Making Wooden Toys From Scratch

Tools and Workshop

Wooden toys like blocks, rocking horses, dollhouses, game boards and pieces, trucks, trains, cars, and jointed animals or people are easy to make from scratch provided you have the right tools. You need a band saw, a drill, a sander and a router as well as an assortment of hand tools. It also helps to have a vice grip. Set up your workshop so that it is clean, well lit and has a long work table.

The Wood

Choose the right wood for your toys. Do not use plywood or composite board. Pine boards are soft, so while they are less expensive than hard wood, they tend to get dented and break if the toys are played with roughly. Maple and ash are good hardwood options for toys. Select the boards based on their thickness according to your plans. Avoid using boards that are cracked or have knots.

Make the Toys

Draw or purchase full-size patterns for your wooden toy project. Cut the pattern pieces out before tracing them onto the wood. Use the band saw to cut the wood by following the outlines. Sand each piece carefully so that there aren't any splinters. Use a router to create channels to fit two pieces of wood together if you are making a truck or dollhouse. Use a drill to make holes for windows and pegs.

Use Nontoxic Materials

Since you are making toys that are likely to end up in a child's mouth, use only nontoxic glues, paints and finishes. Don't assemble the toys with nails. If you must use hardware, use screws because they won't easily pull out of the wood. Safe toys don't break or have small parts that could be swallowed.

About this Author

Lesley Barker, M.A.T., is the author of St. Louis Gateway Rail-The 1970s, The Eye Can Too! Read series of e-books, and numerous articles that have appeared in print magazines since the 1980s and, more recently, online. She also works as a grant-writer for nonprofits and as an optometric vision therapist.