For the toys that needed a touch of color, paints like CraftSmart brand craft paints were used. The paints are non-toxic, child-safe and come in several colors. When used on bare wood the results are satisfying.
It’s recommended to paint the wood a couple of times sanding lightly with fine sandpaper between each coat. Applying four or five coats will result in a suede-like finish that shows only a little grain.
Above Left: The spindle sander smooths out those tight radiuses that are hard to get at.
Above Right: A thorough inspection insures that each toy has the proper smoothness.
Applying the final touches is the most intense step, and for some, the most fun. It’s at this point on the toy line the excitement begins to increase as they near the finish line.
Above: Gwinnett Woodworkers apply the finish coats to the toys. This is done prior to assembling the toys and adding wheels and axles. Woodworkers glue is used for assembly and each toy is carefully inspected to insure that there are no loose parts that might cause injury or could be swallowed.
Those hard to get at little nooks and crannies are touched up with a little sponge brush. Some of the toys have colorful details added using crafts paints such as CraftSmart from stores such as Hobby Lobby and Michael’s. The paints work well under polyurethane and paste finishes.
High quality coatings are used to apply a final protective finish to the toys. It is important that all finishes are non-toxic allowing each toy to be easily cleaned with a damp cloth after play.
Finishes like Rockler’s Toymaker’s Finish, a clear polyurethane varnish, make a tough and long-lasting surface finish that can provide either a matte or high gloss look. This finish requires a day or so to dry thoroughly but works great on large batches of toys. And it is totally safe for kids.
Another favorite finish is the time-tested beeswax and mineral oil mixture. This ideal paste wax formula creates a warm patina on the wood that accentuates the wood grain and is also very soft to the touch. An added benefit is the smell of honey and the almost hand lotion feel to the crafter’s hands as it is applied. It is easily wiped clean with a damp cloth. Repairs can be performed by simply adding additional paste. There is a detailed video on how to make this inexpensive miracle finish. Click here to view how to make a Beeswax Non-Toxic Wood Toy Finish video.
It is a labor of love that creates wonderful toys with a minimum of materials and cost. The results are astoundingly pleasing and lots of fun.
Above: There was a lot of bonding among the skilled woodworkers who took time out to lend a helping hand.
Sherman also noted that the team worked well together and found a renewed interest in making wood toys, “They’ve created an appealing line of wood toys with a professional look and finish while keeping the playful and innocent feel that allows for the creativity a child longs for. This is the essence of this project.”
The toys are guaranteed to bring a lot of joy to many kids around the Atlanta area. And each of them will have the opportunity to experience sharing a truly great and timeless possession with their friends. The final step was to carefully package the toys and put them in boxes for shipping.