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How-To Projects
Posted: July 9, 2020

Cook Up Some Fun: DIY Mud Kitchen

Let your little one’s imagination run wild with their very own DIY Mud Kitchen. This mud table is great for all sorts of projects including mud pies, arts and crafts, nature study, sensory activities, gardening, STEAM projects, you name it. And while summer seems like the ideal time for such a kitchen, why limit your child’s enjoyment only to warm sunny days? With the appropriate clothing, they can be outdoors playing almost all year long. 
 
In this post, we’ve gathered all the “ingredients” you need to DIY, including this video:

THINGS YOU'LL NEED

Materials
  • (5) 2" x 4" x 8' Board* 
  • (8) 1" x 5" x 8' Board*  
  • #8 x 2-1/2" Torx Flat Head Deck Screw 
  • #8 x 1-1/4" Torx Flat Head Deck Screw 
  • Sand Paper**: 150g, 220g & 320g 
  • Drill Bits: 1/8" & 3/8"
  • (2) 5 qt. Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
*Board Dimensions are “nominal.” Actual dimensions are smaller due to lumber industry standards. Cuts are actual length.

**Starting grit will depend on board surface condition, a rough surface will require starting with a coarse grit first.

Tools Used
We recommend wearing safety glasses when operating power tools.

LUMBER CUT LIST & LAYOUT GUIDE

  • (2) 2" x 4" Back Legs cut to 51-1/4"  
  • (2) 2" x 4" Front Legs cut to 28"  
  • (6) 2" x 4" Side & Middle Stiles cut to 18-1/2" 
  • (4) 2" x 4" Front & Back Rails cut to 46"  
  • (2) 2" x 4" Shelf Supports cut to 8" *
  • (11) 1" x 5" Counter Top & Back cut to 48" 
  • (5) 1" x 5" Bottom Shelf cut to 39" 
  • (1) 1" x 5" Upper Shelf cut to 16" 
*This dimension is an approximation, Actual size and shape will be cut in Step 2.

ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1

Cut out all material using the Lumber & Sheet Cut Layout Guide.
Step 1

Step 2

Take (2) of the 8" x 2" x 4" boards and measure down 1-1/2" on (1) end and make a mark. Set the miter saw at 45° and cut on the mark. Measure over 4" from the top and cut the remaining material off at a 90° cut. These are the (2) shelf supports.
Step 2

Step 3

Place (1) of the 46" rails across the (2) 28" front legs. Square up the corners and attach with the (2) #8 x 2-1/2" deck screws at each attachment point.
 
Follow this attachment method throughout the frame assembly.
 
PRO-TIP: Pre-drill a 1/8" hole where deck screws will be placed to help prevent the boards from splitting.
Step 3

Step 4

Measure 3-1/2" from the bottom of the front legs and attach another 46" rail.
Step 4

Step 5

Take the (2) 51-1/4" back legs and lay them down. Measure 28" from the bottom of both legs and make a mark. Then measure 3-1/2" and make a mark.

Place one 46" rail below the 28" mark and attach. Place the remaining 46” rail above the 3-1/2" mark and attach.
Step 5

Step 6

Attach an 18-1/2" board at each intersection on the face frame.
Step 6

Step 7

Put frame face down and place the back frame on top. Align the frames so they are square with each other. Attach back frame to the front frame.
Step 7

Step 8

Add the (2) remaining 18-1/2" boards to the middle of top and bottom rails.
Step 8

Step 9

Starting at the back, align (1) of the 1" x 5" x 39" bottom shelf boards with the back of the bottom rail.

Attach the shelf boards to the bottom and middle rails  with the #8 x 1-1/4" deck screws. Pre-drill holes with a 1/8" hole.
 
Work forward and attach the rest of the shelf boards. The boards should be snug with each other. other. The front most board will hang over the front rail about 1".
Step 9

Step 10

Attach (5) of the 48" counter boards to the top of the table using the same attachment method in Step 9. Make sure the overhang on both ends are equally spaced.
Step 10

Step 11

Find the center line through the length of the counter top. Mark a 12" point from each end as shown in the diagram.

Use the drawing compass to mark a circle with 10-7/8" diameter.
 
Drill a 3/8" hole on the inside of the circle line to allow the jigsaw blade to pass through.
Step 11

Step 12

Use a jigsaw to cut out the (2) circles.
Step 12

Step 13

Take (5) of the 48" boards and attach them to the back legs. Start from the bottom and work upwards.
Step 13

Step 14

The remaining 48" board will create the top shelf. Align it so the back edge of the 2" x 4" board and 1" x 5" board are even with each other as shown in the diagram.
Step 14

Step 15

Take the 1" x 5" x 16" board and mark a line 1-1/2" from each end. Take the shelf supports from step 2 and attach them to the board. Make sure the 4" side is flush with the board and the 3-1/2" is even with the back. Attach with #8 1-1/4" deck screws.
Step 15

Step 16

Measure 16" up from the top of the counter and mark a level line 12" in from the right side. This will align the center of the shelf with the circle. 
 
Attach the shelf from the back side of the #8 1-1/4" deck screws.
Step 16

Step 17

Sand and finish to your desire. Place 11" bowls in the circle cutouts.
  • Rougher finish: Use 60-80 grit sandpaper to hand sand with the grain of the wood
  • Smoother finish: Use 60-80 grit sandpaper to remove scratches and imperfections, followed by 120-220 grit to smooth
  • Finish sanding: Use 320-400 grit sandpaper
  • Super fine sanding: Use 600+ grit sandpaper
Step 17

GET READY TO PLAY

Now collect your spatulas, wooden spoons, ladles, pots, pans, containers, measuring cups, strainers and anything else you don’t use anymore and add it to the kitchen. Your little budding chef will have hours of fun measuring, mixing, filling, emptying, sifting, not to mention getting themselves all dirty. Grab a tub of dirt and keep the hose handy to clean off the kiddos after they’re done playing.
Fun Ideas:
  • Collect flowers, branches, leaves from the yard and use them as ingredients
  • Paint fruits and veggies on rocks and serve with a side of soil
  • Make mini mud pies using foil cupcake liners
  • Create a chalkboard menu 
  • Set up a small table, so your child can serve dinner
  • Fill the sink bowl with water to “wash” the dishes 
DID YOU KNOW? Playing in, or even digesting, a little dirt can be good for your health? Recent studies have shown that we all need dirt in our system to help develop healthy immune systems. 
 
We hope you and your little one enjoy hours of fun playing outdoors. If you do decide to build one, post your project pictures and tag us at #DoItWithHART. 
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