Crafts · Decor · Other Crafts

12 years of dust

I want to share this toy kitchen make-over that I completed in July 2017 but first, a little backstory for context. My kids (18 months and 3 years old at the time) LOVE playing with toy food in pretend kitchens. If we are at a play center, or friend’s home, and there is a play kitchen, I guarantee you my children will want to play with it. Back to my point — my older child had a play kitchen before our youngest child came along: it was plastic and lightweight, and it was the perfect size for my tiny apartment. The only problem was, it was easy to knock over and he thought it was great for climbing. Around the time my youngest was born in 2015, we upgraded to a wooden set from Costco. Long story short: it broke quickly and we replaced it with another one that also didn’t last very long.

I soon grew frustrated by these poor quality toys and decided to purchase a solid wood kitchen set. I quickly learned however that high quality, built-to-last wooden kitchen play sets are very expensive (in the vicinity of $1000). I scanned Craigslist and came across this pink beauty at a more tolerable price. It was 12 years old, covered in dust and faded badly. In other words, it was perfect (read: a perfect project for me)!

Read on for the details of how I transformed this tired, but solid, play kitchen into the refreshed beauty it is today!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have this blog in mind when I undertook this project, so I do not have any step-by-step photos.

The process went something like this:

  1. Remove all screws and un-assemble anything that can come apart.
  2. Wash down everything with Lysol wipes. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
  3. Notice that there is still a lot of dust in hard to reach places: use hose to power wash it. Lay it out in the sun to dry.
  4. When satisfied with how clean it is, get to sanding. Sand all the wooden parts and try to even out any areas that have nicks and dings.
  5. Clean off all the dust from sanding.
  6. Paint with 2 coats of chalk paint (I think it was Folk Art brand). Sand very lightly between coats.
  7. When paint is dry and you are happy with the paint job, apply 2-3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic. This seals the paint and brings out the shine. Allow to dry completely between coats.
  8. Re-assemble all the pieces and attach hardware.
  9. Admire your hard work!

Keep scrolling for more photos, a few tips and tricks and a beautiful faux-flame hack for the burners!

The sink was the easiest of the three pieces to re-finish. There were no complicated gadgets to remove or awkward parts to paint. The sign was a Target dollar spot find – it was originally clear but I added silver paint to the back to make it stand out more (an excuse to add a touch of color to my beige rental-house walls).

The fridge has a thermostat on it that easily removed for cleaning and to help the painting process. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it working again but my kids don’t seem to mind. The knobs on the stove all make clicking noises and the timers really buzz. The salt and pepper shakers come off and make realistic sounds when shaken, which my kids enjoy!

I just happened to have a silver acrylic craft paint that matched the silver on this play set, so I was able to touch up any silver paint that was scratched and worn. It worked great on both the plastic handles, as well as on the silver griddle of the stove.

Despite all the cleaning I just couldn’t get the insides of the burners to look clean.
I needed another option and decided we needed some faux-flame!

To create this look I first mixed red acrylic craft paint with a little water (to thin it out), and I poured enough in to coat the bottom of the burners. It took a while to dry onto the plastic, but once it was dry I added gold flakes and poured in an epoxy resin. The epoxy takes about a full day to harden but the result is just beautiful! The flakes are suspended in the clear shiny resin and the burners look more realistic than before.

My kids love their new play kitchen and this twelve year old set gets to see a few more years of play. It is solid and I am confident it will hold up until my kids out grow it.

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