Little kids love to help in their own way, and pretend to do what mum and dad are doing. Banging pots and pans around in the kitchen is no exception but that can be annoying and dangerous. Encourage their interest in all things culinary by building them their very own kitchenette.
This is the cheapest kitchen you’ll ever build. It has everything – including the kitchen sink – for about $100, assuming you have leftover paint. You need two sheets of MDF for the main structure, so once you buy the boards you should have enough money left over for accessories. It’s a great investment.
1. Every budding chef needs their own kitchen in which to play make-believe. This unit is fully equipped and will only cost about $100 to make.
2. When the dinner party is over, there’s a sink for washing up with real taps – which are, however, suffering from a water shortage – and a drying rack for all the dishes.
3. With a busy kitchen, over- and under-bench storage is important, so there are shelves for food, condiments and plastic cutlery as well as hooks for important utensils.
4. There’s plenty of room to whip up a multi-course extravaganza with this oven,
which features four hotplates.
Make your own food
Eggs on toast? Yum. You could use a slice of real bread but copy a picture of a fried egg, cut it out of MDF and paint it, ready for serving up this favourite snack.
Grab a T-bone from the freezer, trace the shape onto 12mm MDF, cut it out and paint it red with white bone and veining (put the original back in the freezer!).
Make other food using bits and pieces from the shed. Slice a cork block into wheat biscuits or hash browns, glue together wood chips for Anzac biscuits and make sausages out of short dowels.
GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES
A Backing board 1200 x 1200 x 18mm MDF
B End panels (2) 1200 x 400 x 18mm MDF
C Splashback 1164 x 100 x 18mm MDF
D Benchtop 1164 x 382 x 18mm MDF
E Oven sides (2) 482 x 375 x 18mm MDF
F Oven bottom 400 x 375 x 18mm MDF
G Bottom shelves (2) 728 x 375 x 18mm MDF
H Kickboard 1164 x 100 x 18mm MDF
I Apron 1164 x 80 x 18mm MDF
J Top shelf 1164 x 150 x 18mm MDF
K Short shelf 582 x 100 x 18mm MDF
L Oven door 430 x 399 x 18mm MDF
M Rangehood sides (2) 200 x 195 x 18mm MDF
N Rangehood cover 300 x 247 x 18mm MDF
O Cooktop 350 x 300 x 18mm MDF
P Drying rack slats (6) 19 x 19 x 270mm pine
Q Drying rack rails (2) 42 x 19 x 200mm pine
Notes: All joints are glued and screwed unless otherwise indicated. Check size of components against actual unit as it is being built.
Step 1 If you can, order the timber cut to size. Otherwise, cut it yourself with a power saw along a straight edge. To do this, measure the distance from the edge of the saw blade on your power saw to the edge of the saw base. Draw a second line this distance from the line along which you want to cut on the wanted side. Clamp or pin a straight piece of timber along the line, then run the saw along it. Because all the shelves and uprights are screwed on from the back, mark out the backing board (A) as shown on the diagram.
Step 2 Drill a series of 4mm clearance holes through the board, between the parallel lines, for the screws. Space them approximately 200mm apart. Flip the board over and countersink from the back.
Step 3 From the back corner, mark 150mm across the top of 1 end panel (B) and 600mm up the front. Use the diagram with the grid to draw in a curve, or make up your own shape. Cut out with a jigsaw and sand the edges smooth. Use this panel as a template for the other end panel. Slightly round out the back and bottom edges to create a shadow between back and sides when constructed.
Step 4 After predrilling and countersinking, glue and screw splashback (C) to the back edge of the benchtop (D). Make sure you drill a 2mm pilot hole into the edge of the MDF to avoid splitting the board or causing a bulge. In a similar way, screw oven sides (E) to the oven bottom (F).
Step 5 To assemble the kitchen, start from one end. Apply glue and screw the left-hand end to the backing board. This is best done with the back clamped to the bench to leave an overhang where you need to drive in the screws. Add the oven assembly, aligning the top with the line of the benchtop and screwing
into the side of the end panel.
Step 6 Next, attach the bottom shelf (G) which is screwed on from the underside and just glued to the edge of the oven. Before putting on the next shelf, glue and screw the kickboard (H) in place as otherwise you will not have enough room to screw it in. Set it back 50mm from the front edge of the end panels. Then add the next shelf.
Step 7 Add the benchtop assembly to the top of the oven sides and screw in from the back. Screw on the apron (I) from the left end panel and into the face of the oven sides. At this stage, hold the right-hand end with a clamp until you are ready to add the right end panel.
Step 8 Add the top shelf (J) and the short shelf (K), then screw on the right-hand side end panel. Stand the unit on the floor.
Step 9 Draw around the bowl you are using for the sink, then draw a second line about 10mm inside the first. Drill a hole to start the jigsaw and cut out the hole. Sand the edges smooth.
Step 10 Fill all the screw holes with a fast-drying two-part filler such as PlastiBond, ready for painting. When dry, sand all surfaces smooth and paint them white, except the inside of the oven which is painted black. Use a small paint roller to speed up this process. While the paint is drying, you have time to make the accessories.
Step 11 To make the oven ‘window’, draw a line 60mm in from each edge of the door (L); round corners with a large coin. Drill a hole, then cut out the window. Sand the edges smooth. Paint the door bright yellow, inside and out. When dry, use top and bottom overlay hinges to fix to the left-hand side of the oven. The amount that the hinge overhangs the top of the door will determine the gap to the end panel. Add a magnetic catch to hold the door closed, and a small
D-handle, so you can open the door without burning yourself!
Step 12 To make cooktop (O), round the edges of the MDF and paint with 2 coats of clear finish. For the hotplates, use a one-litre paint tin and a slightly larger pot or container to draw circles on the back of an appropriately coloured self-adhesive vinyl tile. Cut out, remove backing paper and glue in place. Glue cooktop to benchtop or screw on from underneath. Use a 45mm hole saw to cut knobs for the oven. Paint them black and screw to the apron under the cooktop.
Step 13 To make the rangehood, mark 50mm from back corners (M) along the 195mm edges; join to bottom corner. Cut out. Glue and screw on rangehood cover (N), so bottom edge is flush with the acute corner (of M). Plane top edge so it is flush with top of sides. Paint yellow, then, when dry, screw into top-left corner over cooktop.
Step 14 To install the tap set, first whittle down a piece of 19mm dowel. Jam it into the back of the water spout, then drill into the backing board and glue in place. To fit the tap handles, use washers under the screw heads to fix them to the backing board.
Step 15 To make a basic drying rack, glue and nail the 6 evenly-spaced pine slats (P) to the rails (Q), leaving a 20mm overhang at each side. Punch and fill the nail holes, then clear finish.