How to Paint Wooden Toys

Woodworkers often enjoy making toys for children. When deciding how to paint wooden toys, keep in mind that toys often end up in a child's mouth. Most people know the dangers of lead paint, but many other types of paint are also toxic even if they don't contain lead. The paint and the finish also have to be durable in order to survive the hard use a much-loved wooden toy will endure.

Put painter's tape on areas of the toy that you do not want to get paint on. Cut the tape thinner if necessary, or even cut circles and other shapes in the tape to help with painting.

Paint your toy with the desired colours. Allow the paint to dry before removing the painter's tape. Place more painter's tape over the painted areas if necessary to paint the next colour. Allow the paint to dry completely once done. Remove the painter's tape.

Paint a thin coat of shellac over the entire toy. Make sure to get the shellac into any nooks or crannies. Allow it to dry for 24 hours.


Sand the toy to a smooth finish before painting to get the best finish.


Paint and shellac in a well-ventilated area. Only use acrylic paints that are rated non-toxic.

Things You'll Need

  • Non-toxic acrylic paint
  • Painter's tape
  • Paint brushes
  • Shellac
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About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.