Learn how to build a mud kitchen that’s perfect for keeping the kids entertained outside. Here are step-by-step directions for making an outdoor kitchen for under $100. They’ll be cooking up nature soup and mud pies in no time.
Ready to learn how to build a mud kitchen? Last week, I didn’t even know there was such a thing and now here we are! I saw someone mention one on Instagram and I knew immediately that my kids would love one! They’ve been on a huge nature soup kick the past few weeks making soups and stews out of leaves, grass, dandelions, etc.
This is one of those times (and there are a lot of them) when it’s so nice to have a handy husband! I spent a few minutes scrolling through mud kitchens on Pinterest, screenshotted a few pictures to show him and asked him if he could build us one and six hours later, voila!
This is obviously not the only way you can build one. You could easily make one with just a board and some cinder blocks or using whatever wood you have laying around, but I LOVE the way ours turned out! Several people asked for dimensions, materials etc so we put together a blueprint and directions for how my husband made ours. Keep in mind we’re not a DIY blog AND we weren’t planning to turn this into a post so we didn’t do the best job taking photos. But my husband provided drawings for each step of assembly with measurements etc. Between those and the typed directions below, hopefully you’ll have a pretty good idea how to build one yourself!
How To Build A Mud Kitchen
- (7) cedar 2x4s
- (8) 6′ cedar fence boards
- 1.25-inch deck screws (approx 54) and 2.5-inch deck screws (approx 50)
- exterior stain (a great way to use some up if you have it laying around! We used what we had leftover after staining our screened porch)
- Rubbermaid 10 gallon plastic tub
Frame: 2 feet tall x 4 feet long (depth is dependent on the container you’re using for your “sink”)
Tub: We used a 10-gallon plastic Rubbermaid tub. Measuring just under the lip, it was 14.5″ wide x 20.75″ long. (We had to cut off the handles to make it fit down in the frame which was a pain so we recommend looking for one without handles.
Directions For How To Build A Mud Kitchen
**Scroll down for a link to a free PDF blueprint and printable directions**
Step 1: Assemble the frame for the cooktop using 2x4s.
- Cut one 2×4 in half for the long sides, which will be almost exactly 48″.
- Measure just below the lip of the tub you’re using to get measurements for the opening for your sink. Ours was 14.5″ wide x 20.75″ long.
- Cut the 4 shorter pieces of your frame to the length of your tub.
- Drill pilot holes and then use 2.5-inch deck screws to build your rectangular frame with two pieces in the middle to hold the tub between them.
Step 2: Add legs.
- Front legs are 24 inches, back legs are 48 inches to extend up and make the backsplash.
- Front legs go inside the frame and the back legs go outside the frame.
- Attach the front legs, then have someone hold it level while attaching the back legs.
Step 3: Make the lower shelf frame.
- Cut two 45″ pieces of 2×4 for the front and back.
- Cut three pieces that are three inches shorter than your side pieces for the cooktop. Ours were 17.75 inches since the sides to our cooktop were 20.75 inches. You can also just measure the distance between the front and back legs and subtract 3 inches.
- Drill pilot holes and use 2.5 inch deck screws.
Step 4: Attach the lower shelf frame.
- Attach lower shelf frame to the back of the front legs and the front of the back legs about 6 inches from the ground using 2.5 inch deck screws.
Step 5: Add cedar top, shelf top, and backsplash with fence boards
- Do the bottom shelf first. Measure from the outer edge to outer edge sides of the shelf frame. Cut 3 cedar fence boards to that length. Evenly space boards and attach with 1.25-inch deck screws to make a shelf.
- Do cooktop next. Cut 3 cedar fence boards after measuring from backsplash to front edge of 2×4. Start closest to tub on both sides and work out. There may be a little overhang on the outer pieces.
- For backsplash: Use fence board as a spacer when installing. We did 3 cedar fence boards and then a 2×4 level with the top
Step 6: Add 2×4 topper on the backsplash
- We added another 2×4 across the top, connecting it to the 2×4 running horizontally across the top of the backsplash and the top of the back legs.
Step 7: Sand the cooktop
- The cedar fence boards are rough sawn so we sanded them until smooth with 120 grit paper and a power sander.
- Hubby also rounded the edges and corners. Smooth surfaces are easier to keep clean and allowed us to draw “burners”.
Step 8: Draw the “burners”
- Draw cooktop burners by tracing circles and painting them black.
Step 9: Stain
- We used leftover stain from our porch to seal the wood.
- We also added a coat of exterior grade polyurethane to the countertop area to hold up better against mud and water. In addition, the black paint for the burners won’t accept the stain so the poly helps seal it in.
Step 10: Add the details
- We made knobs out of a leftover 2×4 to “turn the burners on”
- Add hooks, baskets etc if you want to!
- After we took the picture, we also added a cheap brass hose bibb to look like a faucet over the sink. (It was $5)
- Furnish with old pots and pans, pie tins, tupperware, old spice containers, spoons and ladles. Thrift stores and garage sales are great places to find supplies.
Since we didn’t have the best step-by-step photos to share, my husband sketched out a visual of each step of the process to help show you how we measured, where we put our screws etc.
A few suggestions:
- We recommend using cedar because it’s naturally resistant to decay without any chemicals and it smells good 🙂
- Cedar 2x4s are kinda pricey but the cedar fence boards are cheap so it all evened out! Our total came out to right around $100.
- You’ll need a buddy to help hold various pieces of wood in place while you’re drilling pilot holes etc.
Hope this helps! Happy playing!