I posted on Instagram a few weeks ago, that this DIY project was probably the most stressful, ever.
With that being said, I am SO happy with how it turned out, that I would maybe, just maybe, do it again, if I had to. Which I don't, thankfully :)
So here is the step by step guide on how I hacked out the Ikea Kitchen of my dreams! Jude officially has a nicer kitchen than I do. Here is a before picture, so you can see what we started with!
Valspar Simplicity Paint in Pristine Wilderness Satin
Rust-Oleum Spray Paint in Champagne Mist
Sherwin Williams Pro-Classic Satin Paint in Simply White
1. The first thing I did was take everything out of the box and lay it on a flat surface. I checked the instruction manual to make sure I had all of the pieces, and laid out the kitchen in order of how it looks top to bottom. This way I could familiarize myself with what every piece looked like and where it would go. I also labeled everything on the instruction manual with what color it would be painted. There are no less than a million pieces, and seeing them all is confusing and overwhelming on what needs to be painted.
2. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Label EVERY SINGLE PIECE, front and back, with what color it should be painted. I did a two-tone paint look of white and green, so if you were doing it all one color, this process may be a little easier. There was also a couple of pieces that I kept wood, like the work top and the top shelf, so it was imperative that I didn't accidentally paint the wrong color. I triple checked my work, to really make sure I wasn't messing up the pieces. Even though some of the top pieces were already white, I still primed and painted them to remove the glossy look of the kitchen and so that the whites all matched (for example, some of the pieces I painted white were originally wood, so that 'white' wouldn't of matched the 'white' pieces that were already white... does that makes sense?)
BOTTOM PORTION OF KITCHEN
3. The next thing I did was put together the bottom portion of the kitchen, without attaching the doors. I taped off the plastic areas of the oven door (and eventually did the same with the microwave door). I primed everything (the inside, outside, doors (front and back), and the shelves) with a coat of the Shellac based primer. Once that dried, I did two coats of the green paint on all of the pieces that I primed for the bottom section. Afterwards, I did 3 coats of brush on poly to prevent the paint from chipping.
TOP PORTION OF KITCHEN
4. The top portion was a little harder to put together first before I primed, because I kept the bottom shelf wood and I didn't want to risk getting paint or primer on the wood. Therefore, for the top portion, I kept every piece separate and built the top part of the kitchen once it was all painted. I marked each piece with a 'W' that needed to be primed and painted white. The top portion took a couple of days to complete because most pieces needed to be primed and painted on both sides, which meant a lot of drying time in between coats! Once it was all painted, I did 3 coats of the brush-on poly on every piece that was painted. I like to use a water based poly because it takes a lot less time to dry and is virtually odorless.
PLASTIC PARTS OF KITCHEN
5. There are a lot of pieces that come with the kitchen that are plastic. Those include the sink, faucet, handles, stove, the feet, and the hanging rod and hooks for the utensils. I wanted to spray-paint the fixtures brass, but knew that they would get a good beating from being played with frequently, so I had to be strategic on how to do this without them chipping. I decided to replace the hanging rod with a wooden dowel instead of trying to spray paint it, as I figured it would get rubbed against a lot with the utensils hanging off of it. Also, because of this reason, I left the hooks original and did not spray paint them, either. Aesthetically I think it looks fine, and I'm glad they won't chip or look junky after a few times being played with. I also spray painted the edge of the stove. The stove comes with a plastic film over it, so I just left that on and spray painted the sides. I had to use a razor blade at the end to scrape some of the spray paint off the stove itself, but it wasn't hard to remove.
6. I spray painted all of the other fixtures in the garage with the bonding primer first, to hopefully help the spray paint adhere to the plastic. Make sure to read the back of the can for directions because each spray paint has different drying and curing times on when you can spray another coat. Due to all of the drying times between coats, this process took a couple of days. It also was time consuming because I had to keep flipping the fixtures over in order to spray all sides. I don't love the way the fixtures turned out because the spray paint bubbled a bit. I knew this may happen, because it was the middle of winter and with paint, it has ideal drying temperatures to make sure it doesn't bubble. Luckily it bubbled on areas that you can't visually see, so no one knows but me, and well, now you!
7. I did, no lie, no less than 10 coats of poly. Why? Because I was terrified of these chipping! I knew the sink was going to get the biggest beating so I wanted to make sure it's tough as nails. Poly has a pretty fast drying time so I was able to knock out a couple of coats a day.
8. Once everything is primed, painted, and poly'd, it's finally time to put it all together! It took me about 2 hours to put it all together. Yikes. But, it was so fun seeing the puzzle pieces come together! Once it was fully installed, I measured the back opening and cut the foam board with a razor blade. The subway tile was peel and stick, and took only a few minutes to cover the board. The subway tile looks real! It's glossy and 3D, so it feels like real tile. We put a couple of nails in the back to affix it to the back of the board.
9. My husband put the wooden knobs on the front to act as stove knobs. We also affixed a phone to the side, because, well, who doesn't love talking on the phone while cooking a nice dinner!
So far Jude seems to love it! Would you hack a play kitchen like this, or have you done one before? Tell me in the comments below!