Top 7 Tips For Making Great Toys
Or How To Make Toys That Look Better Than Those In The Store
1. Use Natural Materials
There are tons of toys already made of cheap plastic and other preprocessed trash. Why would you want to make one more? You wouldn't of course. One of the best things about handmade toys is that they are made of natural materials - wood, fabric, stone, clay, silk, cotton...
Not only that toys made of natural stuff look and feel better - they are easier to make. Working with wood or natural fabric is nice and safe for almost all ages.
2. Choose Original Toy Design
It's quite important to choose the toy design before you start working on it. Here is a great place to get inspiration. If you can make one of those toys, that is what I call really cool! You don't have to follow the design exactly, but for sure you can get an idea. So browse the web, check out some cool toys, decide what kind of toy you want to make and then start.
No, don't kiss the toy or the tools! KISS means "keep it simple, stupid". And giving this tip here means, well, not to try to make the most complicated toy out there. It's certainly not a bad idea to make a complex wind-up toy but this requires a lot of experience and precision. On the other hand almost everyone can make a simple wooden toy with a little practice and patience. So if you are just starting, choose the latter. Toys made of fabric and plush are also good for beginners.
4. Test With Paper
Before wasting time and perhaps expensive materials on your toy, make a model from paper. Obviously this won't be suitable for all kind of toys - for example, plush toys or wooden carved toys hardly can be made of paper. But any toys that consist of parts or have some mechanics most probably can be done as paper models. Cut your parts from paper, clue them together and test whether the sizes are correct and everything comes so-so together. This way you will rehearse the real work and will verify how the toy will look like.
Of course there is no guarantee that when you make the toy successfully from paper you won't screw up the real one ;)
5. Paint Your Toys.
Some toys look great having the original color of the material. That's especially true for some old-fashioned wooden toys. But most toys are far more attractive when painted. If the design you have selected doesn't suggest specific colors, just come up with your own ideas. Again, you can get a lot of inspiration from other toys and designs published online.
And here is how to prepare toys for painting.
6. Use Cams and Cranks
If you really want to make g-r-e-a-t toys, consider building something mechanical with gears. With cams and cranks you can make amazing moving toys which will always impress the kids more than static toys. And don't think that it's too hard - it is not. See for example how you can make cam toys from scratch.
Typically handmade crank and cam toys will be made of wood with perhaps some metal elements. Don't be afraid to experiment with materials and even to include parts of old broken toys (some plastic wheels can be very useful when reborn for new life).
7. Remember the Safety
No article about making toys can go without a few safety warnings! I know you know that you should be careful, but do you really know it? Bloody toys are very funny, but I can assure you there's not real blood in them. And that's good.
Be careful with woodworking tools and with needles when you work with fabric. And what's even more important - don't forget that the toy you make should be safe for the children who will play with it. There is a long article about toys safety at Wikipedia and it's well worth a look.Technorati ZN7XJTKTHC8N
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