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Eco-friendly toys you can buy this Christmas

This holiday season, parents will flock to stores to buy all types of gifts for their children. We’ve all seen the videos of parents fighting over the hottest new figurine or doll. This year, shirk the plastic type toys and instead invest in some wooden toys and other eco-friendly toys. I will give you several options for eco-friendly toys you can buy this Christmas.

In this post I give you ideas on eco-friendly toys you can buy this Christmas! And you can use those not only for X-mas. Eco-friendly toys for any ocasion! From wooden toys to subscription boxes. Protect our environment by gifting thoughtful and environmental friendly!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything using them, I may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you. I only provide links to products of which I think they are useful to you and I try to link to eco-friendly products at the same time. For more information please read my disclosure & privacy policy.

Wooden toys

Wooden toys were the first type of toys kids knew. Dads would whittle a piece of wood to create toys in the shapes of animals, wooden dolls, puppets on strings, and toy cars. Kids would play for hours with these toys. Once the kids outgrew them, they could be passed on to younger kids.

Wooden toys have not lost their luster or durability but they have been passed over for the more colorful plastic types that talk and move. When kids are young, the one thing they have is their imagination. Wooden toys inspire the use of the imagination during play.

Wooden toys are also environmentally friendly. Many are used in their natural wooden state. Paints used on eco-friendly toys are non-toxic and safe for kids. You can argue about trees getting cut down for the production of those toys, but many companies plant at least 2 new trees for each they cut down. So, if you look for companies doing that, there is no problem.

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Why wood instead of plastic?

When other toys are broken or the kids get tired of them, they are thrown away. Each year something new will replace the old favorite and they will no longer like it as much. In a landfill, those toys just sit and take up space.

Even worse: lots of toys that are thrown away still have their batteries inside. Toys filled with harmful substances still contain them when they are disposed of. These chemicals can be released into the ground as the housings break down. This poses a potential hazard.

When wooden toys are broken, they can be fixed. If you know someone good with their hands, they can fix it for you. The point is that you don’t have to throw them away. Wooden toys you can pass down from generation to generation.

They maintain their shape and if scratched, the imperfection can be sanded out. Wooden toys hold together better than modern toys created on an assembly line. Small parts that break off of new toys can choke a young child.

If wooden toys are old and no longer usable, they can be disposed of. Because they are made of natural wood, you can chop them up and use them in compost. Colored wooden toys can’t be used for that, but maybe someone can  refurbish and donate them to local charitable organizations.

Introduce kids to wooden toys when they are young. Puzzles come in wooden and paper shapes instead of plastic. Most wooden toys have rounded edges so they are safer to play with and handle. Even if they gnaw on wood it won’t hurt them.

Choose wooden toys for the young’uns. They are environmentally friendly, safe for young children, durable, and repairable if they are damaged.

Other eco-friendly toys you can buy this Christmas

Subscription boxes give a lasting fun experience, not only on Christmas. There are many choices depending on the interests of your child. I will give you a few options here which I really like.

In this post I give you ideas on eco-friendly toys you can buy this Christmas! And you can use those not only for X-mas. Eco-friendly toys for any ocasion! From wooden toys to subscription boxes. Protect our environment by gifting thoughtful and environmental friendly!

More eco-friendly options

At Natural Collection you can find many eco-friendly toys for babies, kids and toddlers. Apart from wooden toys, they sell as well plastic toys made from recycled plastic, so you can buy those without feeling guilty.

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Then books are always a great present as they last longer than just a day. The most eco-friendly way here would be to buy used books or go to a book bank where you can swap books. Don´t have one in the neighbourhood? Why not start one?

If you are looking for eco-friendly finger paint and dough for your kids, then you can find those at EarthEasy along with many other options. My son is out of the age for those, but I am sure he will love the power house kit 🙂

Last I want to recommend instead of eco-friendly toys as Christmas present: giving experiences! A special day out to somewhere they like or would like to go to in form of a voucher will make kids happy and gives them something to look forward to. I know this is not for very small children, but from a certain age on they will love this gift. A day pony riding, a visit to a bigger park, museum… You know your kids best and I am sure you find the right idea. My son wants to try archery and there is a place not too far away we could go.

