What inspired your project?
I had seen the Kmart cubby hack circulating the internet over the past couple of years and knew I wanted to give one a go when I had children of my own. My son doesn’t have many toys and adores being outside, so I thought it would be a perfect first birthday present for him.
I originally just wanted to create a police station as there are police on my side of the family, but my son’s grandfather is a fireman we decided to incorporate both into the project. I’ve always been a little old fashioned and pictured a colourful vintage main street like the ones you see in Disneyland, which is what inspired the design.
Have you made many things before?
I love browsing other people’s DIY projects, and finding ways to create something similar. Other times I see other people's projects and feel inspired to make something truly unique in an affordable manner.
I've handmade a lot of my son’s nursery décor, sometimes with help from my mum. I definitely get my creative side from growing up watching her sew and paint. I don’t have any trained skills; I’ve just taught myself as I’ve gone along.
What kind of look were you after?
A vintage-style main street was my inspiration, but I still wanted it to be colourful and stimulating for my son. I had the streets of Disneyland in mind.
What were the biggest challenges?
A few challenges popped up along the way. The first was working out how to turn two Kmart cubby houses into one by joining existing pieces from the pack. I had seen many double cubby house hacks where the middle was joined by a flat roof but I really wanted to have a high roof so that as my son gets older he will still be able to play in it.
After using all the pieces from the packs, there were still some gaps in the roof I needed to fill in. I didn’t want to spend money on extra wood, so I found old floor boards in my shed and cut them to fit. Cutting these angles by hand was also quite a challenge.
The DIY process
- Constructed the two Kmart cubby houses and joined them together by flipping two side walls out to create one long house.
- Attached roof to the centre panels of the house, and half of the roof to either end.
- Filled in the roof gaps with old floor boards cut to size and nailed in place.
- Sealed the roof with silicone.
- Painted two undercoats inside and out.
- Applied two external coats of paint in different colours to give the shop fronts their unique looks.
- Used painters tape and dry brushing for the firehouse bricks.
- Applied two coats of top coat white to the internal walls and ceilings.
- Attached hardware and fixtures to the exterior
- Spray painted broom handle offcuts black (left over from a past project) and drilled them into the police station window to create a jail.
- Measured and sewed window awning for the cafe using bias binding to finish off the edges and dowel to attach to the cubby.
- Made curtains from old fabric remnants and threaded on to dowel.
- Made the pom pom chandelier using craft supplies from Kmart.
- Attached handmade signs and cut out vinyl squares to decorate the window boxes for the police station cubby.
- Made cafe benchtop using a Kmart chopping board and brackets.
- Added in Kmart furniture and second hand play toys.
- 2 cubby houses, Kmart, $199 each
- Paint, including 4L undercoat, 6L white exterior paint and tint purchased separately for individual colours, Bunnings, $120
- Floor boards, gifted from community
- Interior furniture sets, Kmart, $77
- Wooden toy food, second hand
- Wooden coffee shop set, wooden work from home set, wooden pots and pans set & wooden emergency vehicles, Kmart, $65
- Pom pom chandelier, made from Kmart crafts, $14
- Cafe counter, made from chopping board, Kmart, $15
- Brackets, Bunnings, $22
- First house, AliExpress, $10
- Fire hydrant, Bunnings warehouse (made from pvc pipe pieces, plastic plates and bowls), $20
- Door handles, eBay, $12
- Vinyl for signs and checkerboard, Vinylworld, $6
Total cost: $759
Favourite part of the project?
The lovely signs were made by my mum using a Cricut machine and vinyl, and I think they really brought it all together.