Monday, 13 December 2010

Tutorial: how to make a children's play stove

Well, hello lovely Planetarians*, all 194 of you (and a warm welcome to the newbies). I've been so pleasantly surprised at the level of affirmation you all gave me in response to my last post. Thanks for your kindness. I really didn't expect such a response. I guess I just have to back myself a bit more. I’m chuffed that you are enjoying the ride on this crazy planet. Now let me tell you what Mr PB and the older pixies have been up to recently – the Top Secret Project I mentioned here. Inspired by this post by the talented Steph a few months ago, Mr PB finally stopped ‘fobbing’ the pixies off (Miss India’s words!) and decided to make a stove for India’s birthday. Here it is! I think they did a spectacular job.

Let me show you how they made it. First stop was the Salvos where they found this:

1. An old drawer/cupboard $10

Then they stocked up on their supplies at the hardware store.

2. Paint $30 (four different colours chosen by the pixies – of course, pink appeared!)

The older pixies set to with their paintbrushes. Hmm, now I see why both of them ended up with paint on their clothes (one smock on back-to-front and the other, well, absent!).

They then decamped to my Dad’s workbench. Without the camera. So you’ll have to use your imagination here!

3. Piece of craft wood for the stove door and the hotplates $20

Mr PB cut out a rectangle of wood for the oven door.

4. Two hinges $5

He attached the door to the base of the oven using hinges.

5. Handle and latch $10

He screwed the handle onto the door from the inside and attached a latch. I’m struggling to explain this as I didn’t see him do it but hope this photo of the inside of the door may be self-explanatory.

6. Liquid nails $10

He cut out some small circles from the wood for hotplates and then liquid nailed them to the top of the stove.

He painted them with blackboard paint (we already had some) and added red circles to the centres for the ‘hot spots’.

7. Metal mixing bowl for sink $5

Mr PB placed the bowl upside down and traced around it on the spot where he wanted the sink. However, he couldn’t use this circle for cutting as given its exact size, the bowl would have fallen through it.

To solve that problem, he then drew a smaller concentric circle indented about 2cm inside the larger circle. Using a jigsaw, Mr PB then cut out the inner circle to make a hole for the sink bowl.

He then used Liquid Nails to affix the bowl into the hole, its outer rim now resting snugly on top of the stove.

If you have a drawer like ours, you’ll need to remove its back in order to pull it out. If you don’t, when you pull the drawer out, its back will bang into the sink bowl).

8. A set of taps and a spout $20 (we got lucky in the hardware store with some old ones)

Mr PB cut out small holes for the taps and the spout. He screwed the spout into a block of wood which he then screwed into the top of the stove, up the back. He then liquid nailed the taps into their holes.

9. 3 wooden knobs $5

He liquid nailed the knobs onto the drawer to act as temperature dials. We may replace these with some circular egg timers later.

10. Plastic chopping board $5

This was liquid nailed to the top of the stove.

11. Wooden craft decorations $5

These were painted and liquid nailed to the oven door.

12. Packet of hooks $5

The old cupboard had masonite pegboard sides. Mr PB inserted screws into the ready-made holes for hanging up utensils and oven mitts. My *contribution* here was to poke through all the holes with a metal skewer which had been painted over by the pixies!

I am so impressed at Mr PB’s handiwork. He had to completely make it up as he went, solving problems along the way. All the while, Joshua and India were buzzing around him, asking a hundred questions and wanting to help. I am so proud of the three of them. It took a lot of time and effort but the pixies are so delighted with the end result. It cost about a third of the versions in the shops and recycled something old.

And the best part? The look on Miss India’s face when it was unveiled on her birthday, complete with these utensils, oven mitts and saucepans. Just priceless. And all three pixies are enjoying using it. I think we’ll be ‘eating’ many a home-cooked meal from that oven for a long time yet!

*Hmm, what do you think? It’s growing on me…


  1. I see hours and hours of fun and maybe a Junior Masterchef in the future. Well done Mr PB.

  2. Amazing job! So impressed, I particularly like all the finishing touches - the chopping board, etc. Doots was super impressed too, I think you have endless hours of fun ahead!

  3. Oh Jane! You made me blush, so sweet of you to mention me! I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden I had a blogocoma, no posts or comments, I was absent, travelling, mothering and all that, but I'm back, so thanks for thinking of me! Made me smile! And btw, you are very creative! Greetings all the way to the other side of the world, Maureen xx

  4. That's fantastic!! Imagine how yummy food would taste if it were cooked in a funky oven like that?! Well done Mr PB!!

  5. I'm a huge fan of DIY projects and this one is fantastic!!! Great having the kids be apart of the project as well, I'm sure it means that much more to them playing with it knowing they helped build it :)

    So fun!

  6. That's fabulous! a team effort and such a fun thing to do with and for the kids. Clever Mr PB!

  7. This is brilliant! Thanks for the inspiration and ideas..i am fumbly about making a cardboardy kitcheny thingy, but i can see now it's not going to last the distance...and i am having a futile time finding a second hand bargain!

  8. I'll have the Salmon [medium please] with the salad of the day, thank you.

    Oh, you're out of salmon, oh well you're reputation is very high, I'm sure to enjoy anything that the chef recommends.

    x Felicity

    PS Very, very clever Mr PB [my 3 yo niece received a kitchen for her birthday in October and although the level of excitement and enjoyment will no doubt be the same, hers wasn't imbued with the same amount of creative family love that yours undoubtedly is] great job!

