All posts tagged wooden puzzle

Three-into-One Monkey Puzzle

My son, Mike, mentioned something about making a couple of puzzles that could then be intertwined for a larger puzzle. Good idea! For Christmas I would give a set like that to his soon-to-be three-year-old daughter Elisabeth. I set about designing a trio of puzzles with monkeys as a theme.

The first monkey would be up a tree…

First of three monkey puzzles

First of three monkey puzzles

The second swinging…

Have a banana!

Have a banana!

and the third sitting on the ground…

Thank you

Thank you

Trio of monkeys

Trio of monkeys

I was going to use a brand of colored dyes that I bought a few years ago for these puzzles. But in researching I discovered that the company that made them is no longer in business. I hate when that happens!

So, I ended up just using watercolor tube paints that I watered down for a translucent look. The thing about using a water-based anything on the baltic birch is that it will raise the grain. Not to worry, just put it on as dry as posible and plan on giving it a light sanding before finishing. I have found that using a scrap of a brown paper shopping bag works wonders… it “sands” down the grain without taking off too much paint.

I used a black Sharpie marker to put in the details. When thoroughly dry, I sprayed with a clear gloss.

I had fun making them… I hope the kids have fun putting them together, individually or all three together.


Ladybug Puzzle

This is one of my favorite puzzles! I think it’s because the colors are so bright. I don’t know… it just makes me smile.

Bright colors, happy feet make this nine-piece puzzle fun.

I designed this one a few years ago when I gave a class on making children’s toys at a local hardware and woodworking store. I have since put it up on my website.

It was the first time I used the birch plywood and I was anxious to see how the colorful wood stains would look.

I loved the way it turned out!

When I went back to check on the availability of the wood stains I found that the company has gone out of business! Now what to do?

Because I was working with plywood I couldn’t use a lot of water to thin acrylic paint for a translucent look. After a little research I decided to try watercolors that come in tubes. With just a damp brush I could get the look I wanted, without too much water.

The only problem came when  trying to figure out which foot went where… all are slightly different. For the little ones I decided to place a matching colored dot underneath each foot on the puzzle tray with permanent markers.

Since then I have figured out how to make the dots temporary. I now use a small round white sticker with a the colored dot on it. When your child gets better at the puzzle you can just peel the sticker off!

Time to get busy making puzzles for Christmas gifts…

Keep on Smilin’

I started making children’s puzzles again. I’ve always enjoyed making them and have off and on for over twenty years.  Now I have grandkids that will be the right ages for the puzzles soon.

I’m also thinking about putting them up on Etsy. Still researching that one.

Smilin' Truck Puzzle

Smilin’ Truck Puzzle

This summer I found some puzzles I had made when working for a woodworking magazine. We never put the finishing sealer on them before taking photographs because of the glare it caused. Well I decided to finally finish them. One of my friends saw them and asked for a puzzle more suited to a three-year-boy. Since he is very into the Disney movie “Cars”, I drew my version of a happy truck.

When painting the puzzles for the magazine I always simplified it so whoever made the puzzles themselves could paint them easily. This time as I was painting I just started to add some highlights and shading to the pieces. I guess I was channeling my decorative painting days! Anyway, I really liked the way it turned out. Even though the plans on show just the color-book painting anyone can do.

I ended up making four of these truck puzzles for the holidays. It is a little more advanced for the little ones… but that’s a good thing.