Organize & Clean

How To Make a Toy Grill for $20

published Apr 13, 2012
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After being blown away by so many stunning DIY play kitchens, we’ve decided to take the cooking outdoors for summertime. This toy grill can be knocked out in a day for a grand total of under $20 (even less if you already have a plastic mixing bowl on hand). It’s easy! You only need to know how to cut a dowel with a handsaw and drill a hole. And if you’ve never tried before, now is the perfect time!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


• large plastic mixing bowl, at least 12″ diameter
• one 1″ x 48″ dowel
• three 1/4″ x 48″ dowels
• one 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 36″ wood strip
• three #6 1″ wood screws
• three washers 1″ diameter with 1/8″ hole
• wood glue
• sandpaper
• paint
• aluminum pie tin, jar lid, or other circle for “ash catcher”


• drill
• 1/16″ drill bit
• 1/4″ drill bit
• screwdriver
• power miter saw or handsaw with miter box
• craft knife

Note: All measurements are based on a plastic bowl that is 12″ in diameter. If you are using a different sized bowl, you will have to adjust the lengths of the wood you cut for the grill top.

1. Cut the 1″ dowel into 3 leg pieces that are each 14″ in length. One end of each piece should be cut at a 22.5 degree miter.

2. Using the 1/16″ drill bit, drill a pilot hole one inch deep into the mitered end of each leg.

3. Mark 3 points on the bottom of the plastic bowl. Make sure they aren’t closer than a half an inch from the edge. You can find a picture of an equilateral triangle on the internet to use for a guide if you’d like. Drill a hole through each point using the 1/16″ drill bit.

4. Screw the legs to the bowl with the washer inside the bowl as shown in the photo.

5. Cut the 1/4″ dowels into eleven pieces of the lengths shown in the photo. To cut them, score with a craft knife as deeply as you can, then snap them. Mark the middle of each piece with a pencil and then mark 1.5″ away from center as shown. Sand off any rough edges.

6. Cut the 3/4″ x 3/4″ wood into two 11″ strips and sand the rough edges. Mark the center, and then make marks 1 inch apart for the whole length of the strips. You should have 11 marks on each.

7. Lay the strips out parallel with a 3 inch space between them. Glue the dowels down every inch with a generous amount of wood glue as shown. The marks you made on the dowels should correspond to the inner edges of the square strips. Let it dry completely.

8. Mark with a pencil 8 inches up the inside of each leg. From that point, mark 2 points a half an inch apart horizontally. Drill holes at those points on each leg with the 1/4″ drill bit. Each hole should be about 1/4″ deep.

9. Cut 3 pieces of 1/4″ dowel that are each 5.25″ long. Glue into the holes on the legs.

10. Paint the wood if you like or you can leave it unfinished if you prefer. Lay the grill top onto the bowl and add a small circular object for an ash catcher. The circle in the photo is a lid from a small cardboard box painted silver.

That’s it! You’re done! Now you can kick up your feet and let the little grill master in your life make you a plastic steak.