Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Upcycled

I mentioned yesterday that today's post for the A to Z Challenge would be a bit of a cheat. But I also promised it would be a good one.

It's been a really rough week full of Mondays and we have a lot going on around here so my planned project for U just didn't happen. Luckily, I had this little gem from last year that I was able to bring out just in time.

Today, U is for upcycled. It's a kiddie kitchenette upcycled from an old entertainment center. (I suppose technically, it's also an upcycled post...upcycled from 2014's L post to 2015's U post.)

I was going to put the effort in and restructure the post for this year, but I'm wiped. I'm taking the mulligan on this one and hoping my energy returns for tomorrow's post. Luckily, that one has been long done and just needs a post written around the photos. Until's my awesome cheat project.

Okay...this has to be one of my most favorite projects ever. I loved this one. It took FOR-E-VER, but I loved it. Even better? I made the whole thing for about $40. Yup...$40.

It all started when I found this entertainment unit at a thrift store for $20. It had some issues, but I knew I wanted it. You see...I had seen things on Pinterest. Ah, it's always the Pinterest.

I saw this picture of a little nightstand turned into a kitchen and I was hooked.

It took some work, but I tracked this down to the original designer.
It was made by Miranda Walker over at Narrating Life.
With the mental images of all the possibilities tumbling through my head, I moved forward like a woman possessed. I was obsessed with this project. 

I had decided to make it for Miss Marley for her 2nd birthday. And that was it. It was time to get to work.

I picked out my paint colors, wanting something bright and cheerful. I wound up selecting Iris Plum and Tropical Green from the Clark & Kensington series.

I happened upon a commercial for ACE Hardware just about the time I was getting ready to start this project. You see, Clark & Kensington does a promotion about twice a year where you can get free paint. Yes...FREE. So I was able to get a sample quart of each color for my project. Cost = $0. Awesome.

And then the dismantling began. I drew up some loose plans and removed non-frame pieces from the original cabinet. All of the hardware, doors, and shelving came off. Then I sanded all the things. So. Much. Sanding. It was everywhere.

Collin helped me out here and we cut a section out to fit the "sink". The sink is actually a metal mixing bowl that I got from another thrift store for all of $0.50. The sink was fitted and attached with epoxy.

I started painting. I had gone back and forth with where I wanted the green and where I wanted the purple. In the end, I just flew by the seat of my pants. Oh...and don't mind the messy garage in these photos.

Doors got painted green and cabinets started getting attached.

I discarded the original glass door and instead sectioned a shelf to create a fridge and freezer. They open separately. The handles I got in a bag of about ten from a thrift store for $2.

I sliced another door in half so that I had a microwave and used a separate shelf to create an oven. These pieces were painted black and then had a screen area of gray painted on. I also made the buttons. I used my printer to make these on photo paper, printed them, cut them out, adhered them with my sticker maker and then Mod Podged the crap out of them. LOTS of painting and coating was involved in this step.

I wanted everything decorated and homey. I got more kitchen parts from the thrift store (a faucet, some stove knobs, a towel rack) and then added a leftover dowel from one of our upstairs closets and a set of small hooks that I had from who knows where. The faucet knobs and the stove top knobs all turn.

The stove is my least favorite part, but it turned out okay. I painted a square section white and then added black spirals for the burners.

I found some cute fabric on sale at JoAnn Fabric and sewed myself some curtains and a dish towel.

This piece was a somewhat last minute add on. The piece that I used for a set of standing shelves was actually a media divider in the bottom drawer of the original unit. I bolted this to the side of my kitchen and created a chalkboard above it using black chalkboard paint.

Hinges were added to the microwave, the door below the microwave, and the oven. Handles were added to the microwave and oven doors.

And then we delivered the kitchen to Miss Marley on her birthday. Her favorite part was the buttons on the microwave. She sat there for at least five minutes saying "beep, boop, beep" and punching buttons.

(2015 Note: Miss Marley is now 4 and her little brother is the age she was when we took these pictures. She's still adorable, just sassier.)

She quickly busted out her grocery cart and supplies and stocked her kitchen. She loved that the knobs turned.

She set to work making meals for everyone there.

I was super glad to finally have the project finished after months of work and I was even happier that she loved it so much.


Unit: $20
Paint: $0
"Sink": $0.50
Door Handles: $2 (with a pile to spare)
Oven Handle: $2
Stove Knobs: $1
Faucet: $3
Towel Rack: $1
Fabric: $3 (with about 1/2 yard to spare)
Chalkboard Paint: $2
Hinges: $5

Total Cost: $39.50. Boom! Under $40. Not. Too. Shabby. And I still love it oh so much.

Miss any of my A to Z posts so far this year? Find them below...

1. A is for Anna (Easy Anna Cape)
2. B is for Bath (Appliqued Bath Mat)
3. C is for Child (Children's Growth Ruler)
4. D is for Denim (Denim Bib)
5. E is for Etch (Etched Casserole Dishes)
6. F is for Felt (Felt Hopscotch Mat)
7. G is for Good Night ("Good Night" Envelope Pillows)
8. H is for Hood (Easy Hooded Towel)
9. I is for Insulated (Insulated Beverage Cozies)
10. J is for Jumper (Embroidered Spring Jumper)
11. K is for Know (Know When to Hold 'Em/Fold 'Em Laundry Sign)
12. L is for Loveseat (Envelope Loveseat Pillows)
13. M is for Mittens (Fleece Baby Mittens)
14. N is for Ninja Turtle (Felt Ninja Turtle)
15. O is for Owl (Owl Stuffies)
16. P is for Princess (Princess Peg Dolls)
17. Q is for Quilt (Moustache Quilt)
18. R is for Reading (Appliqued Reading Pillow)
19. S is for Superheroes (Superhero Peg Dolls)
20. T is for Tumblers (Custom Etched Barware)

Are you visiting from A to Z?

Be sure to leave me a comment (including your blog link) so I can come over and return the favor!


  1. That is awesome. Our friends bought their daughter a little kitchen, smaller than yours, and I am absolutely sure it cost a lot more than $40 and has no where near as much in it. Your skills are amazing.
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

    1. Thanks! It was fun to make, but definitely took a big investment in time. I have another entertainment unit in the garage waiting to be turned into a dress up studio for another niece. I'm hoping by Christmas this year to have it finished...

  2. Great job. I thought I had seen part of this before but couldn't remember from where. Then you mentioned it was one of your posts from last year. Thanks for helping me so I didnt think I had gone crazy!

    Sean at His and Hobbies

    1. I do what I can. ;) I needed at least one beg off post this year. This seemed like a good project to use for that.

  3. Hello there.
    WoW! You are really creative...nice job...and your baby girl is so cute too! ;-)
    Thanks for sharing.

    Entrepreneurial Goddess

    1. Thank you! She's actually my niece, but I will totally claim her. She's one of my favorite people ever.

  4. Love it. I've collected a whole Pinterest board of ways to repurpose those hulking entertainment units. Well done.
    I'll add this one to my board.

    1. They're really fun. I'm glad you liked it. I hope to have another one (for a dress up closet) finished later this year.

  5. So very cute, and created with my favorite colors. :D

    1. Thanks! It came out pretty darned bright, but I figure that's what works best for kids' stuff anyways, right? I love how happy the colors are.


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