Y'all! I have had so many requests for a tutorial on the Wood Baby Gyms my husband and I have been making! So I finally sat down and wrote out all the details. Here are the plans, supply list and everything you need to make one!
- 1x2 Pine Board - 8 ft.
- 3/4" Pine Wood Dowel
- 1/4" Pine Wood Dowel
- Wood Beads - variety of colors, shapes and sizes
- Wood Rings - 2"
- Wood Shape Cut Outs - optional
- Paint in color of your choice - low VOC/baby safe
- Leather String/Rope in color of your choice
- Masking Tape
- Sand Paper Discs
- Table Saw
- Electric Sander
- Power Drill
- 3/4" Drill Bit
- 1/4" Drill Bit
- Sewing Needle
- Paint Brush - Foam or Bristle
Here's a huge list of bead options, both neutral and colored!
Ok, so there's not really a particular order you have to make this in. After making several of these and trying a few different approaches, I've found that it makes no difference where you start. So let's begin with the hanging wood toys!
These are so fun and fairly simple to make! The possibilities are endless and you can really do anything you want with them. Add pops of color (with beads like these) or keep them neutral (with beads like these and these). Use only wood beads or add some fun wood shapes and tassels. So many options!
The Toy Strands
- Alternate bead sizes (and colors if using a variety) on each strand
- Be sure your knots above and below beads are pulled tight so you don't have gaps in the strands
- Make sure all beads, tassels and wood shapes are completely secure so baby can't pull them off
You can adjust the measurements to make the gym a different size for your baby if you'd like, but based on the measurements in this post you want each of the four stands of toys to be about 11" long (including the ring at the top). I like to start by laying out the pattern of beads, tassels, shapes and whatever else I am using to make sure each toy strand is about 11" long and that they will look good next to each other.
The first one I usually make is the one with two wood rings, one about halfway down and a cactus on the end. Cut a piece of yarn about 15" long then fold it in half to double it up. Put the loop side of the yarn through one of the wood rings (like these) and pull the loose ends over and through as shown in the picture below. You should now have a loop tied around the wood ring with two yarn ends hanging down.
Using a sewing needle large enough to fit the yarn ends through the eye, string on four to five of your beads (depending on the size). Once the beads are on loop the loose ends through another wood ring and tie a knot between the top of that ring and the bottom of the last bead as shown below, being sure to pull it tight so there isn't a gap. Secure the knot with two more knots on top of it. Trim off the excess yarn.
Cut another piece of yarn about 15" long and fold it in half to double it up. Repeat the process of looping the yarn at the bottom of the ring like you did for the top ring. Thread your needle onto the loose ends of yarn and add two to three more beads. This next step will vary depending on the size of your needle and the hole in the wood shape (if you are using one). For mine, I had to use a smaller needle with thread tied around the yarn to pull the yarn through the cactus hole. In retrospect I would have just had my hubby drill a bigger hole in the cactus haha! But it was still doable. Secure the cactus or wood shape with a knot pulled tight followed by two more knots. Cut off the excess yarn. This completes your first toy strand!
For the next strand I wanted to do a tassel at the end. I started the strand like the last one but looped a 25" piece of yarn (instead of 15") through a wood ring with the ends hanging loose. I then used my needle and yarn to thread on about eight beads. Use this tutorial to make a yarn tassel in the color of your choice. Then attach it to the bottom of your strand with three tight knots. Trim off the excess yarn.
The next strand is pretty straight forward. Begin the same way as the others by looping a 30" piece of yarn doubled up over and through a wood ring. Use your needle to thread about nine to ten different beads onto the yarn. Slide another wood ring up over the beads then thread on a large wood bead (about 1.5 - 2" or big enough that the ring won't go over it). Thread on one or two more small beads depending on how long it will make your strand. Secure in place with three knots. Trim off excess yarn.
For the last toy strand loop a 25" piece of yarn through a wood ring then use your needle to thread about ten various beads onto the yarn. Then thread on another wood shape (hexagon) the same way you did the first (cactus), securing with three knots. Trim off excess yarn. You're done with your toy strands!!
Start by measuring and marking 28" in length on your 3/4" dowel. Use a table saw to cut straight through the dowel along the mark.
Measure and mark 2.5" in length on your 1/4" dowel. Use a table saw to cut straight through the dowel along the mark. Repeat three times so you have four 2.5" pieces.
For the legs, cut your 1x2 board into four 23.5" pieces. From the outside point of each leg, draw a line that is 28 degrees. Then angle the miter gauge on your table saw to 28 degrees and cut along the drawn line.
Next, measure 4" inches down from the straight end of each leg and draw a line as shown below. Find the center of the board (width wise) and draw a dot along the line you marked.
Using a power drill, place the tip of a 3/4" drill bit on the dot and proceed to drill a circular hole through each of the legs as shown below.
To make the holes for the small 1/4" pieces to slide into, measure and mark the ends of the 3/4" dowel at 1 7/8" and 3 5/8" with a dot along a straight line as shown below.
Now that most of the cutting and drilling is done, it's time to sand! You want to make sure that you do a good job sanding and get all of the pieces really smooth so that it isn't rough for baby. Sand everything with 120 grit first then finish it with 220 grit.
After you've sanded everything, it's time to paint! This step is totally optional, but I feel like it definitely adds a fun little pop of color. I chose to paint part of the legs white on all of the gyms we made, but you really can choose any color! Start by deciding how far up on the legs you want your paint to go.
Next, measure and mark a line across the leg (width wise) where you want your color to come to. I did about 8" up (measured from the longer side of the angled end). Repeat this step for all four legs.
Then place a piece of tape across that line on the upper part of the leg as shown below. Repeat this step for all four legs.
Once all of the legs are taped, use a brush to paint 2-3 coats of paint on each leg (letting each coat dry completely before applying the next). After the final coat has dried, remove the tape.
To assemble, slide the 3/4" dowel though the the holes on two of the legs making sure the bottom slanted edges of each leg touch the ground correctly when opened up. Secure them in place by inserting two of the 2.5" dowels into the holes on either side as shown below.
Slide your toy strands onto the 3/4" dowel then repeat the first step to put the remaining two legs on.
The final step is to drill holes and attach the little leather straps that prevent the legs from sliding open to far. It's personal preference on where to put the holes and the strap, but we did ours about 2" above the paint line. Be sure to measure and mark each of the four legs similarly so the straps are straight and even on each side of your gym. Measure your desired length above the paint line and draw a line at that height that goes the width of the leg. Measure and place a dot in the middle of that line. Use a 1/4" or slightly smaller drill bit to drill a hole on the dot you marked as shown below.
This part is a bit tricky to explain so bear with me. Once your holes are drilled, feed the leather string through the outside of the hole on the outside leg. Then feed it through the inside of the inside leg so that the string is on the inside of one leg and the outside of the other as shown below.
Open the legs to the desired widest width (angle of legs should be flat on the ground) and secure the leather strap in place by tying one or two knots as shown below.
If you made it to the end, your wood baby gym is now complete!! Good job! Feel free to share and tag us on Instagram using #lexilatelybabygym. Happy Friday y'all!
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