DIY Saturday: Cardboard Kitchen Center

I have been crafting and creating things since I can remember. Back in the day I was a Girl Scout, in 4H Club and I took art class until I graduated high school. Growing up, my dad’s philosophy was always “Why buy it if you can make it yourself?” I follow this philosophy a lot.

Most people know or have heard about NYC’s shoe-box-sized apartments. We are very blessed to have something a little bigger than a shoe box, but our apartment is already bursting at the seams. Everyone who has kids is aware of how much space they can take up.

So when Tyson’s parents asked what they could get Qwynn for her 2nd birthday, I had to think very carefully before giving them an answer. Qwynn LOVES playing in the kitchen center at school, but we definitely do not have enough room for a whole play kitchen in our apartment. I figured that even though we didn’t have space for the whole shebang, we could at least make room for a small kitchen set. So that’s what we told them to get her.

Of course, Qwynn’s favorite spot to play with her new kitchen set was on the floor. In our kitchen. While we are cooking dinner. Not ideal.

After tripping over her one too many times, I had to come up with a better option! Qwynn also received an easel for her birthday (don’t ask me how we found room for it, but I’m glad we did!), and the box it came in was the exact same size as our ottoman. Cue light bulb over my head!

Using the cardboard box, poster board left over from Qwynn’s birthday party, and craft paint from my craft box, I created the perfect solution. And the best part is, it slides perfectly behind our couch. Success!

Kid’s Tabletop Play Kitchen


– Large piece of cardboard
– Poster board (optional)
– Craft paint (or magic markers, colored pencils, etc.)


1. Cut cardboard the size you would like for whatever table you would like it to fit on. I made this one to fit on our ottoman.


2. If you are a Type-A person like myself and like things to be extremely neat looking, you can wrap the cardboard in poster board. This gave me a nice white blank canvas to paint on. But you could also paint or draw directly on the cardboard.


3. Sketch out a counter, sink and stove top and use craft paint to paint your masterpiece. You could also use markers, colored pencils, crayons or even just a sharpie. If you do not have faith in your own drawing skills, you can Google image search “stove top graphics” and “kitchen sink graphics” to find images to copy or cut out and glue onto the cardboard.


This has been an amazing alternative to having a store bought kitchen center! Plus, when we flip it over, we have a great surface for block play as well!

IMG_6244 IMG_6267

Valerie Anne

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