Saturday, March 02, 2013

Handmade Toys for Boys - Rainbow Stacker

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I've gotten several questions about where we got Cason's birthday presents, if we made them, how we made them, etc.

So, here you go, an overload of how we made Cason's colorful, wooden toys for his first birthday.

First off, I read constantly about Waldorf and Montessori teaching methods. They intrigue me. Their styles appeal to me - having children learn to "work," giving children wooden toys that spur the imagination and invite open-ended play, allowing children to grow through playing instead of academic lessons. I like it all.

I found these ideas while searching around for Waldorf toys. After making Cannon the activity/latches board for his first birthday, I just knew these would be the perfect first birthday gift for Cason.

The Wooden Rainbow

I originally saw this play rainbow on this website: Prudent Baby

We pretty much followed her directions. 

We had trouble finding wood similar to the size she mentioned: 14 x 7.5 x 2.5 inches. I even commented on her blog, asking about her wood source, only to learn that her father cut down a tree, dried the wood and cut the block himself. Well, since that wasn't an option, Danny finally went to a mill and got them to cut a piece of wood to his specifications, but it wasn't cheap (maybe around $50 for a piece big enough to make three of these). 

After Danny cut all the arches with a band saw, it was my job to sand. BY HAND. First I used a Dremel to take off the rough edges, then I sanded everything down with a rough sandpaper (maybe 80 grit) and then finished it off with a super fine sandpaper (maybe a 220 grit). I didn't want any splitters impeding imaginative play!

Finally, it was time to paint. I purchased these watercolors at Joanns (with a 40% coupon) and painted away. 

The final step was polishing every piece with Three BEEautiful Bees Beeswax Polish.

Both boys have enjoyed playing with the rainbow. They make arched roadways for their cars, boats for their Fisher Price people, and fenced in pens for their farm animals. The time and effort was definitely worth it for a fun, handmade toy. 

**Note: The only thing I haven't been pleased with is the fact that the paints are rubbing off onto each other, so red smudges are getting onto the yellow arch, as are green smudges, etc. If you don't want that happening, you might try sealing the rainbow or using soy paints instead. 

We were also looking at purchasing the Grimm's Rainbow Stacker, but decided we wanted to try our hand at making one instead. But that might be more up your alley if you don't want the labor-intensive work. You could also search for Rainbow Stackers on Etsy, but of course nothing was to my very particular liking at the time.

  © Blogger template 'A Click Apart' by 2008

Back to TOP