I hope you have found lots of ideas of eco-friendly toys you can buy this Christmas. Let me know which ones you are getting 🙂

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You might also enjoy reading: 10 good reasons to start going green, 25 ways to protect our environment on a budget, Green living & feeling guilty, How to teach your kids the importance of green living and Gardening tools for your eco-friendly garden.

In this post I give you ideas on eco-friendly toys you can buy this Christmas! And you can use those not only for X-mas. Eco-friendly toys for any ocasion! From wooden toys to subscription boxes. Protect our environment by gifting thoughtful and environmental friendly!

Make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids

Unbelievable that it´s soon Halloween again! Today I am showing you how to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids.

I don´t know about you, but I love Halloween even though for us it´s an imported holiday! Before the best time of the year used to be carnival. Everyone get´s dressed up, is in a good mood and we kids got tons of sweets. It´s a whole week of fun, normally starting with the women having their day, storming the town halls and taking over the regime. If you ever go to Germany on carnival Thursday as a man: do not wear a good tie, because it will be cut off! Men usually wear either their oldest ties or the ones they got as a present and don´t like at all. 🙂 The same day, we kids went from house to house singing and getting our bags filled with sweets. Then there are the street parades where they throw sweets, flowers for the women and some hand out hot red wine to the adults to warm up…

Then I moved to Spain and carnival here is totally different. Here it´s more like you see it on TV from Rio. It´s warmer, people can show more skin when dressing up and the only ones dancing are the ones taking part in the parade. And no sweets, they throw confetti instead. At least confetti doesn´t hurt when you get it on your head… But here, through a lot of British residents, Halloween get´s celebrated. And when my son started pre-school we got dressed up and joined others to go through the streets…

Back to subject. I didn´t want to write about carnival and Halloween, but how you can make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids!

Make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial

* Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything using them, I may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you. I only provide links to products of which I think they are useful to you and I try to link to eco-friendly products at the same time. For more information please read my disclosure & privacy policy.

What´s needed:

  • A wooden slat (if possible reclaimed), big enough for you to write and decorate;
  • Sandpaper;
  • Wood stain dark; use one that is safe for earth and pets (like this one), I used Teak;
  • Acrylic paint: Black, red, white and green;
  • An old piece of cloth and gloves;
  • A piece of white chalk; optional
  • Artist brushes;
  • A few bits of inlet of an old cushion or cotton wool;
  • Liquid glue or glue gun and glue;
  • 2 screws, if your slat doesn´t have nails in like mine and
  • String or cable.
  • Optional to hang it outside: clear wood sealant.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids – step by step

I found this lovely, but very dirty piece by the bins and decided to take it home. We wanted to make some Halloween decorations for this year anyway, so this was ideal.

Looking at the slat, it had nails in which looked quite nice from the front, so I decided to just hammer them down instead of taking them out. This way, there was no need to put screws in at the back either and I could use the nails to attach the cable.

My piece was extremely dirty, so I had to give it an extremely good rub down. Even if your wood looks much better, still sand it and then clean all the dust off before starting with the next step.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - wood

I wanted to try something new with this sign, so I got an old cloth, the wood stain and the black acrylic paint out and covered the table with an old bed sheet. Next, I put some of the paint into a big bottle top, dipped the cloth into the stain and then into the paint.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - painting method

Now apply both with the cloth onto the wood in a circular motion. This way, you get an uneven coat of the colours over the wood you couldn´t achieve with a paint brush, which makes it look much better. Best, If you use a glove while doing this! I don´t like gloves, so I had stains under my fingernails for a few days after… 🙂

