Upcycled Plastic Play Kitchen

Fiona Janine
by Fiona Janine
2 Weeks
I found a filthy Step 2 Play Kitchen in an alley on garbage day. I carried it home six blocks and completely transformed it with some elbow grease and Rustoleum Spray Paint.
Step 2 Plastic Play Kitchen Upcycle
When I found the Play Kitchen it was dark outside, and I didn't realize how filthy it was. It was covered in dirt, there was algae growing inside, and the dated decals were peeling off.
Before: Filthy and algae ridden
I scrubbed it with hot soapy water and Dawn soap. I completely unscrewed all of the parts and took it apart, so I could get into all the filthy nooks and crannies. I power washed it with the hose.
I cut out panels to clean out the inside.
I couldn't get the algae out of the inside with just the hose, so I got a box cutter and cut out panels in the back. I put a bleach solution on the inside and let it sit for a few hours, power washed it with the hose again, then let it dry in the hot sun. I put a high power blow dryer in the openings to remove any extra moisture lingering within.
After a great deal of elbow grease, the play kitchen was really, really clean. I decided it would be fun to give it an updated look. With the help of Rustoleum spray paint, I was able to transform this old piece of garbage.
Before spray painting, I sanded with very fine sandpaper, removed parts I wanted to keep as is (the cabinet/microwave/refrigerator doors), and taped up all other parts with Frog tape.
I primed all parts with Zinsser 1,2,3 Primer and let it dry overnight.
I painted with Rustoleum Painter's Ultra Touch 2x in Aqua and Flat White. I did a thin layer and let it dry over night, then went over it again. I ended up doing two layers.

Once the paint was dry, I went over everything with a clear coat for added protection.To make sure the paint had plenty of time to cure, I moved all the pieces to the garage and let them cure for seven days.

When I unscrewed the burner, I could see that the battery compartment was completely rusted. After some research, I decided the best thing to do would be to order a new one. I called the Step 2 company and ordered a new burner, new pot and pan (they activate the sound the burner makes), and two new baskets. The customer service at Step 2 was really outstanding!
The clock face had water damage, so I googled "clock face" and found an image that suited my fancy, had it sized, then printed and cut it out.

Impatience got the best of me, so I decided to screw the parts together, remove the tape, and put the drawers back on only after two days. When I put the drawer and refrigerator front back on, it ended up scratching up the paint. Luckily I still had leftover spray paint in the cans, so I sprayed some paint on a piece of cardboard and used a small paintbrush to touch up the scrapes.

The more I stared at the drying play kitchen in the garage, the more inspired I became. I wanted to make the play kitchen as nice as possible. I thought it would be cool to create a backsplash and also make a panel to cover up the squares I cut out. I decided to use cardboard and decorative contact paper. I didn't realize this, but decorative contact paper in different patterns is really hard to find now. We went to Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Joann Fabrics and had no luck. Finally, I found a pattern I liked at Ace Hardware.
Unfortunately, seven days wasn't enough time for the spray paint smell to go away. I brought it inside, but the smell started to give me a headache. I put it on the front porch in the fresh air for another seven days, and now it finally seems to have no smell.

I'm really happy with the final results! It's a toy that my daughter will enjoy now and for years to come. I'm happy that I saved this play kitchen from the landfill, and I hope the paint manages to hold up to abuse for years to come.
Fiona Janine
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  3 questions
  • Trina Dombrowski Trina Dombrowski on Dec 11, 2015
    Where did you find the stickers for the doors? This is a great idea for my kids, make it more unisex for them.
  • Melissa Melissa on Aug 22, 2016
    Do yo remember what spray paint brand you used?
  • Becky LeBlanc Becky LeBlanc on Oct 10, 2023

    How did you get the stove piece off? I found the exact same kitchen on the side the road yesterday and am inspired by your post. I was able to get almost everything off except for the stove top. Also, what did you have to tell Step2 to get the replacement parts?

Join the conversation
2 of 83 comments
  • Jeff Christine Tuggle Jeff Christine Tuggle on Dec 11, 2015
    I love this,you did a great job. I have a suggestion , paint the table and chair the same blue.very cute.
  • Linda Weeks Linda Weeks on Dec 15, 2015
    Boy, I love when a project really comes together like this! You did a great job on it, like Barbara said, looks better than when it was new! Don't you just love spray paints nowadays? And Jeff had a good idea too, a whole new kitchen color scheme for the little ones!