.  Work a small area because right after you apply the wax, you want to wipe it off with the same downward pressure.  Use a clean cotton clothe that has not been washed with fabric softner.  I did two coats on the entertainment center.  Just to clarify, I only waxed the area I used chaulk paint. The other paints came with a top coat included.

I ordered this these drip pans, burner grates, burner knobs, faucet and mixing bowl.  I made a template out of paper and placed it on the shelf before I started cutting.  Just remember for the drip pans and the mixing bowl to measure the inside diameter.  You need the lip of these bowls to be bigger than the hole to hold them on the shelf.  Seems obvious but sometimes we measure incorrectly when it’s 2 o’clock in the morning.

Use a pencil to draw where you need to cut.  Get a drill bit that is a little larger than the blade of the jigsaw.  Drill a hole just on the inside of your drawn hole.  You want the hole from the drill to just touch your drawn line.  Use a jigsaw to cut the hole.

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I attached the fridge doors and the stove door.  I attached the fridge door pull and stove pull after so if I attached the doors on a little crooked, I could at least put the pulls on nicely.  I used decorative hinges for the stove door.  Depending on the age of your kids, you may want to use safety hinges so the door opens slowly.

I also took the wheels off that were on the entertainment center.  I bought wooden feet to keep the height elevated and I think it adds to the kitchen feel.

I purchase pre-painted bead board, cut it and attached it to the back.

I needed to cover the area under the sink, because, naturally, that is where the kids will shove everything when ‘picking up’. I initially was thinking of doing the curtain rod with scrunched up fabric, like a curtain but I didn’t find anything I liked.  I found this fabric, but it was quilted so I had to figure out how to attatch it since the curtain rod thing wouldn’t work. I decided to keep it flat.  I used biased tape to cover the edges, then used fabric Velcro to attatch it to the play kitchen.   Fast forward 2 years, the    fabric Velcro stayed on the fabric but didn’t stick well.  However, I had already waxed the area where I attached the Velcro. I sanded the area a little but didn’t want to take the paint off.  This may be why it didn’t stick as well.

Lastly, I found a basket to put on the bottom so the kids could store all the kitchen supplies.  Speaking of which, we got most of the plates, cups, etc. from the Dollar store. I cleaned a real milk jug, 2 later soda bottle, and food containers for the kitchen.  I think the kids prefer using items that they see in a real kitchen

And there you have it! Please let me know if you have any questions or if you have best practices to share, leave it below.