Looking for DIY gift ideas? These little wooden play houses are perfect for all sorts of small world play. They are so simple to make and cost a fraction to DIY compared to similar wooden houses you can buy. To finish our houses we used the amazing Tiny Land Toy Paints that use 100% natural ingredients, giving me complete piece of mind that my little one can play safely with them. Here's all you need to know to make your own set of wooden toy houses.
For the purpose of this post I was gifted these toy paints and compensated for my time. As always, all words and opinions are my own.
There are so many benefits for children who engage in small world play. In small world play kids act out scenarios from real life and use their imagination to tell stories. Small world play builds vocabulary, helps practice social skills and helps children gain an understanding of the world around them. It is also something that most kids naturally love to do!
I am a little bit small world obsessed and love setting up different scenes for my girls to play with. I'm always on the look out for new resources to add to our small world collection. I've seen so many gorgeous wooden play things recently for small world set ups, but often our toy budget can't stretch to them. So we sometimes make our own things, like these wooden mountains- another easy DIY!
DIY Wooden Toy Houses
When I planned this project I deliberately decided I wanted to keep these little houses simple. Partly I like the 'simple' look, but I also wanted to keep them as open-ended as possible. Open-ended toys are brilliant! They have multiple uses, tend to engage children for longer and get used again and again. If we give a child a toy fire station, for example, they will play with it only as a fire station. But with a little imagination these toy wooden houses could also be shops, police stations, hospitals and so on.
We were lucky enough to find the wood for these houses for free at our local builders merchant. These places often have off-cuts available that they allow you to take for free, so it's worth checking out before paying for a piece of wood. On this occasion they happened to have a couple of pieces of pine that were perfect for making these houses. Just make sure the wood you choose is thick enough that the houses will stand up easily.
Tiny Land Toy Paint
I knew I wanted to paint the roofs to add a little colour and interest to our houses and for this we used Tiny Land Toy Paint. Tiny Land make a whole range of play and art supplies all derived from natural ingredients. Their products are eco-friendly and environmentally responsible- even down to their packaging choices.
I've used regular acrylic paints in the past to paint peg people for small world play but I've always been worried about my little ones mouthing them, not knowing quite what is in the paint. So when I learned about Tiny Land Toy Paints and how they use only natural, food-grade ingredients I was so excited to give them a go.
Tiny land Toy Paints are totally safe for using on toys. They contain no acrylic or synthetic resins, no gloss or VOC's. They come in a gorgeous range of colours that you can select individually or you can choose to buy them as a set. I've got my eye on the pastel set next! The paints come concentrated which means you can decide whether to go for a solid paint look or water the paint down to see the wood grain more.
Tiny Land Toy Paint is also waterproof, which means no further finishing is needed. If you do want to add a finish over the wood, Tiny Land also make a fantastic, naturally derived sealant that we also love and use for lots of DIY projects.
What you will need
- A 1m length of wood- 100mm x 45mm or there-about
- Sand paper or sander
- A mitre saw or hand-saw
- Tiny Land Toy Paint
- Tiny Land Wood Sealant (optional)
How to Make Wooden Houses
1.Mark out your wood. We went for a variety of heights ranging from 90mm tall to 145mm tall from top to bottom. You can vary the pitch of the roof or keep them all the same. We kept ours the same at 40mm tall.
2. Use a mitre saw or hand saw to cut the houses from the piece of wood.
3. Sand the houses until smooth, using sand paper or an electric sander.
4. Water down the Tiny Land Toy Paints until you have a consistency you are happy with. I wanted a solid look so I only added a touch of water. Carefully paint the house roofs. I did two coats of paint.
Tiny Land Toy Paints are made of naturally derived ingredients and for that reason they do take some time to dry completely. Leave the houses for one or two weeks to fully cure before playing with them.
If you like, you can finish the houses with Tiny Land Wood Sealant. This is an optional step as the Tiny Land Toy Paint is waterproof on it's own, but the sealant does add a nice finish to the bare wood.
Since we made these little houses they've had lots of use in our small world set ups. I also made some pegs dolls to match. These have been great for extending their small world play and they love to match the dolls to the correct colour house!