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - varnished

One other good side effect of this painting technique is that you don´t have to wait too long until you can continue, so your Halloween sign can be done in a day. Take the piece of chalk and pre-write the word Halloween to see if you are happy with the way it looks.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - chalk writing

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Then go over the chalk with the red paint. Apply at least 2 to 3 coats. The shaky lines make it look a bit more spooky.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - writing first coat

The decorating is totally down to your own and your kids imagination. We decided to add red scratch marks, green eyes and black bats. Last add the white lines to make everything stand out more and add a 3D effect.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - bat

Before we added the smaller details, I took out the inlet of an old cushion that I stored to make a new cushion one day or maybe use for padding furniture. If you don´t have any, just go in the bathroom and get out your cotton wool. I took a few pieces, spread them and then glued them onto the wood. We used normal glue, as this way my son could glue them hisself. Plus, It´s staying inside, so it was not important that it will stick for extremely long. If you have and want to put it outside, better use a hot glue gun.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - spider web

Staying with this: if you want your sign to be outside, do the above step last! Once you are happy with the painting and the details, then apply a coat of the sealant. Let everything dry and then add the “spider webs”.

You are nearly there! 🙂

The only thing left now is to screw the screws into the back, attach the string and hang it up! Voila: you have just managed to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - finished

If you have enjoyed reading “Homemade shower gel for super soft and healthy skin” or know someone who might be interested in this subject: Please share this post! Thank you 🙂

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial

Interested in getting regular updates on DIY and recycling projects, plus posts on help protecting our environment? Sign up for my newsletter and receive a FREE pdf 15 tips on starting a greener life.

You might also be interested in our Boy´s room Minecraft makeover or my DIY mosquito repelling deodorantCoasters made from bottle topsand How to teach your kids the importance of green living.

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part I

* Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything using them, I may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you. I only provide links to products of which I think they are useful to you and I try to link to eco-friendly products at the same time. For more information please read my disclosure & privacy policy.

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part 1; In this part I show you how to make your own Creeper lamp and Minecraft shelf

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part I

My son LOVES Minecraft and anything to do with it… That´s why we decided to give his room a Minecraft makeover.

It all started when my mum found a picture on Pinterest of a Minecraft crochet blanket. Unfortunately it was one of those that lead to absolutely nothing… One was leading to Google search from where it was leading us back to Pinterest. So my mum, brilliant as she is with anything knitting and crochet, decided to give it a try anyway. She made all the squares needed and laid them out in the order she thought looked best… but her grandson walked in and started to reorder them all straight away :o) Seeing that is was his, it stayed like that, so if you find it looking a bit odd with most red pieces together, blame my son :o)

I will have to get my mum to sit down with me and write down instructions on how to do the blanket… This will be Part II then. Same counts for the TNT cushion and the Enderman. And maybe some more things that we might have added until then. Curtains will be on part 2 as well, but they are not finished yet.

Now in summer I am extremely busy in my day job, so part 2 will most likely come in September. I will try to have it up sooner, if possible.

When my mum finished the blanket and the cushion, we started emptying the bedroom, because we wanted to change the position of the bed as well. For this, I took one of his shelves off as well. I wanted to apply a coat of clear paint to the top as it was terrible to dust… Here the idea was born of us painting the shelf together in a Minecraft theme. My son chose the creeper, the TNT, the diamond blocks and originally wanted a diamond sword and axe, but there wasn´t enough space left, so we changed it to parts of obsidian blocks.

But before we got to paint the shelf, we stumbled over a green light in a charity shop. Me and my mum straight away had the idea to make a creeper lamp!

How to make a creeper lamp yourself

You need:

  • an old lamp, best with a green base. If not, you can easily paint it.
  • green fabric,
  • black felt fabric,
  • needles,
  • hem tape and
  • an iron

Instructions:

Try and find some green fabric as leftover or maybe you have got some at home you can re-use/re-purpose… I get smaller bits of fabric often from the local market. There is one store selling curtain fabrics with a corner of “leftovers”. I think it is a very good idea, specially if you don´t need meters of it.

