BEFORE and AFTER: Makeover of a Wooden Play Kitchen!

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If you had walked past this beat up wooden play kitchen at the thrift store, would you have stopped? Would it have caught your eye? Well, how about if you had known it could look like THIS??

Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Before and After - From the thrift store! - Thrift Diving

When I saw this wooden play kitchen., I stopped in my tracks–eeeerrrcchhh!–total thrift score! This isn’t the first time I have come across a kid’s piece of furniture that turned out totally cute! Remember that $5.00 thrift store kid’s desk that I made over? I just love kid’s furniture! Here are a few more shots of what it looked like before. Seriously, it looked like something that someone’s kid’s had DOGGED.




Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - BEFORE - From the thrift store! - Thrift Diving


BEFORE_Dirty Top

The biggest mistake people make at the thrift store is walking past something that’s UGLY because they can’t imagine how beautiful or cute something could really be with just a little bit of paint and creativity (such as this ugly lamp I found at the thrift store and made it pretty).

It’s amazing how new this wooden play kitchen looks now!




Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - AFTER! - From the thrift store! - Thrift Diving


I’m so excited to share this with you because it took me about a week and a half. It was a lot more work than I thought it would be, but it was so worth it! I found that little wooden play kitchen on President’s Day, when my favorite thrift store was having 50% off.

Get this— at first it was marked $14.97…..then someone marked it down to $4.97…..add 50% off to that deal….and well, they were nearly giving it away! I had been feeling a little bummed that day because I hadn’t found anything really good, and felt like the 50% off day was such a waste. Then right as I was about to walk out, there it was. (Seriously, don’t you hate when you go to the thrift store and can’t find anything good? It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it sucks). So thankfully, I found it and could see past the ugliness and foresee the beauty underneath!

So How Did I Make Over This Wooden Play Kitchen?

This project was a lot of work–some things were totally new to me, so they took a little bit extra time, but you know what?? I’m a happy girl! And I recorded some short little videos of the process, so check those out, too!

1. Clean Off the Old Gunk

Better yet, scrub, scrub, scrub! It’s no surprise that thrift store furniture is dirty. Who knows how long it has been sitting in someone’s nasty basement or garage? So the first thing I wanted to do is wipe it down really good. Ideally, you should clean it good well you even put it in your van. Um…..I always forget to do this. But yeah, it’s a good idea! Maybe carry a container of baby wipes, or even Lysol wipes! Note to self….


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Wiping down the wooden play kitchen before painting. - Thrift Diving


2. Removed Stickers with Home Right Heat Pro Deluxe Heat Gun

Look at those cracked and worn burners. No wonder people just kept walking by this thing! I used my awesome Home Right Heat Pro Deluxe II , which is sort of like a blow dryer, but heats up to super hot temps so you can remove stickers, caulking, paint and varnish, wallpaper, and tons of other stuff. So in this case, I needed to scrape those stickers off. Worked like a charm! I also sanded out the sticky parts with medium grit sandpaper.


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Make new burners for kids wooden play stove. - Thrift Diving

3. Chose the Perfect Paint Colors

I knew immediately that I wanted this little play kitchen to look a bit more vintage and retro. Plus, I wanted some colors that were more “boy friendly.” After all, boys can cook, too, right?! For this project, I used Annie Sloan Antibes Green on the outside, and Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue for the inside. The colors were so complimentary!

Related: What’s the Best Paint for Furniture?


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Annie Sloan Antibes Green and Napoleonic Blue. - Thrift Diving


Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue_ThriftDiving

4. Painted Furniture On All Sides

I have a little secret to tell you:

I rarely paint the bottom of furniture!

Do you? Or do you take shortcuts like me and skimp on the paint?

When you’re selling a piece of furniture, you should paint the bottom. Imagine how embarrassing it would be for someone to turn over the piece while loading it into their van and they see the ugly ‘old crusty rotten brown side of what they just paid you a handsome penny to purchase! I think I would be mortified! If something is just for you, by all means, cut corners if you want. But if this is something you’re a) selling, b) giving away as a gift, or c) really need to impress “Joe Schmoe,” then, by all means, don’t embarrass yourself–paint every surface.

I painted the bottom AND back of this wooden play kitchen, and I even added my signature. Now I feel like a legit artist :).


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Paint and sign the back of painted furniture. - Thrift Diving



5. Created a Panel Door With Mitered Trim

If you don’t have power tools, don’t worry. There’s a really cool accessory you can buy called a miter box. It’s so easy to use! Now you can do projects where you can cut miters at 45-degree angles really easily.


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - use a miter box to cut mitered pieces of wood. - Thrift Diving Check out this video on my YouTube channel that shows you how to use a miter box. It really takes the guess-work out of cutting miter edges. And if you ever wanted to make your own picture frames, these miter boxes are perfect when you don’t have power tools.


After I cut the mitered edges, I laid the pieces of trim down on the doors to see where exactly I would place them, and of course, to make sure they were straight.


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Add trim to flat panel doors for a decorative look. - Thrift Diving

6. Vintage Fabric Cut Outs

I had found this old vintage tablecloth nearly a year ago, from the thrift store (of course!), for about $2.00. I loved the green and blue, but I had no idea what I was going to use the fabric for (pillows, maybe??) So when I found this little wooden play kitchen and knew that I wanted to paint it green, I got that “Aha!” moment and ran off to find the fabric. Funny how it matched my colors perfectly!


