Restoration Project: Hape Toys Cook ‘n Serve Kitchen

Surprise Project 1 of 2 for our son Josiah King Bethea. He loves pretend play and since his birthday is coming up, I had to come up with with a gift that is both useful, peeks his imagination, something he won’t easily outgrow, AND budget friendly!!! These things are very important because kids his age easily gets bored with toys and eventually ends up becoming paperweight and clutter in the house. Which in my opinion is not a wise purchase if it only excites them for a moment. I firmly believe that if you have the right product, the price doesn’t matter as much because you get a better return on what you invested on.

Given the fact that our family just moved and the house needed repair, this mama had to get creative. I went and checked out Facebook Marketplace Community for a “wooden” pretend play products. Obviously I am on the lookout for something pre-owned. It doesn’t have to be in perfect condition. As long as it is still pristine and can be repaired. That’s when I came across this gem from Hape Toys … “Cook ‘n Serve Kitchen”. This is how it looks originally when bought brand new …

Hape Pretend Play KitchenPIN IT!


This play kitchen would cost $150 off the shelf. But I only got it for a couple of bucks. I consider that as a MAJOR WIN! To be honest it looked banged up in a lot of areas but it’s not too bad that it can’t be restored. I immediately thought “it just needs a touch of love and care”. But for real tho’, it needed a lot of effort on my end especially I am having a hard time with my pregnancy and I am 6+ months already. The reverse side of this kitchen features a chalkboard area that also had a few ripped areas, so that needed touching up too. But of course that’s not going to stop me from tinkering on things. This is what it looks like before doing any touch-ups and repair …

Hape Pretend Play Kitchen - before restorationPIN IT!

Pretend Play Toy RestorationPIN IT!

Pretend Play Toy RestorationPIN IT!

Hubby helped haul it home and I took care of the restoration. I pretty much had all items to restore this to its shining glory … except for Elmer’s wooden filler and a chalkboard paint which I had to order from Afterwards all I had to do was grab my arts and craft supplies and started going to work. But before anything else, I had to clean out all the dirt, gunk, and crayon stains off.

Pretend Play Toy RestorationPIN IT!

I used Home & Planet multipurpose cleaner and it worked like a charm. Mind you, the Lavender & Argan Oil smells absolutely amazing. No strong chemical like odor which made me love their product even more. After cleaning and disinfecting this pretend play kitchen, it is time to move to the next step of the restoration process …

Products Used:

  • Home & Planet multipurpose cleaner spray
  • Face Mask
  • Gloves
  • Elmer’s Carpenter’s Color Change Wood Filler
  • 3M All Purpose Sanding Sponge, Medium/Coarse Grit
  • Clear Gorilla Glue
  • Spackling Knife or an old Debit/Credit card
  • Contact Paper
  • Sherwin Williams White Paint
  • 3M Industrial Masking Tape
  • DecoArt Americana Chalkboard Paint, Black Slate

Step by Step:

  • Clean, Clean, Clean!
  • Apply the wood filler in the broken areas. Using a spackling knife or an old debit card, smooth out the product.
  • Using the clear gorilla glue, I have reinforced the cracks on the wood.
  • Once the wood filler dried out, I sanded it down to even out the roughness and help it blend in.
  • Even though the wood filler dried to a white color, I still painted it to match it with the rest.
  • Since the kitchen is missing its door, it leaves the inside exposed in its natural wood color. So, I painted the insides too.
  • The wooden divider in the center was also in natural plywood color. I have decided not to paint it.
  • Instead, using a contact paper I have covered it up top and bottom to create an accent in the center.
  • Then for the final touch, I have repaired the chalkboard area with a chalkboard paint.
  • Now it’s ready to be enjoyed for years to come!

Pretend Play Toy RestorationPIN IT!

Pretend Play Toy RestorationPIN IT!

Pretend Play Toy RestorationPIN IT!

The final result after the restoration turned out just how I envisioned it. I love it and I hope our son loves it just as much! While the kitchen door is still missing, it doesn’t look as shabby compare to how it looked before the restoration process.

Hape Pretend Play Kitchen - After RestorationPIN IT!

Eventually, I’ll get more craft supplies and hopefully a Cricut machine to create awesome vinyl prints, decor & labels for this pretend play kitchen.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • robin rue

    That is a very cute little kitchen. My niece would love it.

    • Catherine Santiago Jose
      robin rue

      Wow, this is such a cute gift to give to your son and you really definitely did an amazing job here.

  • Stacie

    You did an amazing job here! I love that you fixed this up rather than buying something else. That’s the most fun.

  • NicoLe

    You did a great job! Love this!

