Building a Wooden Play Fridge

Obviously, Elizabeth’s play kitchen would not be complete without a wooden play refrigerator to go with it, right? So Courtney and I decided to build one ourselves. (I know, right?)

Well, our wood wasn’t totally straight, so Courtney started by sitting on top of it while I drilled holes and screwed in screws to hold it straight.

We look so official, don’t we? Like we know what we are doing?

See? Me looking official with a screwdriver, adding the bottom shelf.

Real builders sit on their work while they screw*.

This picture is included just because people keep asking to see pictures of my hair since I had it professionally straightened. See how smooth? (And I’ll take some proper pictures some day, I just keep forgetting.)

And then, real builders get toddlers to stand on top of their work to flatten it.

One toddler is totally not heavy enough to flatten wood.

Elizabeth checks out the inside of the fridge.

Hey, look! We added a fridge door. See those hinges? Funny story. We took the first hinge out of the package and couldn’t get it to hinge. It didn’t bend, no matter what we did to it. We examined the other three hinges to see if the first one was defective. Nope, they didn’t bend either. We discussed it. We decided that hinging was actually a fairly imperative thing for a hinge to do. Courtney called the hardware store where I bought them. (I made lunch during this time, but that is less applicable to the story.) The people at the store went and found the same hinge from the shelf, examined it, discussed it among themselves, and eventually decided that the hinges would bend, but only after they were attached. We were intrigued. We tried attaching one and low and behold, it hinged. (Apparently, they require some substance behind them to move and just our hands weren’t enough.)

Look! A reasonably finished fridge. We decided that we were stupid to put the doors on before we painted it, so we stopped and we have to remove the doors, paint, and reattach the doors. We also have to put a lot of wood filler on screw holes and knotholes that were in the wood. (And we have to do those two things in the opposite order.)


Verdict: Not that hard to build. (So far.) But I am stupid for not just calling up the person who built Elizabeth’s play kitchen and seeing how much they’d charge for a play fridge. I suspect that it wouldn’t be a whole lot more than I’ve spent on materials already. And then we wouldn’t have to build it ourselves.

Verdict, Part Two: Courtney is an excellent person to build a wooden refrigerator with. She was totally patient, good at holding things in place, and she didn’t at all kill me with a hammer when I looked at the freezer door (at the end of a very long day) and said “no, I think we should take it off again and move the screws over two millimeters.” Also we do a lot of thinking alike which is really convenient when working with power tools.

Verdict, Part Three: And I am not even kidding, three minutes into playing with it, Elizabeth broke the freezer door in half. I was watching her and it was totally not her fault, she wasn’t being rough or anything. It broke along the wood grain, I think it was just a bad piece of wood. (Also, if you do this, buy the more expensive wood. My wood sucked.) So I need to get a new door cut and reattach that.

More play fridge building to come. You know, if we ever finish it.

*That’s what she said.