Wrap the green fabric around the lamp shade to measure how much you need and place the needles so you know where to cut if you have too much. Dont worry, if it overhangs at the bottom.

Now take the ham tape, measure the length you need to fold the top and bottom over, so they look good, and cut it. Next measure the height.

Lay the green cloth out in front of you and cut the squares you need for the creeper from the black felt fabric. Once cut, place them onto the green fabric, cut hem tape for the squares and warm up your iron according to the instructions of the tape. “Glue” the squares on, then do the top and bottom rim before closing the green cloth.

Once closed, all you need to do is pull it over the lamp shade and you got your own creeper lamp!

Pretty easy, wasn´t it? Plus, it looks great!

Next, I explain to you, how my son and I created the shelf for his Minecraft room.

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part 1 Creeper lamp

Minecraft shelf

Now, you might have wondered, why we painted the bottom of the shelf and not the top. Painting the bottom seems outright crazy, doesn´t it?

The shelf is hanging pretty high in the bedroom and painting the top, nobody would have seen it. Plus, shelves normally are filled on the top. That´s why we decided to paint the underneath and showcase our work to everyone entering the room.

What you need:

  • Wooden shelf (Maybe you already have one in the room you can use or one stored away?),
  • Acrylic paint (colours depending on motives you choose), here is a set, if you don´t have any at home
  • Flat 3 inch (80 cm) paint brush,
  • Flat artist brush for the squares,
  • Ruler,
  • Soft pencil,
  • Clear sealant (I have linked to a water based eco-friendly, kids safe version here because I think, it is all round the best option)

Instructions

To start off, measure the width and length of your shelf and mark the middle lengthwise with a little dot. Now you can calculate how many squares you can paint onto the shelf. In our case it was 4 full squares and I decided, it would look better to have 2 small bits instead of 1 odd bit. Draw lines to mark your squares, but don´t press too hard with the pencil or the line will show through.

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part 1 Minecraft shelf Step 1

Next decide what Minecraft characters and/or blocks you want to paint. It´s up to you, if you want to paint everything yourself or want to get your kid/s involved further than the decision on what to paint. I can only tell you that we had a lot of fun together and the excitement of putting it up was much bigger for both of us.

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First paint the base colour of your squares. We started with 2 coats of the bright blue, white and green. Then we painted the red for the TNT and then the black for the letters, the creeper and the obsidian. Here it´s up to you, if you want the base shining through a bit or if you paint 2 coats. Remember to wait a little before applying a second coat and other colours on top.

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part 1 Minecraft shelf Step 2

Our lines are not totally straight and the letters are a bit off-center, but that´s okay. At least you can see that we done it together and I didn´t expect perfection.

Don´t forget to clean out your brushes when starting a new colour.

Last, we painted the dark blue and grey squares, although we started some dark blue squares before, but I recommend you to first finish the black. We didn´t have grey, so I mixed it. Looking at the pictures, I should have used a bit more white as the grey doesn´t really show on them… With the squares, remember that in the game they are not totally even and more shades than we paint. So try to go thicker and thinner with your coats in places. This seems to be easier for a kid than for an adult… ;o)

Once you finished the little squares, let all the paint dry and apply the sealant.

When the sealant is dry, you can put it up and start enjoying it.

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part 1 Minecraft shelf finished

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. Feel free to upload your own Minecraft versions either in the comments or send me a picture by email (tjalva tjalvasdiy.com). I would love to see them!

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Interested in getting regular updates on DIY and recycling projects, plus posts on helping to protect our environment? Sign up for my Newsletter and download my FREE pdf 15 tips on starting a greener life.

You might also be interested in: DVD-Shelves made from pallets, Coasters made from bottle tops or my doormat from plastic bags.

