Sunday, April 28, 2013

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle: Carboard Play Kitchen Set for kids


Back in December, I made a kitchen set for Lucas as part of his presents from Santa. 4 months later, it is still alive and Lucas has been enjoying it! It keeps him busy in the kitchen when we are preparing a meal, especially dinner, and he likes to pretend making coffee, and muffins, being a chef like Caillou and fixing it to name a few of his kitchen scenarios.

My goal for this project was not to spend a lot of money because I cannot justify spending over at least $70 for this kind of toys/furniture when you can make it yourself using what you have around the house and a lot of imagination. The total cost was around $35.

A Special Delivery from Santa: A Kitchen Set

Overall Dimensions: 40"L x 18.25"W x 29"H

Time: Several months to collect materials and several days to put the different parts of the kitchen together.

Material from Recycling: Boxes of different sizes (shipping boxes like the one you get from Amazon, diapers, food, furniture), leads of different sizes (nut containers, gallon of milk and vitamins), a medium size round container, piece of fabric, number stickers, velcro (from the tag of a free fabric sample ), shoe lases, hot glue gun, screws with nuts, and laminate

Purchased Material and Accessories: White and black contact papers, faucet, hot pads, hooks, apron (from Michaels), empty containers of spices and dishes set (Learning Resources Pretend & Play Kitchen Set by Learning Resources). About the faucet, we had someone who gave us one but had to get rid of it because it was smelling and got a new one. Habitat for Humanities and Dollar Tree are 2 placed to find extra things for few dollars.

I will go over each part of the kitchen set to give you some details about the material, dimensions and description. As you make your own kitchen set be aware of the pieces (small or big, sharp or round) that you will be using. It is made for toddlers so keep in mind that it needs to be safe and sturdy at all time and keep an eye on your little ones as they play with their kitchen set.


  • The Microwave

Material: Small box, white and black contact papers, shoe lase, hot glue gun, velcro, and a laminated template  for the key pad

Dimensions: 10.75"L x 5"W x 7"H


- Cut 3/4 of the front of the box (top, side and bottom),
- Cover the front and back with vinyl paper,
- Cut 1 rectangle with the white vinyl paper for the "window",
- Make 2 holes on the side of the door (around 1" away from the edge) and place the shoe lase to make a "handle".

Key pad
- Laminate a key pad template which must be a little wider than the 1/4 of the box, hot glue it on the small area of the right side of the box.
- Place the sticky part of 2 pieces of vecro on the key pad on the top and bottom (soft side on the door).

  • The Stove 

Left Side View of the Kitchen Set

Front View of the Stove and Oven
Material: 1 Shipping delivery box (from Amazon), 1 small rectangular box, white and black contact papers, 1 shoe lase, velcro, and Stickers with numbers (1-5), 5 milk/vitamins lead, 5 screws with nuts, hot glue gun, and 4 big containers' leads (from nuts).

Dimensions: 19"L x 14.5"W x 12.5"H



- Cover the top and sides of the box.
- Cut a white square using the vinyl paper to fit 3/a of the top with 1" margin for the edge.
- Hot glue the big leads on the white square with the same distance apart.
- Cut 4 circle using the white vinyl and stick them on the top of the containers to represent the "burners". The circles were 1/4" smaller than the containers to see a red rim.

View of the Oven and Inside

The knobs*
- Make 5 holes around 2" apart as shown on the picture (4 + 1).
- Secure them with screws with nuts.
- Place a sticker with numbers (1 to 5).

Inside of the Oven
- Cut the front of the box from the side to have a door opening from the top. You could cut the door directly from the edge of the box instead of leaving a margin like I did. I did it this way thinking that the frame will facilitate the closing of the door without adding anything, by pushing the top edge of the door a bit inside the oven. It was not that efficient in the long run.
=> Make the following changes to close the door:  *Do this before you do the knobs
- Hot glue a rectangular piece of cardboard that you can fit all the way behind the knobs and wider by 1.5".
- Cover the front piece where the knobs are as a whole with vinyl paper.
- In the middle of this extra piece of cardboard stick a large piece of velcro and do the same on the door and make sure it is aligned.
- Hot glue a small rectangular box to fit inside the oven to place rack or muffin pan on it.

