This easy handmade wooden baby rattle is a quick project that is sure to put a smile on any small child. I made this exact rattle for my son, and he still loves it. A wooden rattle is a traditional baby toy that has roots dating back many many years. If you have a little scrap wood in the shop, it’s an easy project that only takes a short time to complete.
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I made this project from Maple, which my son has already been exposed to. With young children, it can be difficult to know what they are allergic to at first. Knowing that my son had already been chewing on Maple toys for a while, I felt safe making him the toy.
You need to make sure that you are giving away a safe toy whenever you make something for a child. I recommend looking at what woods are already used commonly for kids toys, and checking with the parents before you make anything that you give to a baby.
This rattle measures 7″ long by 2″ wide, and is 3/4″ thick. It’s perfect size for little hands, and the larger width makes it difficult for kids to get into their mouths. My son can get the corner of the piece in there pretty good, but he can’t get the whole end in his mouth at once. I wanted to make sure that it was too big to get into his mouth all the way, which makes it a little easier for me to watch him. If the rattle is too skinny, the child can choke, and I wanted to avoid that with my son.
How to make a homemade wooden baby rattle:
Cut a piece of wood that measures 2″ wide, 7″ long, and 3/4″ thick. Then, cut the piece in half down the middle. This will give you two pieces that are 3-1/2″ long. Drill into the ends of the rattle that were cut open. I used a 3/8″ bit to remove material from the centers of the pieces, creating an opening. Then, use a chisel to trim out the cavity so it’s fairly square shaped. You can go about 2″ to 2-1/2″ deep on each end.
Before joining the pieces together, drill for several 1/8″ dowels in the corners where the faces will be glued back together. Drill about 1″ deep into each face. These dowels will help make the joint between the two pieces stronger.
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In the diagram on the left, you can see that the center pocket for the wooden baby rattle is not very large. You want to make sure that you have lots of meat around the pocket. This will ensure a larger amount of gluing surface, and a stronger joint.
The red circles are the locations for the dowels. Again, these are to help make sure that the joint between the two pieces is a strong as possible. Whenever you make something for a child, you need to go a little overboard and ensure that the structure is as strong as possible.
After you create the opening on both sides, and drill for the dowels, you are ready to begin assembling the wooden baby rattle. Do a dry run first, making sure that your dowel holes line up well, and that the pieces fit together well. If they do not, make your adjustments before adding any glue.
Drip glue into the holes and drive dowels into one side, making sure to coat them well with glue. Pour a small amount of uncooked rice into the bottom of the rattle cavity. If you fill the cavity about 20% of the way, this is a good amount of rice.
Next, trim the dowels so they will enter the other holes easily, but not be too long. Apply glue to both faces and in the holes on the piece without dowels. Make sure to keep the glue from falling into the cavity and preventing the rice from moving. Press both pieces together and clamp them to dry.
Finishing the wooden baby rattle:
After the glue has fully dried, sand the outside of the wooden baby rattle until it’s smooth all the way around. Put a radius on all the edges and corners with a router or by hand, and make sure the piece is very smooth. Finally, finish the piece with a food safe, child friendly finish. Mineral oil, beeswax, or a combination of both are commonly used on kids toys.
Again, research a little before you select a finish. I don’t know what your kids are allergic to, so I can’t recommend a finish specifically. My son has done really well with mineral oil and beeswax, so that’s what I used on my rattle.
If you have any questions on my Handmade Wooden Baby Rattle, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share this with your friends on Pinterest! Happy building.
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