adventures in toy making

As I mentioned in a previous post, Mike and I took some of our Christmas money and purchased a scroll saw for toy making.  We wanted a hobby to share and this fits the bill as I draw out the patterns {I draw them freehand onto paper, but got my inspiration from a few Etsy searches}, Mike cuts basic shapes out and he then brings them back to me so I can draw on details {with our $26 woodburner bought Michael’s}, paint {with NON TOXIC watercolour paints also purchased at Michael’s}, sand {with a Dremel sander purchased at local hardware store} and then sand again {with fine 220 grit sandpaper}.  Finally I polish them with our simple homemade beeswax polish {recipe found below}.

I have found Waldorf inspired wooden figures and toys to be expensive.  Please note, I am not saying overpriced, but expensive for our one income budget.  We figured we would be saving money by making toys for our own children as well as for nieces and nephews.  At the same time we set an example for our children, spend quality time connecting, and exercise our creativity.

I have grand visions of backgrounds and tree houses and storybook characters carved out of wood as well as our very own Waldorf Birthday Ring with a new design created for each birthday.  Oh what fun!

beeswax wood polish

1 cup olive oil + 2 ounces beeswax

melted together in a small crockpot designated for wax melting needs.  You can add a few drops of essential oils if you so wish at the end, but I prefer the simple smell of bees bums.

I used a soft baby cloth to massage it into the wood.

The warm polish feels buttery and smells heavenly.

Notes: 

I tried using some food grade mineral oil we had in our cupboard, but it tended to pull the paint pigments off of the wood.  Also, it is a by-product of petroleum distillation which is something we should not support more than we already do.

The above picture was taken while it was still hot.  It cooled into a solid yet spreadable waxy polish.  Lovely really.

You have to be sure your watercolours are certified AP non-toxic.  You can check the back of the label for this information.

I have also ventured into making our own felted play food.  My mom and I made these plus two cupcakes {because cupcakes are considered part of a healthy breakfast no?}.  It was fun, and one of my favourite parts of our pared down Christmas.  I bought the supplies at our local healthfood store {which doubles as the most incredible yarn, fiber, spinning, felting store I have ever seen}.  For about $18.00 I purchased two bags full of colourful roving; that should keep me/us busy for many moons.

It is a wonderful feeling to make toys for those you love from raw materials.  What do you love making?

go gently + be wonderful

e.

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10 Comments

  1. Posted January 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm by vic | Permalink

    That felt food is some of the best I have ever seen, I love it! That healthfood store sounds so good, too good… I’m a bit jealous.

    • Posted January 2, 2012 at 6:50 pm by erin | Permalink

      Oh wow! Thanks so much. And yes, the store is wonderful…perhaps even more so because it was the last thing I expected to find on the outskirts of our small town beside the funeral home…Ha!
      Thanks for writing :)
      e.

  2. Posted January 2, 2012 at 7:19 pm by Brittany | Permalink

    i love all of this. :) thanks for the recipe–i had actually been thinking about that recently. i actually love making little plush dolls. i choose a very simple shape and then paint and draw all the features on. i’ve really fallen out of it these past few years…should definitely make another soon. but i’ve been busy painting and learning to make clothes too. :)

    • Posted January 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm by erin | Permalink

      Those sound great!
      There are so many things I would love to learn to do, but one or two at a time as the littles don’t seem to want me to spend too much time with a sewing machine or knitting needles. I need something I can put down and come back to a little easier…everything has a season.
      good luck with your learning :)
      e.

  3. Posted January 3, 2012 at 1:14 am by Sara | Permalink

    I love the wooden figures…absolutely adorable! You’re so talented!

    • Posted January 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm by erin | Permalink

      Awe, thanks!
      Hope you’re doing well. I send healing vibes your way.
      e.

  4. Posted January 3, 2012 at 7:45 am by Stephanie K. | Permalink

    A favourite over the years has been food sewn from felt. We’ve had carrots, pears, peas, apples, berries, watermelon, orange segments, eggs…you name it. They’re so soft and appealing and the colours stay so bright, even after years. Tree blocks were also a hit, and sit on our coffee table in a wire basket for spontaneous building! Now that my kids are older, I knit characters for them: mermaids, ninjas, cowboys, etc. They still cherish the handmades more than any storeboughts…which warms my heart! This year, we’re going to do scroll-saw stuff, too (like you, I’m an “I can do that!” crafter…and on a budget…)

  5. Posted January 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm by Amberlea | Permalink

    Wow oh wow, those are so fantastic! Nice work you!
    I used non-toxic Milk Paint to colour some wooden toys I made for my niece once, but yes, the colour seemed to rub off with the finish… I love the thought of that sweet-smelling beeswax finish though — oh, Erin, will you ever cease to inspire me?!

    • Posted January 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm by erin | Permalink

      I would love to get my hands on some milk paint, but never seem to get around to ordering it.
      And I am quite certain it is the other way around dear.
      e.

  6. Posted April 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm by Lacey (schoolhouse l | Permalink

    sweeeeet. my husband has been making spoons, and we tried to invent a recipe, but this will be much easier, ours was a bit thick. Thanks for sharing!

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