  9. I am truly impressed by the creative genius of Mr PB! The pixies will treasure the memory of this project and the many hours of pretend play ahead of them! Well done Mr PB and Pixies. x

  10. WOW!!! That's fantastic, I love the tools hanging on the side, what a brilliant idea for such a sweet little cabinet!

  11. Jane this is just adorable. Your hubby has done a fantastic job with the oven, it really looks great. Your little ones will just love playing with this for hours. xo

  12. I think Mr PB and the pixies have done an incredible job with the play kitchen Jane!! It's funny because I was going to do a similar post this week as we are in the middle of deciding what to buy Grace for Christmas and would love to get her a play kitchen but the one I love is a ridiculous price - I have the play kitchen made from old chest of drawers saved in my 'blog topics' folder too and had been contemplating giving one a go (with hubby's help of course). Will have to show yours to Paul tonight - I think yours has come up beautifully and I love the bright colours x

  13. Awesome, Jane. What a clever idea. x

  14. Does Mr PB stand for Mr Pottery Barn? (You know that store, right?) It looks like something they would sell. Adorable! XOL

  15. wow that is a serious kitchen and much fancier than the little tikes one living in our backyard!


  16. Oh, some people are soooooo clever!!! What an absolutely brilliant idea - imaginative play just never gets old does it??

  17. That is awesome Jane!! that really is the best present and I bet the kids felt super proud that they helped put so much of it together.

  18. Oooh I'm so gonna try this. Thanks! By the way, I tagged you in my latest post.
    Megs x

  19. This is just awesome and will surely be treasured by the kids for a long time. Good job xx

  20. Just precious, Jane!
    Seems like just yesterday
    that I did over a wee
    pretend stove that I found
    at a garage sale. I painted
    it fire engine red and
    stenciled on the burners.
    I used fork and spoon "handles"
    and it was a big hit. Your
    crew did an amazing job!!
    xx Suzanne

  21. Ooo I like that !
    What team effort, and detail, and happy sprouts, and talented parents and hours of fun !

  22. Wow Jane! It's very cute and will no doubt bring you all loads of fun and yummy pretend dinners:)

  23. That is so AWESOME!!! Your hubby and his crew did a great job.

  24. Heavens! I am stunned by all your interest and compliments. Thanks so much - Mr PB will be chuffed (reading my blog is one of the first things he does when he returns home at night ☺).

    We are so pleased to have created a family treasure. If anyone wants to have a go (Luisa, Amanda and Megs, maybe?) and needs some advice, Mr PB *may* be able to help (he still has his carpenter's L-plates on!). Full marks to clever Steph at Mon petit poppet for the inspiration - you should have a peek at her fancy version.

    Cate, I agree with you about imaginative play. It's facinating to watch how differently all three pixies play with the same stove!

    Suzanne, that sounds fantastic. I would never have thought to do stencilling. J x

  25. This is soooo on my to-o list for 2011!!! Going to have a look at the dump shop tomorrow! Thanks so much for sharing and so glad I found you blog!

  26. I love the team effort approach! It's so inviting and I especially love the hanging component with the miniature stainless steel utensils! But my fav part was your response that said your hubby comes home and reads your blog, really very sweet and lovely. A great way to stay connected to the little details of your day, the little details which mean everything to you and the pixies! X

  27. oh i just love this! what a great idea! so economical, yet so unique and fun! i bet the kids LOVE it:) you're such a fabulous, crafty lady! i'm taking tips!

  28. Jane, I've been perusing your blog, and I just LOVE it! Oh, the dear Sam - my heart was breaking for him and for you! What precious children, what clever creations (I especially love this kitchen!), what a tender-hearted mother! I'm looking forward to following your blog and reading more of your "life on planet baby"! Cheers!

  29. Hi, im the newest follower here (N 200), Very nice blog !!! Hope to see you on my page too :)

  30. Hi Sophie So glad it's a hit with you - thanks for dropping by. I'm your latest happy follower!

    You're a sweetie, Denise. Yes, Mr PB is a keeper. That said, he's starting to get a *little* too interested in my bloggy exploits!

    You make me laugh, Vintch. I would never have called myself 'crafty' - Mr PB has to accept all plaudits for this project ☺.

    And Emily, you've made my day. I sent you a message in reply. I'm delighted we've found each other, too.

    Hi Grigore and congrats on becoming Planetarian #200 - it's a red letter day on Planet Baby! J x

  31. ohh wow Mr PB!! you are a star ♦
    amazing, little pixies are definitely very lucky.

  32. This is an outstanding creation!

    My little Amelie would love this.


  33. Wow this is great - so clever! I love the little implements hanging from the side :)

  34. Thanks, ladies - it's in constant use by the pixies which is a relief! J x

  35. Wow, this is amazing! I enjoyed seeing the process. Very creative and fun! I love that you had your kids involved in the making. Thanks for sharing. Kaho

  36. So pleased you enjoyed reading this, Kaho. Great for you to stop by. J x

  37. It's a multi-purpose kitchen set. I want to create my version of this one.


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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