Toy Boxes: Letting the Child be more Important than the Project

One of the hardest things as a parent can be letting a child “help” with something you are building for them.  Over the last few weeks I have put together 3 toy boxes out of scraps from the shop for my 4 youngest kids and some of them have wanted to “help” paint.  

6 Year Old Girl’s Toy Box

As a matter of fact, my 6 year old painted most of hers by herself.  I touched up a bit after she was done, but I let the paint job be hers.  Which is a little hard after being so careful with all the little details I put into it, and having visions of a fun distressed antique finish.  Gotta let it go, she’ll remember getting to help more than she would be grateful I did something amazing for her.   And it’s ok, it’s her toy box and she feels like she did a fantastic job on it.  This is her putting on some stencils.

Let’s take a look at how she did!  She chose Aqua milk Paint, a local store was selling their inventory for half price, so I stocked up.  The first photo is how much she did of the blue before giving up, keep in mind milk paint is a bit difficult to paint with, it’s a flat paint so it drags as you go.

We turned it upside down a few days later so she could paint the legs and bottom.  I just sanded everything lightly and put a clear coat of Varathane acrylic poly on it.

4 Year Old Twin’s Toy Box

I took a slightly different tack with the twin’s toy box….I let them paint a base coat of their choosing…..then snuck out the next day and tamed it down a little with a chippy top coat.

You can see their personalities in how they followed instructions.  I told the girl in pink to paint the inside panel pink ;0). And the girl in green to paint the trim green, which she did very a good job of, considering she’s 4 and was using a chip brush.  Milk paint is a good choice for little helpers, the big glops sand down pretty easy….or you leave some of them as part of the “charm.”

Green girl saw me go out to paint the next day, grabbed her container of green and was determined to help again….I side tracked her by saying she could paint anything she waned out of the scrap bin.  She took me at my word and got to work until she was out of paint.

First I added a layer of hemp oil using a rag and chip brush, let that sit for a couple hours then got the paint ready.  I added some white to the rather bright pink paint we used the day before and used an altogether different light green over the top.

On the two large pink sides, the paint really didn’t want to stick.  That’s part of the fun of using milk paint, you’re never quite sure how it’s going to react…You try to influence it, but you never know until you put it on.  The hemp oil must have been a little thicker in the places it didn’t want to stick.  I used a hair dryer and heater as it was drying to encourage chipping.

Once it was dry I just sanded it lightly to distress the edges, remove any loose paint and smooth things over a hair.  Then blew it off with the compressor and added a topcoat of Varathane acrylic poly.

7 Year Old Boy’s Toy Box

My boy was perfectly happy to choose his colors and let me paint his box!  This makes everything easier for me, and he likes it so everybody wins again!

He came out to inspect as I was getting started and we decided that we could leave the inside white since he would be putting legos in it and that would make it easier to find what he was looking for.   He wanted gray and the blue I painted his bed, can do!

Finally, he wanted some lightening on the sides.  After listing the paint I had available in the cupboard, he settled on orange.

Putting the stencil on took about 5 minutes once I had it cut.  I just used a make up sponge and with a rag to blot, dabbed it on then went back over it a second time before moving on to the next side.

Now maybe we can get some of the toys out of the living room and into these kids bedrooms!!  It’s a hope anyway ;0)

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