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Toy Safety - Not to Worry!
There are a lot of issues surrounding toy safety. The good news is the law is now very tolerant of the home crafter. You can download and view the official PDF guide from the Product Safety Commission concerning safety for crafts products. Anyone making crafts for sale or for charity will benefit greatly from studying the attachment thoroughly. Another great resource is Amber Dusick’s video on finishing toys for kids. Scroll down to the bottom of this web page and you will see her video. It’s wonderful and full of hints and concepts.
We've been receiving questions on how we obtain a non-toxic gloss or sheen finish on the wood toys we design. There are several ways to get a high gloss finish on the toys. For lots of tips and tricks for finishing toys from toymakers all around the world, we recommend visiting our Toymakers Forum. I’ll try to explain a couple of the toy finishing methods we recommend:
Polyurethane spray-on clear coat for a natural finish: Step One: Purchase a can of non-toxic spray-on polyurethane gloss or semi-gloss clear from your local Home Improvement or Hardware store. We currently use Krylon Triple Thick Clear in a spray can. All Krylon products are non-toxic when dry. Step Two: Sand the toy to a high level of smoothness with fine sandpaper. Do not assemble the wheels to the toy until all of the parts are finished to the final stage. Step Three: Spray the toy with a light coat of polyurethane clear. Let it dry thoroughly. I use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process. Do not dry it too fast or the paint will bubble. Step Four: Sand the toy with very fine sandpaper (200 grit) using a sanding block on the large flat areas. Do not sand off all of the polyurethane Spraycoat. Let dry, sand and spraycoat until you have applied 4 or 5 coats. Always sand between coats with 200 grit for the ultimate finish. For the last coat, spray a rather heavy coat over the entire toy and let it dry in a dust free environment. You can use 400 grit sandpaper after the last coat and wet sand the toy to remove any blemishes. Use a wet sand sandpaper that is for sanding automobile finishes. For a super fine shine use auto rubbing compound after the paint is bone dry.
Color Finish: Step One: You can first paint the toy the colors you desire with a brush using non-toxic Crafts Acrylic Paints found at hobby stores. You can obtain a gloss coat by repeating the steps above for a clear finish. Step Two: Paint the toy the colors of your choice. Step Three: Lightly sand the colors to remove the wood fuzz and burrs. Touch up the colors where necessary, let dry, then sand lightly with fine sandpaper.
Spray-on Gloss Color Finish:
All Krylon spray paints in the Home Improvement, Hobby and Hardware stores are non-toxic. In fact, all finishes you can buy at retail in the USA are non-toxic when cured. It is a federal law that controls this. With Krylon, use their white primer to give the toy the first 3 coats. Let each coat dry thoroughly. Sand lightly between coats with very fine sandpaper. Using the color of your choice, finish the toy with 3 or 4 coats. Use auto detailer’s masking tape for masking off details for multiple color schemes. This type of tape does not allow the paint to bleed under the tape. You can buy it at Auto shops or Auto paint suppliers. Some hardware stores also carry it. Let each coat dry thoroughly and sand with 400 grit sandpaper to remove blemishes. You can use rubbing compound for a mirror finish on the last coat.
Amber Dusick has a great toy finishing video. I have also posted it below. She has developed pro methods for easy and safe color and natural finishes. It is informative and I think there's a lot to learn a lot from watching it.
If you have any additional questions, feel free to send us an email. Happy Toymaking!