=> The oven is wide enough that it can fit a muffin holder.

Door of the Oven
- Cover the entire front of the door with one color (black here)
- Cut and lay a rectangular piece of vinyl in the middle of the door (white in this case) to represent the "glass" of the oven.
- With a punch holder make 2 holes about 1" from the top and 2" from the sides.
- Pass a shoe lase from 1 hole to the other and till it to represent the "door handle".

  • Sink Area: 
Material: 2 diaper boxes (from Target), 1 round and deep Tupperware, 1 small faucet, 1 shoe lase, vinyl contact paper (black and white) and 1 piece of fabric.

Dimensions: 18"L x 14.5"W x 14.25"H


Sink block

- Cut the small flaps of each side of both boxes.
- Push the longest ones inside their own boxes and hot glue them.
- Cover the inside with vinyl paper (white) to reinforce long flaps, protect the inside, and facilitate the pulling and pushing of extra small boxes for storage.

Sink Top

Ready to Wash Dishes
=> (1) The faucet and Tupperware are placed on the right side to leave room for the left side for a strainer or just some extra room. (2) Make sure to try how everything fits because you start cutting.

- Make the necessary hole to place and secure your faucet close to the edge of the box.
- Cut a hole a bit smaller than the circumference of the bowl that you have for your "sink". It should a tilled fit. You might have to make some extra cut until it fells right. Try to leave at least 1" between you faucet and "sink".

Curtain (Use a piece of fabric that you already have or combine few pieces together)

- Make 1 hole on each side of the top box with a punch holder about 1" from the edge
- Take the dimensions of the front of the 2 boxes.
- Make a hem of 1/2" around and leave an inside opening to pass a shoe lase on the top.
- Pass the shoe lase in the right side of the box and make a strong knot, then inside the top opening of the curtain, and go around the top left side and inside the hole on the left side and till it very strongly.

  • The Back Base with Clock
Left Side
Right Side

Material: 1 rectangular box (from Target), Vinyl contact paper, hot glue gun, and screws with nuts. A clock template that you can find online with a brass fastener.

Dimensions: 40"L x 3.75"W x 29"H


- Cover the entire box with contact paper with the exception of the sides.
- Place each piece that you made on the front of the base, hot glue then screw and secure it with some extra hot glue on the top of the screw. Place the screw in a hidden spot inside the boxes.
- Laminate the clock and place it where you like and secure it with the brass fastener.
=> When all the "pieces of furniture and appliances" are secured, close the sides by hot gluing the flaps and cover with contact paper.

The clock is next to the microwave.

  • The Accessories

Personalized Apron

Material: 1 Apron for kids, tracing paper, and fabric paint.


- Wash the apron.
- Using your computer, chose the font name and size that you like for your apron, type the child's name and print.
- Trace the name over tracing paper on both sides with a pencil.
- Put the tracing paper on the apron where you would like to see the name and trace over the letters very hard using a pencil.
- Write over the letters with fabric paint.
- Let it try on a flat surface for a day.


Material: 2 magnetic hooks, a pair of scissors and hot glue gun


- Find a place that you would like to hook.
- Cut them if needed to fit the area that they will be.
- Hot glue the back, place and push to the decided location.

  • What does the kitchen set looks like today?

After 4 Months
More Props

The kitchen set is still standing in our kitchen and has been used pretty much everyday. The only part that did not survive well is the oven door. It does not closed anymore. So, please follow the tips that I have provided above to help you. Underneath the sink area, I added a several boxes for storage. On the top left side box you have: food (in the box), egg carton with Easter plastic eggs inside, and a container of long spaghetti (1/4" white Felt). On the bottom (from left to right) you have dishes and spatulas. For the item in the boxes, glue a picture of what it is inside to help your child to facilitate the location of the toys and to clean up as well (I have done done it yet as you can see).

Happy Crafting!

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