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Modern DIY Play Kitchen (And Our Favorite Accessories)

This adorable, modern DIY play kitchen is easy to customize and create! Kids will have hours of creative free play with these fun wooden toys, custom shelves, and lots of buttons to push and manipulate.

How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen
How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen

For Maggie’s first birthday, we gave her this little kitchen. She’s forever opening doors, pouring things to and from bowls and cups, and sorting out bits and pieces so we figured she would love it.

And it’s proven to be an awesome toy for not only her, but for Hank also. Read on for every detail you’ll need to customize a modern DIY play kitchen like this one!

Psst — also be sure to sign up for my VIP group below, where I’ll send more of my very best kid ideas straight to ya!

How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen

What to Look For in a DIY Play Kitchen

When we were talking about a play kitchen I wanted to make sure that it was two things — functional and beautiful.

We wanted to make sure it would look great no matter where in the house it ended up, but also that it wasn’t so modern and “designed” that the kids wouldn’t be interested in playing with it.

So this is how it all ended up, and the whole family is really happy with it!

How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen

Fun DIY Kids’ Toys

I love making toys for the kids!

Creating DIY kids’ toys out of wood is such a fun way to make family heirlooms that get played with over and over, and which you can pass down generations.

We also make lots of toys out of cardboard, which is a cost-free way to be creative! It’s truly incredible what you can do with an empty cereal box.

Here are a few of my favorite projects:

Customizing an Existing Play Kitchen

For about a split second, I considered building a kitchen for her from scratch, but I just couldn’t muster up the guts for that.

So we decided to get one with a really great base and customize it from there. We got this one from Teamson Kids and it was a perfect starting point.

I really liked a few things about the bones of this play kitchen.

First, I liked that it came with fixtures that were already gold, so I wouldn’t have to use spray paint on it (I could just imagine the spray paint chipping off and making its way into little mouths).

I also liked that it had a little counter space, lots of doors to open, knobs to turn, and an actual functioning ice dispenser, which has turned out to be her favorite thing about the whole kitchen.

What it was missing for me were shelves, a backsplash, and a little emphasis on the aesthetics and design. But that was all easy enough to achieve.

Read on for our step-by-step hack of this little play kitchen, and our favorite kitchen accessories (which our kids also love).

How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen

Supplies You’ll Need

Materials

How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen

How to Customize a Modern DIY Play Kitchen

  1. Start by cutting (or having your local hardware store cut) your mdf board to your desired width and height for a backsplash. Our kitchen came with a refrigerator that was a separate piece but we wanted it to look like one large unit, so we cut the mdf to the width of the oven portion of the kitchen and the height of the fridge portion.
  2. Cut wood for your shelves. Cut two long boards the length you desire. Cut four isosceles triangles a little less than the depth of your shelf. Glue and screw the triangles to the bottom of your shelves.
  3. Paint the shelves if desired.
  4. Cover your mdf with wallpaper (you could also paint, but be aware that mdf can tend to soak up paint and bow a bit). We covered our mdf with spray adhesive and just applied the wallpaper right to that, rather than actually applying with wallpaper glue. Saves lots of time and headache! Fold the excess paper around the back of the mdf to create clean edges. (We used some leftover wallpaper from our actual kitchen wall!)
  5. Screw the mdf into the back of the kitchen unit, keeping it flush with the floor.
  6. Screw the shelves into the mdf board from the back at your desired height. Use clamps to help keep them in place as you screw them in if necessary.
  7. Add any other details you liked! I didn’t love the red temperature marks on the oven knobs so I used a black paint pen to paint over them. I also didn’t like the display over the ice maker, so we cut a sheet of magnetic paper to size and glued it in place there instead. Now Maggie uses it for magnets.
How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen
How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen
How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen
How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen
How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen
How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen
How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen

The Best Play Kitchen Accessories

That’s all we did! It was really a quick, simple way to hack this little kitchen into something special.

And when this modern DIY play kitchen really comes to life is when you fill it with a few high quality play kitchen accessories. We opted for wooden and felt accessories, as I love the textures and I like to avoid plastics where possible.

See the list below of the pieces we used. The kids love manipulating all of the pieces, making pretend meals, playing restaurant, and more.

Hape Garden Salad Wood Play Kitchen Play Set
Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit Set
Melissa & Doug Fridge Play Food
Hape Play Toaster (with Knife, Butter, & Honey) or this one in white
Melissa & Doug Scoop and Stack Ice Cream Set
Hape Mixer with Flour & Sugar
Melissa & Doug Felt Food Sandwich Set

And finally, here are a few photos of the kitchen in action.

Little girl playing in a toy kitchen
Little girl playing in a toy kitchen
How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen
How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen
How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen
How to hack and customize a diy kids' play kitchen

Modern DIY Play Kitchen

Yield: DIY Play Kitchen
Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Intermediate
Estimated Cost: $200

This adorable, modern DIY play kitchen is easy to customize and create! Kids will have hours of creative free play with these fun wooden toys, custom shelves, and lots of buttons to push and manipulate.

Materials

  • Paint brushes
  • Mdf board
  • Hobby wood for shelves
  • Screws
  • Wood glue
  • Paint
  • Wallpaper
  • Spray adhesive
  • Black paint pen
  • Optional: magnetic paper

Tools

  • Saw
  • Scissors
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Paintbrushes
  • Clamps

Instructions

  1. Start by cutting (or having your local hardware store cut) your mdf board to your desired width and height for a backsplash. Our kitchen came with a refrigerator that was a separate piece but we wanted it to look like one large unit, so we cut the mdf to the width of the oven portion of the kitchen and the height of the fridge portion.
  2. Cut wood for your shelves. Cut two long boards the length you desire. Cut four isosceles triangles a little less than the depth of your shelf. Glue and screw the triangles to the bottom of your shelves.
  3. Paint the shelves if desired.
  4. Cover your mdf with wallpaper (you could also paint, but be aware that mdf can tend to soak up paint and bow a bit). We covered our mdf with spray adhesive and just applied the wallpaper right to that, rather than actually applying with wallpaper glue. Saves lots of time and headache! Fold the excess paper around the back of the mdf to create clean edges. (We used some leftover wallpaper from our actual kitchen wall!)
  5. Screw the mdf into the back of the kitchen unit, keeping it flush with the floor.
  6. Screw the shelves into the mdf board from the back at your desired height. Use clamps to help keep them in place as you screw them in if necessary.
  7. Add any other details you liked! I didn't love the red temperature marks on the oven knobs so I used a black paint pen to paint over them. I also didn't like the display over the ice maker, so we cut a sheet of magnetic paper to size and glued it in place there instead. Now Maggie uses it for magnets.

Notes

For about a split second, I considered building a kitchen for her from scratch, but I just couldn't muster up the guts for that.

So we decided to get one with a really great base and customize it from there. We got this one from Teamson Kids and it was a perfect starting point.

I really liked a few things about the bones of this play kitchen.

First, I liked that it came with fixtures that were already gold, so I wouldn't have to use spray paint on it (I could just imagine the spray paint chipping off and making its way into little mouths).

I also liked that it had a little counter space, lots of doors to open, knobs to turn, and an actual functioning ice dispenser, which has turned out to be her favorite thing about the whole kitchen.

What it was missing for me were shelves, a backsplash, and a little emphasis on the aesthetics and design. But that was all easy enough to achieve.

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