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The Easiest Way to Dye Wood Toys

I love Grimms toys as much as the next person, but they can get pricey really quick! I own their rainbow as well as some other wood toys. I really love how open ended they are. I’ve been looking for ways to make rainbow dyed toys at home. With some trial and error, I found the easiest method to dye wood toys and I’m going to share it with you!

Here is a wide array of dyed wood toys that I made. There are wood rings, wooden peg people, wooden cones in rainbow colours.

The first thing I tried was using food colouring. I had heard of others having success dyeing wood using a few drops of food colouring in some water. I tried this and it was a huge flop. I was making some rainbow peg people for a friend and I wound up basically finger painting the food colouring onto the pegs. My hands turned every colour of the rainbow and it just didn’t really work for me. The next method I tried was using liquid watercolour. I didn’t even know this existed, but when I found it, it turned out to be the perfect thing to use! Watch out – like food colouring, it will stain your hands.

Materials

First, you want to choose a colour and pour it into your cup. I poured the entire content of the bottle into my cup. It makes it easier to submerge your wood completely. Then add the toys you want to dye and move them around until they’re completely covered by the paint. Finally, remove the toys and put them on paper towel to dry. Simple, right?

Here is a mug tree that is being used for sorting wooden rings. The rings were dyed using liquid watercolour.
Click on the photo for a link to the mug tree I bought

To avoid getting my hands too dirty, I used chopsticks to fish out the toys of the cup. When you’re done with a colour, pour it back into the bottle, rinse out your cup and repeat with a new colour.

Sealing wooden rings by using a beeswax sealer.
Dyed wooden balls using liquid watercolour

Once it’s dry, you’ll want to seal your wood. I used beeswax since I will be using these toys one day with my daughter. I wanted to make sure it was non-toxic. You could also use Mod Podge or a spray acrylic sealer if you’re not worried about children mouthing the toys.

Peg people that have been dyed using liquid watercolour.

Once you know how to dye wood toys, the opportunities are endless! I made these peg dolls above by dipping in portions of the dolls into the liquid. I love the results. I hope this helps you make some beautiful loose parts for your classroom or your home!

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