When I was starting my home-based Montessori program I knew I really wanted a child sized sink available for the children to maximize their independence in preparing water lessons (like water color) and other classroom activities.
Installing plumbing into my classroom just was not feasible. I happened to spy an ad in Montessori Life Magazine for portable classroom sinks. I was immediately interested in these types of sinks but they were not affordable for my start-up budget.
My father in law is a skilled woodworker and I asked him to make a single basin portable sink for my classroom. Our sink only provides cold water and our water pump does make a audible humming sound, but the kids are fine with that. I change out the fresh water and empty the drainage/used water daily. Here is the result:
If you plan to make your own sink, here are some materials you will need to purchase. Please continue to read this whole post, I provided some links to various materials.
- Wood for cabinet and counter top
- Formica for exterior of cabinet (optional)
- Varnish (I vanished the inside of my cabinet to protect the wood from water leaks or spills)
- Hinges and handles for cabinet doors
- Stainless steel sink 6″ deep and faucet
- (2) 5 or 7 gallon jug containers for fresh water and drainage
- Water pump with an automatic shut-off (most expensive but crucial material)
- Fittings and tubing to accommodate drain and water pump.
Here are the dimensions of our classroom sink (click on pictures to enlarge):
Your cabinet will need to be large enough to fit the water pump and “drop” of the sink basin as well as, (2) square 5 gallon or 7 gallon sized containers. One container is for fresh water and the other container is for drainage/used water. We purchased our containers from Target. The brand is called Aqua-Tainer and the ones we used were food-grade, 7 gallon jugs. However, when posting this blog I found some other possible container options:
The type of sink we used is a stainless steel “bar” sink. The depth of the sink is 6″. You can find these sinks at Lowes and Home Depot. We are bargain hunters so we also checked Craigslist and Ebay for deals on these types of items. Here is a link from Lowes to give you an idea of price and sink dimensions:
The most expensive part of the sink was the water pump. Here is a link to the types of pump you will need to pump the water from the fresh water container up through the faucet:
Note: This type of sink only provides cold water. You will need to cap off the hot water connection on the faucet. Otherwise, the water will leak out of the hot water inlet when you turn on the cold water.
Here are some links to suppliers of portable sinks or you can simply Google “portable classroom sink”:
If you are creative and resourceful, you may be able to find an existing cabinet and modify it to suit the needs of your portable sink. Here are some ideas of people taking an old cabinet and transforming it into something wonderful:
I hope this post was helpful. 🙂