I love seeing my son playing with toys I have made. When he was a newborn I enlisted my husband to help me build a baby gym, and it is one of the things we plan to retains as a keepsake. It is also one of the toys he uses the most. It always brings a smile to my face when I watch him play with his gym, and that project has encouraged me to continue making DIY toys for him. If you have been following this blog, you’ll remember that I also made a felt ball mobile.

I love wooden toys. We have purchased a few from HABA and Grimms Wooden Toys. I like how they look, and I like how safe they are for little hands and mouths.

Those wooden toys inspired me to DIY wooden toys for my son. My goal was to make wooden toys for my son that he could keep and play with for years to come.

When it comes to woodworking my abilities are limited to sanding and maybe drilling, if it’s easy. So, rather than making my own shapes, I turned to Etsy. I found a really nice assortment of unfinished wooden shapes and toys. This was perfect for what I was looking for, and after browsing through hundreds of listings, I settled on a set of sea creatures. My set includes a large wooden whale (about 10 inches wide), a couple of dolphins, and an octopus. Check out the picture below to see the full set.

Another reason I like to DIY toys is that I can have an impact on the quality of materials, and I can make sure they are baby safe. For this set, I did a bit of research and found that the best option for painting my toys is to use milk paints. Milk paints are safe for baby toys because they contain ingredients, such as milk protein, lime, and earth pigments that make them non-toxic. Commercial, petroleum-based paints release VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), in other words toxic gases, while they’re drying. In some cases, gases can be released for years, and they can affect the immune system, overall brain function and other organs. You can get more information about the safety of milk paints here.

For this project you would need

  • unfinished wooden toys
  • an assortment of milk paints (tester size)
  • sealant. (I reached out to Real Milk Paint to ask about the best sealant for children’s wooden toys, and they recommended hemp oil.)

Here are the materials I purchased.

RMP_Hemp-Oil_Collection_2017 il_570xN.577211992_qb5o isla_500x500.19532975_jxn3r46y

I prepped the toys by sanding the crannies with my dremel and I used a sander for the larger flat sides. I also hand sanded when I felt the toy was too small to handle the sander. Being able to use the dremel and sander made prepping a lot easier and more fun. Once the wooden toys were sanded, I rinsed them with water and allowed them to dry completely.

Milk paints come in powder form and you have to mix them with water yourself. The amount of water determines the viscosity of the paint. Generally it’s a 1:1 ratio, and you can thin the paint by adding more water to create stains.

Pro tip: make enough paint to complete each piece or write down your portions for the future since paint consistency and color can change every time you mix it.

Here are the finished sea creatures! I am so happy this the result. Especially after sealing them, they look beautiful. You can click below to purchase a finished set.

Under the Sea Wooden Toys

Under the Sea Wooden Toy Set Includes:

  • 1 Sperm Whale
  • 1 Starfish
  • 2 Dolphins
  • 1 Eel
  • 1 Killer Whale
  • 1 Sea Turtle
  • 1 Sea Shell
  • 1 Manta Ray
  • 1 Octopus
All toys are made from pine, painted with milk paints, and sealed with hemp oil. Some variation in color may occur. Reach out to me for special color requests. Made to order, please allow two to three weeks for shipping.


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