Since I purchased milk paints I am addicted to painting wooden toys for my son. I’m so happy with the results, and I feel good knowing the paints and oil (to seal) I’m using are safe for him.
If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll remember the first toys I painted with milk paints were this set of wooden sea creatures. As soon as I was done painting and sealing them, I started browsing for what I would tackle next. I’m trying to follow a lose Montessori model, and we have stayed away from commercial toys and instead opted for wooden toys.
My order of Montessori inspired toys included unfinished peg dolls with cups, bowls with acorns, and wooden “coins”.
I ordered everything from Etsy, and most of it was from Clickity Clack. I’ve been happy with the quality and how quickly their items ship out. They’re also made in the US, and I like to support locally made shops whenever possible.
As soon as I received them, I got to work! Not all of these toys are age appropriate for my son, but I painted them at the same time so in the future he can practice additional skills like sorting, counting and more.
I’m not going to sugar coat it, this project is a bit of work. It takes a few coats of paint to complete each piece as well as a few coats of oil to seal every item. By a few coats, I mean at least 5. Anyway, every good project requires some work. For me, the inspiration for this project came from a toy I purchased from Grimms Wooden toys. These beads are really fabulous. My son has played with them for months you can see the different skills he has developed by how he handles the beads.
You’re probably wondering why there are shot glasses in that picture, is this some sort of drinking game? Ha! I wish I’d popped a bottle of bubbly while tackling this project, but no, these are part of my supplies. Since I’m not painting a lot of real estate, the shot glasses were the perfect size for my paints. Let’s get started shall we?
Here are the steps I took to make my own Montessori inspired wooden toys.
- Pick the paint colors you’re going to use and measure them out exactly the same for each color. My mix was one part paint to three parts water. It wasn’t very thick which is why I used multiple coats. I prefer painting this way because you wind up with a more even finish. I had ten sets and had to select ten colors. I didn’t have all the colors I wanted to use, but I do have primary colors as well as black and white, so I can pretty much create any color I want. I mixed and created some of my favorite colors for this project. The only thing to be careful of, if you chose to mix your own colors, is to keep the ratio of water to paint consistent to ensure your toys all have a matching finish. My inspiration was very useful in helping me figure out which colors to use.
- That was a winded intro to step two. Paint, paint, and paint. Allow each coat to dry before applying your next coat. I used a drying rack and I line my counter with cookie sheets. Not pro, but it works for me, and they are things I have around the house. This is what they look like prior to being sealed. As you can see, milk paints are very matte, and almost a bit chalky.
- Once your toys are completely dry, it is time to start sealing. This can be a process, and I have found the best time to start sealing is early in the morning. This gives me all day for multiple coats and overnight to dry.
- You should continue to coat until the oil remains saturated for 40 minutes to 1.5 hours. Once this happens, you can consider it your final coat. This is what my toys looked like when they were drying. I was careful not to let pools of oil form since I kept checking on them throughout the day. I also separated the toys after I took this video.
That is all. With a little bit of elbow grease, it was easy to create my own Montessori inspired wooden toys. I was really happy with the results, I especially love how some of the colors I used came together. Here is a final picture. and a few closeups.