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Vintage fabric from the thrift store. - Thrift Diving


I cut out 2 rectangles…..


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Glue vintage fabric to wood. - Thrift Diving


Then I fit the fabric and the wood trim to the doors, to make sure it all fit properly. It did, after some necessarily trimming!


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Glue vintage fabric to wood and add trim. - Thrift Diving


7. Glued Fabric to Wood

Next, I used Mod Podge which is one of my favorite DIY products (because it’s so versatile!) to adhere pretty much anything to anything. In this case, I used Mod Podge to glue the fabric down to the wooden door, using my brayer to squeeze out any pockets of air that may have gotten trapped underneath the fabric.


Mod Podge Fabric to Wood


Here’s a video showing how to glue fabric to wood using Mod Podge:



8. Glued Wood Trim to Door

Have you ever used Gorilla Glue? Good lawd! That stuff is tough! Here’s a piece of advice: when the pack of the Gorilla Glue instructions say to only use a thin strip of it when gluing because it expands to 3-4 times its size–follow the instructions! 🙂

I used way too much!


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Use Gorilla Glue sparingly. - Thrift Diving


It doesn’t look like much, but if you over-glue with Gorilla Glue, it will result in the glue expanding out of the edges of your projects. That’s what happened with this project.

I ended up having to cut it out with my Dremel Multi-Max oscillating tool (amazing tool!), but man if I wasn’t PO’ed at myself for that added unnecessary work on this project!


How to Use Gorilla Glue - Too much glue will expand and cause projects to fail - ThriftDiving


Looking back on this project, I should have used just plain ‘ole Elmer’s wood glue and just clamped it down.

And I also used wood filler to fill in the gaps around the edge of the new panels, to close up any ugly seams between the panel and the door. Worked like a charm! Then I painted over the wood filler.


9.  Painted Oven Dials & Attached Cup Hooks

I thought the “before” dials were uninspiring. I liked the idea of adding “LO” and “HI” temp gauges, as well as using a chalk pen to draw little lines on them.


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Peeling burners on kids wooden stove. - Thrift Diving


Also, I went to the home improvement store and bought cup hooks, then drilled holes in the side and screwed them in. I love that!! Oh– and those measuring spoons are from–where else??–the thrift store, for just a few bucks 🙂

Just drill a little pilot hole and then screw them in.


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Add cup hooks to the side. - Thrift Diving


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Make new burners for kids stove and add cup hooks for measuring spoons. - Thrift Diving

10. Cut Vinyl With My Silhouette Cameo

The Silhouette Cameo is a personal cutting machine that can cut vinyl, stencils, and more. Seriously, this machine is awesome. (I also own a Cricut, which you can see the unboxing on my YouTube channel).

Look how perfect those burners look! I wouldn’t have been able to paint or stencil anything as precise and professional as that!


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Make new burners for kids stove with Silhouette Machine. - Thrift Diving


The Silhouette Cameo was so easy to use, it’s silly to think how nervous I was to use it.


Cuts Vinyl_Silhouette Cameo

11. Painted White Trim Detailing

So that last step you see there is a white trim border I added all along the top of the stove to give it a little bit more “oomph.” Sometimes it’s the small things that really “make” a piece, and this is one of those “small things.” I knew I wanted it with rounded corners (see above), so I cut mini templates with the vinyl that I attached to the corners, so they’d be round. And then I used Frog Tape (my favorite because it produces cleaner lines than that blue tape!) to extend the 1/4″ (give or take) all the way around. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint “Old White.”


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Make new burners for kids wooden play stove and add white trim. - Thrift Diving


The result was clean lines, rounded corners, and fun little temperature dials!


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Make new burners for kids wooden play stove and add white trim to the stove top. - Thrift Diving

The “AFTER” of the $2.50 wooden play kitchen!

I love how it turned out! There’s something I love about making over children’s furniture. (Oh, and pssst–all those pans inside came from–where else??–the thrift store, too, for just a few bucks. 🙂


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - painted kids stove - AFTER - Thrift Diving


My boys think it’s “cool” and love making “Cheerios Stew” LOL


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Kids playing with wooden stove. - Thrift Diving


And to think Mommy only paid $2.50 for that…..! Don’t you love a good deal?!


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Before and After - From the thrift store! - Thrift Diving


Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Cute play stove makeover for kids with new stove burners and paint. - Thrift Diving


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Follow Thrift Diving on Pinterest! - Wooden Kids Play Stove Makeover

Wooden Play Kitchen Makeover - Thrifted play stove makeover from the thrift store for only $2.50!. - Thrift Diving


Other Kids Furniture Makeover Projects You’ll Love

So what do you think of this fun kid’s wooden play stove makeover?


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  1. Sharon G. says:

    This is too cute! You are AMAZING!! Everything you TOUCH! Great job.
    My question for you is what kind of paint did you use for the stencil project you did in your bathroom?
    I found a stencil I want to use and didn’t know if I have to use chalk paint. Please advise

  2. Cynthia Ann Jackson says:

    Love it. You are very clever. I believe in painting the back and bottom too.

    Wish I had your area’s thrift stores because you find awesome things.

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