DIY Vintage Play Kitchen: Adding “heating element” and lights


diy play oven heating coil

I can’t believe Jbug’s second birthday is this week! I’m so excited to give her the play kitchen I built for her earlier this year. I’m planning on hauling it upstairs and getting it all set up in her play room tonight!

I think this is my favorite project so far! I started out with this $3 garage sale tv stand

diy play kitchen before

and ended up with this.

diyplay kitchen




To see all the details on how I did it and the budget breakdown visit my friend Jennifer’s blog scissorsandscatteredcheerios. I hadn’t started my blog yet and she was nice enough to let me do a guest post.

Since then I have added a few fun items to the kitchen. That is what happens when you get something like this done too far in advance. You are left with too much time to run across things you just have to add. So here is what I added…

First up, lights that turn on when you open the door and shut off when you close them. I had the tap lights before but these will be better since they won’t get left on and drain the batteries. I used drawer lights which I had never heard of until a friend said she was using them on her play kitchen. These are super easy to install. Just peel off the sticky backing and press them in place.

diy play oven

Next, I added a “heating element” to the oven. I got this idea from this guest post on younghouselove and I knew I had to add it too! There wasn’t too much explanation on how to do it though so I will show you what I did.

diy play oven heating element

The light is from del-lighting. I ordered 2.5 feet (the minimum for red) plus a cord. I originally planned to use a dimmer so the oven knob would actually turn on the “heating element”. I purchased the Lutron lamp dimmer first and tried to connect it to my oven knob with JB weld. It didn’t work and came right off. I also ordered the dimmer used in my inspiration play kitchen but I would have to move my oven knob down much lower for it to fit and it would be in the way of the oven door. So moral of the story is to decide what all you want on your kitchen BEFORE you build it.

I was determined to figure something out though even if it wasn’t my original vision. I ended up just putting the dimmer on the side of the fridge and putting the original oven knob back. I wrapped the cord in yarn to help pretty it up. One good thing about this method is that it involved no wiring. Just plug the neon light into the dimmer and plug into an outlet.

play oven dimmer

I was a little disappointed I had to abandon my original plan but I’m just telling myself she has more knobs to turn and push now. One good thing did come from it though. After figuring out the dimmer and oven knob weren’t going to work together I was left with this big hole.

play kitchen oven

I know, that doesn’t sound good and it took me a while to figure out how to fix it so the oven knob could still turn. I was looking through all my craft and home store supplies to try to find a solution and ended up running across a metal stamp set I had never used. The idea to emboss a washer with temperatures stemmed from there.

diy play oven knob

I love it! Embossing the washer was easy. If you don’t have a stamp set you can get one here. Put the stamp on your washer and hit it with a hammer. Then use a sharpie to color in the embossed numbers and wipe the washer off. Your washer will look like this.

play kitchen heating coil

Get a few to practice on. I didn’t and had to use the back of the washer which has a more rough appearance. I superglued a smaller washer onto my embossed washer to keep the nut from pulling through. Then I just glued the washer over the hole and threaded my knob through it. The perfect addition for a play kitchen oven knob!

I really LOVE the “heating element”.  I hope Jbug loves it too! I have a lot more kitchen accessories to come, hopefully with better photos since I will finally have it out of the dark basement. I think this kitchen is more for me than her!

play oven diy

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5 thoughts on “DIY Vintage Play Kitchen: Adding “heating element” and lights

    • No the knob just turns but actually doesn’t “turn on ” the oven. I put a lamp dimmer on it so there is a little slider button on the side of the fridge that operates the oven. I do believe the stove on young house love where I got the idea had button that turned. I didn’t want to mess with wiring though.

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