  • Amy Desrosiers

    I love being thrifty too! I think this play kitchen came out perfectly!

  • Brianne Tursi Manz

    I love how this turned out! You did an incredible job. Finding a toy for your son’s age can be difficult, so the fact that you found something inexpensive and restored it to something long-lasting is amazing.

  • Davindra

    Very nice work from start to finish. You’re very handy.

  • Heather

    I love so much about this. First, you did an incredible job! It looks brand new! And I LOVE that you took what someone else didn’t want and repurposed it for your own family.

  • Celebrate Woman Today

    Beautiful DIY restoration project! I have restored a lot of play toys for our son. He had played with those toys for a long time. Bravo!

  • Kathy

    This turned out really nice. I love it. My kids would love a play set like this too. They still enjoy playing, so I love this.

  • kita

    I am so bad when it comes to DIY. I gotta do better but I was just never good at it. I might try a small project and work up to something like this

  • Tara Pittman

    What a great find. I do love Gorilla glue for fixing things.

  • nate

    The restoration came out so good! Kudos to the hubbie for the repairs!

  • Cinny

    Great work on it so far! I’m sure with your additional plans, it’ll start looking even better!

  • Subhashish Roy

    Hats off to your creativity in coming out with this play kitchen. It’s not only cost effective but will appeal to the little one for a long time.

  • Kelly martin

    Great restoration job! This will be good for getting your son interested in cooking.

  • Toni

    That is really adorable! Kids will surely love that!

  • EmilY Zielinski

    This looks so cool!! I had one similar when I was growing up! I swear thats why i love to cook so much now

  • Catalina

    OMG! What a beautiful gift for a kid! I love this toy kitchen restoration! Thanks for these tips!

  • Annemarie LeBlanc

    You did a good job with the restoration. I am sure your son will have hours of fun playing in his pretend kitchen!

  • Jill

    You did such an amazing job on this! It really does look brand new. Fantastic!

  • Dana

    I would never know that this piece wasn’t brand new. You have some impressive DIY skills! Very nice!

  • Searcy

    Wow this looks great! I’ve been looking for one for my son. Thanks for sharing your tips.

  • Ntensibe Edgar Michael

    Yyyyooooo….that’s nice work you did there, you know! I love the woodwork.

  • Jennifer

    This looks amazing. I love it. It turned out perfect.

  • Crickette, The Things I Have to Say

    Wow!!! I would’ve loved something like this when I was young. This is sooooo cool! You are so talented. I love the precision in the design and construction.

  • Carrie | Clean Eating Kitchen

    Oh wow you did such a great job with this – it looks brand new! I’m sure your son loved it!

  • Cla

    It looks amazing! Just like new! You guys did a great job! I bet he’ll enjoy it!

  • Carolyn

    How fun! I loved reading this because I was thinking I wanted to make/refurbish something like this for my kiddo. I don’t know if he’d actually play with it yet, but I think a toy kitchen encourages creative play!

  • aisasami

    I love how you made your own kitchen play area! I really wish I could do for students one of these days!

  • jill nunn

    you did such a wonderful job of restoring this! I know the kids love it!

  • joy

    wow. that looks fabulous!! as a kid i would have loved this! and cuddos to the kids for knowing what crepes are.

    Joy at The Joyous Living

  • Shannon gurnee

    If I were a kid, I would be all over this! It looks like an awesome setup!

  • tweenselmom

    I didn’t know that you are into restoration too. That’s a fantastic skill!

  • Sushmita

    This is going to keep the kids so busy! Interesting 🙂


    Wow! This is really cool cooking toy. My nieces would definitely want this. It’s look like even real! Thank you for sharing.

  • AMY

    It looks you did it very easy and great! This is so perfect for kitchen fun of kids. For me this kitchen toy is really helpful for them to build they’re attitude in kitchen home. Because not everyone can cook their meal for themselves. This is awesome!

  • Laura

    You make it seem so easy! I wouldn’t even know where to start x


  • littlemisadvencha

    your kitchen is so cute… i love how you being thrifty can come up with this amazing work…

    Cha at Little MisadvenCHA

  • Emman Damian

    Great little kitchen for the little ones! They care really use it to unleash their creative side. So cute!

  • Nicz E

    That was such a great gift idea..! So surprising and the restoration is so great..! Good job guys..!

  • Jessa bonelli

    What a dope restoration project! That play kitchen looks better than a brand new one!

  • Melanie williams

    Oh wow you have done a great job here. I think this looks super cool and very cute x

  • Kiwi

    Wow this looks brand new. Great job and it shows just a little love can bring something back to life!