Choosing the right coconut oil can make a difference. There are a few different brands of this out there, either of which will do the job. However, as a personal preference, I would go with an Organic version or if you can't spare the cash for that, try something that is at least from the natural isle.
You can apply this oil in 2 different ways, I find it much easier to bring the coconut oil to a warmer temperature (not hot, just enough to make it a liquid) and then applying it with either a brush, a small cloth. The other method would be to leave it at room temperature (a liquid solid) and apply it with my hands.
Allow the finish to sit on the blocks for 3 - 8 hours (depending on your schedule) to allow the wood to soak in the Coconut Oil. Typically I just let them sit over night.
After the blocks have sat for a time, there could be some excess oil left on the blocks, at this point you should buff them and then presto! You have finished the blocks.
Making and Applying Bee's Wax as a Natural Finish
There are different kinds of bee's wax on the market and you are going to need to choose one. Don't worry though , you don't need a lot, just 1 ounce (28 grams, 1/8 cup, 2 tablespoons) will make 1 batch. I typically go for organic bee's wax, but you can use all natural as well.
The next step is to shave off 1 ounce (28 grams, 1/8 cup, 2 tablespoons) from your wax brick and place into a wide mouth glass jar (small wide mouth canning jars work great). Add in also 4 ounces (113 grams, 1/2 cup, 8 tablespoons) of organic olive oil (all natural is fine too) into the glass jar with the wax.
You will now need place the jar into a pot of water and then bring the pot of water to medium - high heat until all the wax shavings have dissipated. After the wax has dissolved into the olive oil you will need to use a pot holder after the water has stopped boiling (never put your hand in hot water, it is best to let the water cool first) and put the wax mixture on the counter to cool.
As the wax cools, it will thicken up and become a waxy finish.
Note: during cooling it is not uncommon for the mix to harden on top into a hard disc, you can disrupt this by using the end of a utensil to break up the hardening wax to prevent it from coagulating.
After the wax has completely cooled you can apply the wax as you please (I use my hands) to the wood surfaces and set aside to dry for 4-8 hours (great for overnight). After the allotted dry time simply wipe off any excess with a rag and presto! You have done it!
Painting Wood Blocks
Choosing the right block size and type is indeed important, but its also important that you have unfinished clean wood surfaces to start with. This will help in making sure the paint and wood are in direct contact and will prolong the life of your work.
After you have selected your wood, its important that you pick the right pain for your application. Are these for kids? Are they going to recieve ruff treatment or end up being chewed on? What's most important is that you use non-toxic paint for anything that children will play with, milk paint is a great choice, but we will let you pick your non-toxic paint of choice.
Step 3 - Finishing
It's important that if you plan to allow children to play with your creation, that you seal them with either Bee's Wax, Coconut Oil or a customer trusted Mod Podge. This will go a long way in making sure your child is safe.
Product Liability and Warning
Please take the time to read our Product Liability and Warning statement in our Terms and Conditions before you buy or try.
Choosing the Right Wood for Your Project
Outline the Characteristics
Its important to remember that when you begin a project you should outline the characteristics of the end result. Is this for a child? Are you planning to paint the surface? How many do I need? All of these questions and others are very important in defining your lumber needs for your project.
Hard Wood Vs. Soft Wood
As a general rule, hard wood is heavier and stronger than soft wood, but is also more expensive. However is hard wood always the best choice? For toys and blocks for children, generally you will want to go with a harder wood that is not going to end up breaking under the pressures of child play. However if you are looking to do arts and crafts, you don't need to have the strongest wood available or the more beautiful grain color because these blocks will not receive the same rigorous treatment as children's toys.
Sanded Edges Vs. Not
Children's toys are meant to be well constructed, educational and safe, so the best choice for anything a child will play with is to have the edges Sanded. Straight edged corners are more artsy and provide a desired formal look.
If your still not satisfied or you want to know more, take a look at our FAQs page or go ahead and contact us for our opinion.
Using Mod Podge
I have had many customers use this item to seal their work and create a nice thin, but hard layer. It is available in craft stores and more for about $8 - $15 or so. Best of all, Mod Podge is water-based and non-toxic. Note that this item is non-toxic but not FDA approved as food safe.
After you have completed your project, it is now time to apply Mod Podge.
Apply a first layer of Mod Podge to your work and let dry 15-20 minutes.
Note: If you are pasting pictures or extra decor to your work, you should apply Mod Podge to both sides of the decor and allow it to dry 15-20 minutes before your first coat over the whole piece.
After your first encompassing layer has been allowed to dry, go ahead and apply a second coat to the piece and allow to dry for 24 hours. Project complete!