Toy Kitchen

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Project by JohnMcClure posted 01-21-2018 04:44 PM 953 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few weeks before Christmas, my wife asked me to make a toy kitchen. There are dozens on Pinterest, ranging from simple to elaborate. This idea is not at all new.
We started by buying a low-ish desk at Habitat for Humanity:

De-constructed it and determined how much to cut down the top:

Built a refrigerator from 1/2” MDF. PLANS? I made a sketch on the back of an envelope and went to work.

Cutting down the top was FASCINATING: First, I learned the desk was built in 1959. There is a stamp on the underside of the top which says “JAN 1959”. There is no MDF anywhere in the construction. The top is glued-up hardwood with walnut edge banding and (walnut?) veneer on top. I was blown away by this cutaway view:

I got a bar sink at Habitat, as well as handles for the fridge and oven, and 4 actual stove-top knobs.

It’s not photogenic, but I devised a way to make the knobs CLICK when turned. I epoxied dowels to the knobs, ran them through holes in the top, and cut a very thin kerf into the ends. The kerf holds a strip of stiff plastic, which strikes against finishing nails on the underside of the top. Every 1/4-rotation of the knob flexes the plastic strip against a nail, until it breaks free, resulting in a satisfying “click”.

I made stove buners like this: Used a giant hole saw to cut out 1/2” plywood disks. Painted them silver. Cut a bunch of thin strips of scrap, rounded the ends, painted black, and superglued them to the disks in a ray pattern.

I also built shelves in between the two existing carcases.

And the oven door is MDF with a cutout for a polycarbonate window, and a spring so it doesn’t fall on your toe.

I made an over rack from dowels, painted metallic chrome so it looks real.

The top and carcases were primered and painted with high-gloss enamel.

It was ready in time for Christmas and made my youngest very very happy.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

5 comments so far

View splinterpicker's profile


74 posts in 1238 days

#1 posted 01-21-2018 05:10 PM

It’s great that you were able to re-purpose an old desk into something that will encourage the imaginations.

View Kelster58's profile


759 posts in 1626 days

#2 posted 01-21-2018 05:16 PM

Really cool! Nice job!

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4119 days

#3 posted 01-21-2018 05:44 PM

Great Job John! Thanks for all of the details!


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View JRAP's profile


136 posts in 3036 days

#4 posted 01-22-2018 01:43 AM

Looks really nice… and the “chef” seems to be happy with it too.

-- -- Jim, Cumberland,RI -- Life is all the other stuff you do when you're not in the shop. -

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3953 days

#5 posted 01-22-2018 03:53 PM

This is a wonderful toy kitchen and so beautifully done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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