Build Your Own Wooden Toys

Build Your Own Wooden Toys – Looking for a fun DIY homemade toy project to make with your kids? Check out this awesome wooden robot toy I made from 2x4s and 2x2s. This is a great project to use up some scraps you have hanging around the store and would make a great gift for kids. Enjoy the build!

The first step in this project is to cut the slot for the robot’s face. I was making a bunch of these homemade toy kits for the Atlanta Maker Faire last weekend, so I ran an 8 foot long 2×4 across my table with a cut depth of about ¼” and the fence set at about 1”. Not all measurements need to be exact for this project, you can look at this robot if you want.

Build Your Own Wooden Toys

If you’re building one of these robots from scrap, you’ll probably want to use a table saw as well, since a circular saw can be a bit fiddly on a small piece.

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After cutting out the face, cut out the head for the robot. The head and body are 3.5″ square, so cut a 3 ½” piece from your 2×4 to make the head. You should be left with a square with a slot for the face.

Using a forstner bit, drill a few holes for the eyes. I used a drill press with a fence since I had to make a bunch of holes over and over, but you could just as easily use a handheld drill. A forsterner bit leaves a small hole in the center of the hole, making it look more like an eye.

Now, cut the body like you cut the head. Again, the body is a 3 ½” square, so cut a 3 ½” piece from a 2×4.

Once you’ve cut out the head and body pieces for your homemade toy robot, you’ll need to drill holes to feed the rope through. On the head, drill a vertical hole, roughly centered on the piece. Go all the way through the head and make sure you use one that is big enough so you can thread the rope through the hole later.

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Next, drill holes in the body. I oriented the body against the head to give a little contrast. I drilled the vertical hole in the side grain of the head and the end grain of the body. Once you’ve got the vertical hole drilled in the body, you’ll need to drill two horizontal holes for the rope to run through your arms and legs. Drill them in a different plane from the vertical holes, so that the ropes do not run into each other when attaching the head to the body and the arms and legs to the body. More on that later.

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After drilling holes in the head and body, drill holes in the arms and legs. I’m obviously missing some footage of cutting the arms and legs, but they’re the same concept as the head and body, except cut from 2×2 material. I set my stop block at 1 ½” on the miter saw and made 1 ½” cubes. Once you cut them out, drill the holes for the arms and legs. Again, roughly center the hole.

Now the fun part, the sanding! Or not. I made this 30 homemade toy kit for the Atlanta Maker Faire, which meant I had 180 small pieces of wood to sand. Fortunately, the oscillating belt sander made quick work of the 2×4 pieces, but the 2×2 pieces were too small to use the belt sander without cutting off my finger tips. I hand rolled 120 arm and leg pieces each. Needless to say, my arms were very tired by the end of that sanding session.

After sanding, I decided to add a little flair to my robot and cut a tie for it on the bandsaw. I used a small scrap piece of sapele, leftover from my guitar build, and roughed out the shape on the bandsaw and then sanded it smooth by hand.

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To add some color to the eyes and face, I spray painted the entire front surface of the head, making sure to fill in the eyes and face, and then brushed off the paint when dry. This leaves you with paint on the eyes and face and adds a nice contrast.

For the finish, I used a simple spray polyurethane. If it’s for your kids and you think they might be putting pieces in their mouths, you might want to consider a food safe finish like a mineral oil or salad bowl finish. There are many good options out there, just do some research and you will find something that works for you.

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Once you’ve applied your finish, it’s time for assembly. First, I tied knots at each end and threaded the rope through the head. Next, I threaded the same rope vertically through the body and tied another knot at the bottom. Next, I tried threading the rope horizontally through the body for the legs and feet.

Unfortunately, this is where I realized I made a big mistake. I drilled the vertical and horizontal holes in the body in the same plane, since the fence was set in the same position for all my holes. This meant that, once I went to assemble the robots, I couldn’t thread the rope for the arms and legs because the rope was sticking holes vertically through the body.

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Of course, I hadn’t assembled a test robot before building 30 of these kits, so I had to rethink the way I attached the legs and arms. If you are building this kit from scratch, I would recommend drilling the holes slightly offset from each other to avoid this. That way, you don’t have to deal with any glue.

For my robot, and also if you got a kit from me at Maker Faire in Atlanta, you will need to cut small pieces of rope for the legs and arms and tie knots to secure the pieces. Next, you need to glue the rope to the holes on the sides of the body.

I used 5 minute epoxy, but you can try Elmer’s Glue, a hot glue gun, or any other strong glue. If you’ve got it together with your kids, Elmer’s glue is probably your best bet. Use liberally to ensure that hands and feet don’t pop off later. Once the glue is set up, you complete the robot!

I hope you enjoyed making this easy homemade toy robot! If you build your own robot, I’d love to see it. Leave a comment below or tag me on social media @ so I can see what you come up with

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I’ve always enjoyed working with wood and my bias grew after Budstar was born. Like many parents, I was concerned for his safety and well-being, and wood seemed like a trusted ingredient among so many unknowns. Wooden toys are sturdy, free of artificial chemicals and have certain antibacterial properties. We don’t follow a particular educational philosophy in our house, but I’m always interested in reading about different alternative approaches, and it’s worth noting that wood has a place in many of them. Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools recognize wooden toys for their natural aesthetic value. I find the wood very beautiful and pleasant to play with!

Despite my admiration for wooden toys, I rarely buy any. Why? The process of creating them invites a lot of fun and personalization Also, wooden toys are often more expensive than their plastic alternatives, so getting a few simple tools can save parents some money. Here is a list of my favorite projects. Some of them, like those involving wooden blocks, are very simple and require no tools, and some, like full-sized dollhouses, will take a few evenings to complete, but will leave you with an heirloom-quality item. gift With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about fun DIY gifts. And what kids don’t like dollhouses? So I partnered with Kreg Tools and their project planning build site,, to create a fun DIY dollhouse.

If your kids love playing with horses or other farm animals, they’ll have endless hours of playtime with this cute wooden toy barn.

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This was the design of the barn doll

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