Building any kind of flat pack furniture is a bit of a journey, but when you decide to transform an IKEA Duktig play kitchen, you soon discover that it’s a LONG journey.
I love seeing behind the scenes of DIY projects, so when I started the Duktig project I shared my progress on Instagram stories via some practical but not very pretty photos. I really didn’t intend to share them with the internet, but I know it will be helpful for some one out there who is looking for tips on how to tackle this play kitchen project. So here is a bit of the ugly process behind the making of my Duktig kitchen DIY:
Plan & Prep
First things first, I’d recommend getting all of your kitchen pieces out of the box and having a look at the instructions. I didn’t have a very big space to paint etc so I decided to tackle the kitchen in 2 stages: 1. bottom cupboards, worktop, oven & sink 2. microwave and shelving. I separated the pieces and labelled the panels so I knew what I wanted to paint etc. I had decided to paint basically the whole kitchen (as wood is not my vibe) so I sanded everything before applying Primer.
Even the plain wood of the Duktig is coated so it all need a pretty good sanding. If you don’t like sanding (I mean, who does?) you can get really good Primers that don’t require any sanding but I was just using up a tin which was already open. I find Priming is a bit boring and feels like slow progress BUT it is very important to get your paint to properly adhere.
To complicate things just a little more, I decided to change the cupboard handles. My other half helped me to fill the existing holes using wooden baton and filler. It took a few attempts to get it flush but I think it turned out really well in the end. You’ll have to let me know if you agree?
Priming complete, you’re ready to move onto the next stage: painting! This is the fun bit for me – I love painting and especially when there is some masking tape involved in the design. I used a cardboard template to draw a bold stripe pattern onto the worktop and one of the cupboard doors and then masked the lines using Frog Tape.
3 coats later, I peeled the tape off (annoyingly with some primer, gahh) and masked the other side of the lines to add another colour. With the masking tape, be sure to check that it’s really stuck down to avoid any leaks. I use a scraper (the bright pink thing in the photos above) but you can also use a loyalty card/bank card etc.
I have seen a lot of other DIY Duktig projects that use spray paint instead of a tin of paint. Depending on your creative plans I would say this is probably a good idea if you are pushed for time or have a lot of outdoor space. Painting does take a while with all of the layers and drying time but I had these paint colours left over from a previous project so I wanted to use them. For reference, I used Earthborn Eggshell No.17 in Milk Jug (light blue), The Lido (Aqua), Bobble Hat (Mid Blue) and Reading Room (Dark Blue).
Oooooh! Peeling masking tape off to reveal a freshly painted smooth line is SO satisfying! Remember; don’t peel the tape too fast and peel at an angle away from the line.
This isn’t my first painting rodeo, so I did make things a bit complicated for myself (it’s a bit of a problem) with stripes and painting edges different colours. If you’re not super handy with a paintbrush/roller then you don’t need to stress yourself out by sectioning the panels into lots of different colours.
And last but not least, don’t forget to varnish. This play kitchen is going to need to be durable and you wouldn’t want all of your painting efforts to just peel off, would you?
To make space for the 2nd stage of painting (and to feel like I was actually getting somewhere with the project), at this point we assembled the bottom half of the kitchen. It was SO nice to see it coming together:
As I finished the worktop in the first stage of painting we attached it just to get it out of the way (left photo) – this is not in the DUKTIG assembly instructions. We took it off to assemble the top half properly (right photo).
As I already mentioned, I decided to change the existing Duktig handles. I’ve seen a lot of other Duktig DIYs that spray the handles which looks good but I wanted something more geometric to compliment my bold stripe pattern. We chose some semi-circle pull handles (these ones) for the cupboards and some round plastic knobs in yellow (these ones) to add detail to the oven. Jack primed and spray painted them all matte black to match (so the original colour didn’t matter, just the shape and size etc).
When it came to attached the cupboard handles I was pretty nervous as I didn’t want my perfect paintwork to get ruined (especially the stripes, eeek!) and obviously didn’t want to have to repeat the fill and repair process again. To help get the positioning right (and the same on both doors) we made a cardboard jig so that Jack could drill the holes with confidence. I couldn’t look when he was drilling, but it worked perfectly in the end – phew!
I’m so happy with the custom handles and think they make such a big difference to the overall finish. What do you think?
Attention to decals
You might have already guessed, but attention to detail is very important to me (it’s a Graphic Design thing) so I knew that I wanted to add some vinyl decals for the oven and microwave. Annoyingly I had a few issues with the paint in the oven knobs area, but luckily I was able to use some vinyl to cover and protect it. I measured the area and designed a panel including timer and fan symbols. I used my Cricut Joy machine to make a paper version (to check it would fit) before cutting it in aqua vinyl. Thankfully it fitted perfectly and adds a lovely contrast background for the black knobs.
I also cut a digital clock and buttons for the microwave door in a dark teal vinyl. Simple but effective, no? I loooove my Cricut!
Et voila, here she is:
For more photos and insight to the design choices, details and MUCH nicer photos, head over to my DIY IKEA Duktig reveal blog post. I think I will add a back panel eventually (with some wallpaper or tiles?) but as I had a Christmas deadline to meet, I decided it could wait for now. Another thing that I might change in the future is the sink. Initially I had planned to spray paint it black to match the handles, but I have read that a lot of other DIY Duktig projects have experienced peeling and so I decided I would prefer grey rather than risk it peeling off.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing behind the scenes of the project – it was a long process but so rewarding when it came together in the end!