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A play kitchen on a deck in a small backyard with Henry's Mud Kitchen signage

Overview

A mud kitchen is an outdoor pretend play kitchen that gives children an opportunity to use their imagination, have fun and best of all – get messy! It’s easy to make your own with a bit of nifty know-how and a couple of old pallets.

Steps

1Gather your tools and materials

Below are all of the tools and materials you'll need to complete this project.
Timber, saw, drill, pencil, earmuffs, pot and more laid out on the ground.

2Cut your pallets

It's pretty easy to pick up old wooden packing pallets – they're always available through buy-and-sell sites. Once you've got some, start by cutting one pallet in half to create the sides of your kitchen – remember to wear hand, mouth and eye protection for this bit as it gets messy.
A pallet being dismantled with a saw

3Give the sides a light sand

Once you've made your cuts, give the edges a light sand – we used an electric sander for this, but a block and some heavy-duty sandpaper works just as well. Be thorough – you don't want little fingers jagging on splinters.
A pallet being sanded down

4Paint!

Once you've cut your sides, give them a paint. We used leftover fence paint, but any colour will do – head in-store to Bunnings to check out our extensive range.
Part of a pallet being painted Bunnings teal

5Attach to the benchtop

The next step is attaching your sides to the timber length you've picked for the top – we used durable marine ply for ours as it's perfect for outside use. Flip it upside down and place either side of the pallets on your panel, making sure the slatted sides are facing out. Drill pilot holes using a drill bit that is slightly smaller than your screw – these holes will prevent your wood from splitting – then drill your screws in as you go to keep your sides secure. Once all fitted together, this'll form the base of your kitchen.
Holes being drilled into a painted pallet

6Attach the back

For this bit, we're using L brackets. To make it easier to slot everything together, flip your kitchen onto its side, then position your brackets where you want them to go, and mark up with a pencil – this is where you'll drill your pilot holes. Then drill in your screws, making sure to use screws that aren't too long so they don't poke through to the other side. Don't forget to wear safety glasses for this bit!

A screw being added to the bottom of a table surface for a kids play kitchen

7Attach your 'sink'

No kitchen is complete without a sink – we're using a steel mixing bowl, attached to the sink with a nut and bolt. To securely attach it, drill a hole through the base of the bowl (as you're drilling through metal, use a small drill bit first and don't forget to wear eye protection). Grab a pencil and mark where you want your sink to go, then drill through your benchtop, attaching your sink using a bolt and wing nut.
Holes being drilled into a painted pallet for utensil hooks

8Add your hooks

The final step is to attach some hooks to hang your utensils. Drill pilot holes, then simply screw in your hooks.
A close up of a completed outdoor play kitchen complete with plastic utensils and a play coffee machine

9Style up a storm

Once you've built your kitchen, it's time to get creative! Cheap utensils are available from supermarkets and discount shops, and you can pick up lots of cute wooden kitchen accessories from the toy section. Why not personalise with your child's own name? Wooden letters are available from Bunnings – paint them up and attach using spray adhesive. Simple!
A play kitchen on a deck in a small backyard with Henry's Mud Kitchen signage

10Watch them get creative!

These outdoor mud kitchens are great at encouraging your kids to get involved in sensory play. They're also really good fun – no matter whether you're young or old! After all – who doesn't love making mud pies?

11Feeling crafty

We have plenty more craft ideas to choose from, or you can head to your local Bunnings store's craft aisle for inspiration.

Suggested products

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.