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part 1; In this part I show you how to make your own Creeper lamp and Minecraft shelf

Father’s day present tutorial

Father´s day tutorial - How to turn an old shelf into a sign; step by step instructions

How to make a sign for father´s day

Originally I wanted to make this sign as father´s day present from pallet wood. But one day an old shelf suddenly appeared next to my pallets! My husband had brought it home for me from one of his jobs.

It was slightly bend, so not good enough anymore as shelf, but still perfect to make his father’s day present:)

What you need:

– a piece of wood (80 cm x 30 cm / ~ 31.5″ x 11.81″),

– 2 pieces of wood or bottom planks of a pallet (15 cm x 7 cm / ~ 5.9″ x 2.76″),

– sand paper,

– drill,

– screws,

– 2 hooks,

– small nails and a hammer,

– a candle or tea light,

– acrylic paint (my son chose red as the base and a dark green for the writing as they are his favourite colours at the moment),

– paint brush or roller and an artist brush.

– You might need a smaller artist brush for some corrections on the writing and a soft pencil and a rubber if you are not sure on the writing… Plus, if you do it like me, you might need a saw to cut the wood to the right length.

My first step was to grab a soft pencil and to roughly write out the words to see how long the board had to be.

Next, I cut it and as well 3 pieces of my half-used pallet. In the end I only used 2, but I still had my original idea in my head which would have needed 3…

This is, if you don´t have the wood in the right measurements. If you do, just follow the steps from here:

Place the 2 pieces on the back of the board centering them widthwise and at about 4 cm (~ 1.57″) from the edges.

Carefully drill two holes through them and a little bit into the board as well. Now you can screw them on. I use a normal screwdriver, but for the electrical fans under you: you can use an electrical screwdriver as well…

Place the hooks into their place and nail them on. My son wanted to do this, so I just hammered the nails in until he wouldn´t have to hold them. Seeing that he is only 7, I had to take the hammer off him a couple of times to straighten the nails back up. As you might see on the photo, I reacted too late on one nail, so we just flattened it…

Father´s day tutorial - How to turn an old shelf into a sign

Rub the wood down with sandpaper and clean it, ready for painting. To give the sign a used and old look, rub a candle or tea light along the edges and places which would be worn most likely. In the photo you see how I applied it on the bottom and the corners.

Father´s day tutorial - How to turn an old shelf into a sign; example of candle wax use on shelf

Now you can start painting your base colour. My son decided to use the roller instead of a paint brush and seeing that we didn´t have a tray, we applied the paint straight onto the roller and then he worked it in… this gave a slightly uneven coat of paint, which worked with the idea of making it look “old”.

Father´s day tutorial - How to turn an old shelf into a sign; base coat applied

If you are unsure with the writing, skip the next step and leave it until the end.

When the paint is dry, lightly rub the shelf down in the places you applied the wax.

Father´s day tutorial - How to turn an old shelf into a sign; second last step, rubbing off the wax

I would recommend you to do the next step free-handed. Trust in your abilities. If you are too unsure, use a soft pencil and very softly write the letters.

Write your message with the artist brush. When I finished writing, my son insisted, that I put both of our initials on the bottom to add our signature.

Let the paint dry and make little corrections with the small artist brush, if needed. Depending on your colours you might have to repeat this step a few times. I had closed one of the e´s, so had to “make a hole” in it again…

In case that you are not happy at all with your writing, just let the paint dry, paint all over it with the bottom colour and start again once dry.

If you have used the pencil, take a rubber to rub off any pencil marks that can still be seen.

Rub off the wax, if you haven´t in the step before the writing…

Your unique father´s day present is finished!

Father´s day tutorial - How to turn an old shelf into a sign; finished sign

Feel free to share your own version in the comments or simply email them to me: tjalva tjalvasdiy.com

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You might also be interested in the Upcycled mother’s day present tutorial or in the DVD-shelves I made from a pallet

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Father´s day tutorial - How to turn an old shelf into a sign; step by step instructions

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