How to Safely Paint Wooden Toys

Emma from ECOS 06/15/2023
How to Safely Paint Wooden Toys

Wooden toys painted with ECOS Paints. Images courtesy of Oh, Little Wren

So you found some old wooden toys at a yard sale or you received some hand-me-down blocks from a friend. For whatever reason, you’ve found yourself wanting to freshen up a wooden toy with a nice, new coat of paint. But is it safe to paint your child’s toys? Especially toys for babies or toddlers that get sucked and chewed on? You’re wise to ask because the answer is sometimes “no.” Read on for a step-by-step guide to painting wooden toys the right way.

Before you start the project

Check for lead

Examine the toy and try to assess whether the toy is antique (pre-1978)? Since the toy would be over forty years old at this point it shouldn't be too hard to see if it's possibly unsafe. If your toy appears to be on the older side, then you need to be very careful. If there’s an existing coat of paint, it’s highly likely to be lead paint and not suitable for your child to play with. If you’re unsure, get a lead test kit from your local hardware store. While lead paint in your home is best either professionally removed or covered, lead paint on a toy is an unsolvable problem - if you were hoping your child could play with it.

Have the right supplies

Ensure you're using a healthier paint product. ECOS paints come with ingredient lists, testing results and are EN-71 certified for use on toys.

How to safely paint wooden toys

Don't skip the prep work

  • Protect your work surface by putting down old newspaper, a drop cloth or some other covering.
  • Lightly sand the toy just to rough the finish and scuff it up. This helps the paint adhere to the toy.
  • Clean off the dust with a tack cloth or damp rag.
  • Make sure the wood is completely dry before applying any paint. If you're unsure, let it sit overnight.

Now for the fun part

  • Apply a thin, but ample, coat of paint. Our 2-ounce sample sizes are perfect for small painting projects like this. For an easy-to-clean surface, use a semi-gloss or gloss finish. For a more translucent look that will allow the wood grain to show through you can dilute the paint with a small amount of water so it acts more like a stain.
  • After allowing the first coat to fully dry, apply a second coat.
  • The paint will take 7-10 days to fully cure and harden, so have patience before letting your little one start playing!

You can rely on ECOS Paints for all of your toy painting needs. Still have questions? Contact us today to discuss your project - we'd be happy to help!

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