Making Wooden Animal Toys for Profit

Learn how to make wooden animal toys and sell them for profit, includes tools and materials information, toy design ideas and tips on mass productions of wooden animals.

| November/December 1977

You can create your own small business by making wooden animal toys to sell at crafts fairs.

My husband and I operate a "pocketsized" woodshop in which we produce easels and small wooden blocks for children. And, like everyone else's shop, ours always seems to have a box sitting in the corner someplace . . . filled with scraps of wood that are too small to use in our regular items.

Unlike everyone else, though, I began (back in 1967) designing a line of simple animals that could be constructed from precisely the shortends and other "waste" left over from our main projects.

The animals were an immediate hit. They combine happily with blocks and other toys, they stack, they encourage creativity, and the little folks who play with them generally find them educational too. We've also been pleased to learn that parents and teachers usually consider one of the wooden figures worth a whole pile of plastic ones (there seems to be sort of an "heirloom factor" involved here somewhere).

Wooden Animals: Collect Your Tools and Raw Materials

Our little animals are so easy to make that anyone with a drill press, band saw, and sander will find them a snap. And, if you don't have that sort of equipment, there's nothing to keep you from creating the wooden critters with a simple coping saw, hand drill, and sandpaper. You'll naturally work somewhat slower but if you take care as you go, your final products should be quite respectable.

When Homer and I are turning out our regular lines, he handles the rip saw and other mechanical monsters and I do my share by running the band saw and sander. As we go along, we both set aside any scraps that are large enough for the construction of one or more of our little beasties. Experience has shown that we can even use pieces of wood that contain minor knots and small cracks. We simply fill the defects with a mixture of glue and sawdust, and the irregularities add texture to the natural look of the finished toys.

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