After seeing the cost of a play kitchen I decided for Christmas to make my son a kitchen out of a cardboard box instead.
My first idea was to combine (2) of the super big diaper boxes (200+ count). One would be for the sink and one for the oven. I was lucky enough to come across a giant box from my work which was big enough for both. It was wider than anticipated but I made it work as an area for food and dishes.
Phase 1: Design/draw the kitchen.
I made my sketch on the computer (using GIMP). I wanted a more realistic idea of what it would look like and GIMP has a marble and wood grain color fill (I bought some contact paper from Walmart, one with a wood look and one with a marble look). Here is my outline.
Phase 2: Color/Paint or add contact paper to the entire cardboard box.
I placed contact paper over the entire box and lid. This was very time consuming. The contact paper needs to be laid out in pieces and it’s kind of hard to line them up exactly but I would recommend trying to overlap since they pieces blend into each other pretty well. Make sure to take your time lying out the piece to get all the bubbles out. You are able to lift it up and reapply if you make a mistake. My box is so huge I had to go out and buy an extra roll.
Alternate idea if you are short on time I would definitely recommend just painting it with any leftover paint you may have. Menards for instance will stir up your leftover paint so it will be easy to reuse. You can usually find used paint for free on freecycle. Another cool idea is to use textured spray paint. There are some that are stone textured, etc. I think this would be easy and look quite nice.
Phase 3: Cut doors, sink hole, faucet holes, and knob holes if necessary.
Under sink cupboard doors:
I cut the doors like the above picture leaving one side of the door intact with the cardboard. I added a second piece of carboard (also covered in contact paper) on top of it as a reinforcement. An alternative idea is just cut one door for under the sink. Make the reinforcement piece of carboard about 2″ longer on one side. When you attach the extra carboard on top of your cut out it will stick out longer where the handle should be. Add some adhesive velcro to the back of the cardboard door and to the base. This will allow the door to open and close (stay closed).
I bought real handles at the hardware store because they were only $1. If you want to budget on knobs and handles post a wanted AD on freecycle or use string/rope by tying a knot in the back to keep it in. Or no handles works just fine too!
I measured the size of the two brownie pans I bought (from the dollar store) on the bottom side not including the lip that hangs over. I drew a square with the same dimensions on the lid of the box – and left a space (the lip of the brown pan size x2) between the 2 squares. I did have to adjust it a little after trying to place the pan in and realizing it was a little too small.
Instead of cutting into the box I made the reinforcement first for the oven. I measured the length of the top to the bottom of the box (minus a few inches length wise). Then I measured how wide on the box I would like my oven to be. When I had the dimensions I cut a seperate piece of cardboard with those exact measurements. With my rectangle piece of carboard I cover it with silver/aluminum contact paper. This contact paper is even more difficult then the other kind because if it is bent it show a crease. Do not worry about the minor creases like I did, it doesn’t matter in the long run!