Happy 12th Day of a Handmade Christmas! I have thoroughly enjoyed posting every day and sharing with you my handmade Christmas gifts for the last 12 days. I hope they have helped inspire you! Today I have one final project, and like yesterday’s DIY Lego Table, its another big and exciting gift you can make for a child – a DIY Play Market!
There are so many wonderful play markets you can purchase online – some of my favorites include the ones from Land of Nod and Melissa and Doug. While these are so cute and both brands make adorable accessories, I found I was equally taken with a lot of the DIY versions I saw on Pinterest. I knew I could make one myself – for a third of the cost – so I set out to do just that!
My goal with this play market was to make it so it could be used as more than just a food market, but as anything Bugaboo imagined! A bookstore where he could “sell” his books, a bakery, a florist shop, even a pet store with all his crazy stuffed animals! I also wanted it to be educational and give him the opportunity to learn about money, counting, time, reading, etc. And finally, I knew I wanted to spend as little as possible to make this happen! I put on my resourceful hat and came up with some fun solutions!
This is where it all began – the little sketch in my notebook. My mother-in-law had given us a table that I wasn’t sure what to do with. While staring at it one day, I realized it could be made into the cutest play market!
Below are the steps I took to create Bugaboo’s new play market!
STEP 1: Construct the play market structure. The multi-level table from my mother-in-law was perfect in that the top level could be where the register went and the lower level could house whatever Bugaboo was selling. I needed to build up the top of the table so there could be a cute little awning. I used a tri-fold board I had from grad school and cut it down a little to fit the top of the table. Since it was foam core, I applied a layer of Gesso to the entire board so I could paint it more easily.
I used smaller pieces of foam core I had on hand to build the structure that would support the awning. I hot-glued and taped everything together. To keep the walls sturdy I used small brackets and screwed them into the table. I don’t have a picture to show this, but I placed two brackets at each corner of the table and screwed them in so there was 1/8″ between them. This allowed me to slip the foam core in between them and hot glue it to the brackets. Even without the hot glue, the double brackets held the board and supported it from both the inside and outside.
STEP 2: Paint the play mart! I have seen so many great furniture makeovers online that used chalk paint, so I thought this would be a great project to experiment with it. I found Folkart’s Home Decor Chalk Paint at Jo-Ann Fabrics and bought two colors, Cascade and Glacier, along with the white wax. The great thing about these paints is you don’t have to prime your furniture before painting!
I painted the inset parts of the table, the inside walls, and the top of the awning structure in Glacier. I did some light distressing with sand paper and then gave the entire thing a coat of white wax, wiping it off to create the look I liked.
STEP 3: Decorate and accessorize! With the table completely painted it was ready to be decorated – the fun part! The first thing I did was to create the awning. I used an old tablecloth I had and sewed it to fit the awning structure. I made it removable in case I need to wash it and added the scallops along the bottom to jazz it up! I love all the colors in the awning and love that it feels appropriate for boys and girls.
Next, I knew Bugaboo would need a cash register. This was one of those projects where I stopped all too often and said to myself – I should really just buy this! I saw lots of cash registers online for just $12, but they were bright and primary colored. I wanted a more sophisticated silver cash register, like this one from Pottery Barn Kids. I stuck it out and finished making the cash register – hours and hours later!! It turned out nicely and cost me $0 as it was made from an old photo box I had on hand. I did purchase play money and made the cash register to fit the money.
One of Bugaboo’s favorite things to do while we are out shopping is to try and sign the credit card signature pad. I knew I wanted to make one for him and thought a magnetic doodler would be perfect! He could sign it with an attached pen and then erase it easily. I bought this Fischer Price Mini Doodler from Amazon (it was $7.00 when I bought it but it seems to have doubled in price since then) and I painted it with the Cascade chalkboard paint.
To create a clock he could play with, I used a plastic plate. I painted it with the Glacier chalkboard paint and lavender acrylic paint. I created the face of the clock on my computer and printed it out. The hands are card stock attached with a brad so they can move!
To make the play market versatile, I created different signs that could velcro on and off. I painted a board in Glacier for the signs to velcro onto. This board velcros on to the awning, this way the awning can be washed. The signs were made in Photoshop, printed, and adhered to white foam core.
So there you have it! A DIY play market. I can’t wait to give this to Bugaboo on Christmas! I hope it sparks his imagination and he continues to enjoy it for a few years! I’ll be back tomorrow with information on all the felt food I made to fill the market!