Workbench :: The quick kid version

I like house projects. That’s probably pretty obvious considering I take the time to write this blog about them, but one of the things I love about doing these projects is when the kids are down in the basement with me doing their work. It’s a little hectic at times to have them down there with me, but they really do love to do their own version of what I’m doing.

Right now I’m taking a class on how to build a workbench with traditional hand tool and joinery. It’s slow. It’s difficult. And I’m really loving it.

Eventually I hope to end up with something like this:

Maplewood bench

Right now it looks a lot more like this:

I knew when I started the class that I wanted to build the kid’s their own version. I had some scrap 2 x 10s from my failed attempt at pantry counter tops that I wanted to use up and thought this might be a nice quick project. So I spent some time sketching out what I thought I wanted to do for the kids that would look like mine, but be sized for them. I also didn’t want to spend a lot of time on joinery or level because frankly my kids are better at destruction than construction at this point in their lives.

So here is what I came up with:

I thought it would be a fun twist to take some of the metallic paint I had on hand that I used here and here to make the ends stand out. In actuality you can hardly tell in either the photos or in real life, but oh well. Maybe I’ll grab a sample pot of some electric yellow or eco-cooler green to make it slightly more kid friendly.

The project only took maybe 3 hours start to finish so I’m glad for that. And I think all I bought was a few 2x4s and two 2x3s. The best part of course though was how excited the kids were to use it.

Now if I can just finish my big guy version of that so I can get cracking on some more projects.


A Small Kitchen Renovation

The kitchen was in rough shape. It desperately needed new paint, the oven door had fallen off, the faucet had snapped off, the curtain rod was gone and the curtain was MIA, it was rough. Shannon had put a lot of time in making that kitchen, the play kitchen for our (then three) kids. I wish I had pictures of when she finished it, because it did look fun. All bright and cheery and kid friendly, much better than what it looked like after a few years of our kids “playing” with it. It didn’t help that their favorite game was to “work” on the kitchen, ie imitate the renovation / construction work that Shannon and I were doing in our real house with brutal effects on their kitchen. Here’s what it looked like before I began the freshening up.

Kitchen tore up

For the picture I had removed the drawer (but apparently not the random plate and whatever else is on the bottom shelf). The oven door had fallen off due to the wrong hinges, the faucet was a spray painted wooden letter but that had snapped. The knobs were removed and sharp point screws were exposed. Again, I feel awful not showing how nice it looked originally, but now it was in rough shape.

We had plenty of paint to choose from in the basement left over from the house, but I didn’t want to pick anything used in the kids rooms. Both our daughter and our sons play with the kitchen so we didn’t want to make it skew to one or the other gender-wise. Instead I picked the Sea Salt that we had left over from our bathroom tub area. We had painted the main bathroom Paladian Blue and were hoping to pick a lighter color similar to it, to go in the tub area. Sea Salt is lighter, but not enough that you can actually tell in the room. Oh well, at least it doesn’t look weird or funky.

I picked up a piece of pipe from Lowes meant to be used under a sink (I guess? Plumbing is my not so much DIY area) for the faucet. I also grabbed some hidden hinges for the oven door and a dowel and eye hooks for the curtain rod. All in all, I think this took maybe about 4-5 hours to repaint the main cabinet, redo the hot and cold knobs, repaint the oven door and attach the faucet, oven door and curtain rod. Not too bad for a kitchen makeover, and I’m happy with how it looks now.

Dresser to kids play kitchen DIY

I managed to find the curtain that Shannon had sewed originally (thankfully, since I wasn’t exactly up for attempting to make a new one and Shannon had more than enough sewing / crafting projects going on). I just added some dowel screws to a 1/2″ dowel, ran it through some eye hooks screwed into the cabinet and popped some knobs painted Martha Stewart Living Metallics Thundercloud on the end. I also used the Thundercloud paint (left over from one of my Rast Hacks) for the hot and cold knobs and to refinish the over door, which was all banged up.

Dresser to kids play kitchen DIY

I also added some furniture pads to the oven door to stop it from banging up the cabinet quite so much this time.

Here you can see I’m baking some clamps. On the very last screw of the last hinge (the last step of the process), I split the wood that I used to space the hinges so that the door would hang properly and open easily. Since it was already glued in place, I just glued the cracked pieces and clamped them together.

Dresser to kids play kitchen DIY

The kids are thrilled to have their kitchen back. And in an effort to keep their renovations on the kitchen to a minimum I’m hoping to whip up a workbench for them to work on so that this version of the kitchen might survive a little longer than its predecessor.