Tiki DIY: Turn ginormous tiki forks & spoons into cabinet pulls for your kitchen or tiki bar

When I was in Florida looking at condos, I came across a kitchen with fabulous kitchen cabinets pulls made out of a giant tiki fork and spoon. You know the kind I am talking about. I thought this would be an excellent Do It Yourself project for someone with the “right” kitchen or with an at-home tiki bar. This may be the most ridiculous story I have written yet… but that said, I saw these in a real, 1970s kitchen, in a fancy schmancy architect designed condo complex, even.

Start with a ginormous vintage tiki fork and spoon set…

 …and transform them into a tiki-tastic kitchen cabinet pulls:

The first photo is from an estate sale I went to this weekend. The second photo is from the original kitchen of the 1970s time capsule condo that I was looking at. Following are tips to create supersize tiki cabinet pulls like these for your own Polynesian-inspired kitchen or tiki bar:

  • If you’re going to make this tiki statement in a real kitchen, then I’d suggest very minimalistic pulls or no pulls at all on the rest of your cabinet doors and drawers. That’s the way it was done in the kitchen where I saw these original. The supersize spoon and fork are so dramatic, you need to edit around them.
  • The example I saw used the tiki spoon and fork as pulls for a wall cabinet in a small kitchen. If you are doing a tiki bar and don’t have wall cabinets, you could use these on base cabinets instead. Also, if it’s a tiki bar, I think you can forget my advice about “editing.” In tiki bars, less is not more — more is more.
  • You can look for the spoon and fork at thrift shops, estate sales, ebay and etsy. Usually, they are made of a lightweight wood, although I have a set made of cast iron. Cast iron is too heavy for this, get the wood! Once you create an intention to do this project, start sending your vibes out into the universe, and I bet the Retro Decorating Gods will send you a pair tout suit. I checked ebay just now and, yup, these things seem pretty abundant at prices that will not break the bank.
  • Ideally, your tiki fork and spoon will have a little arch to them — so you can grab them as a handle. If not, you are going to have to jimmy a solution — a small wood block, kind of the same concept as a shim,  that you paints or stain to match? — to create a little bit of space between each implement and the cabinet door.
  • To attach them …. hmmmm…. If there were not already holes designed into the fork and spoon, I’d probably try not to drill into them. I’d see if I could superglue the attachment hardware onto the back and then attach through holes in the cabinet door. In my True Kitchen example, it looks like there was an existing hole in the fork/spoon design at the top — so they just used that and repainted the screw; on the bottom, though, it looks like they used glue; I did not look to see. Alternatively, you could drill by countersinking them from the top, adding the screw, then covering up the hold with wood glue and painting over; this assumes you have the depth to do a countersink.
  • Once prepped and/or installed, you could either stain or paint the tiki fork and spoon in the color of your choice, or keep them their natural finish.
  • I hope I am using this technical jargon — “countertsink” — correctly.

Categoriestiki and bars
  1. Katey says:

    Very cool. Unfortunately I don’t have the wallspace for my Giant Tiki Fork & Spoon (bought for $3 at the Salvation Army when I was in college) in my current apartment (a 250 sq foot studio in a circa 1915 brick apartment building in historic Salem MA- the cutest black and white art deco bathroom- the kitchen sink and base cabinets were replaced in the 70s or 80s, unfortunately. I do have the original upper cabinets- I realize this is a bit out of the time scope of your blog but I love to gush about it. This isn’t a hacked-up Rosemary’s Baby apartment- it really appears to have been built to be a studio. I suspect that the big closet in my main room was probably home to a Murphy Bed in a former age.)

    But anyways, with such limited wall space I’ve had to make a lot of tough decisions about what to hang up. 🙁

  2. hannah says:

    My parents also had a modest sized set of Tiki spoon/fork hanging in the family room. I don’t know what happened to those but I did find two sets I had to have over the last few years. One is small and hanging over the sink by the window above, and the other is outside on the side porch. The ones outside are HUGE, and would only be good as handles on a fridge. :p Snagged those for $5 at the local flea market.

  3. Jamie D says:

    My parents had a huge tiki fork and spoon set hanging on the dining room wall for the longest time when I was little. I have no idea what’s happened to them. But my younger brother and I used to pull them off the wall and sit in a big box (my dad worked for Caloric so we always had huge oven boxes, best toys ever) and pretend we were rowing a boat.

  4. Marty says:

    Although I have a lot if tiki stuff, and frequently see the big forks and spoons for cheap, I never got the point. To be honest, I thought they were kind’ve stupid. Now I know what to to with them.

  5. TappanTrailerTami says:

    LOL! This has to be one of your funkiest posts yet. Ginormous is good, as long as the plate of food isn’t equal in size, lest being a contestant on the Biggest Loser is a goal.

    Cool idea!

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