Over Christmas, while I was in Michael’s, I saw this “Wooden Pull Toy” (it’s actually MDF, of course), and after exactly three seconds of deliberation, I bought it. I’m not sure why. I don’t have a thing for turtles. I don’t have a thing for MDF. I don’t even have a small child who needs something to pull. Whatever my reason, I’m glad I bought it, because for the month of February, we’ll be altering toys and giving them grown-up things to do – like hold salsa for a party or beads for your latest project!
As written, this tutorial takes less than an hour start to finish, but feel free to play with your toy as long as you like.
- “Wooden” pull toy or similar plaything
- Sanding paper or block
- Strong magnets
- Super glue
- All-purpose glue
- 7 bottle caps
- Hammer and 1 small nail
- Book, comic book, or magazine
- 1″ circle punch (optional but very helpful)
- Unbreakable bowl or plate (e.g. metal, Melamine, plastic)
- A small scrap of felt
- Craft paints in desired colors
- Other embellishments as desired
1. Grab the nearest sanding block and give your toy a brisk rub down, paying special attention to the edges and places where it would most often be handled.
2. Find images for the bottlecaps, which will go on the four wheels and over the turtle’s eyes. Save yourself a lot of cutting (and cursing) by whipping out that 1″ circle punch. If you’re unaccustomed to using punches, here’s an old trick: Turn the punch upside down for precision positioning. Three cheers for precision!
3. Glue the images into the bottle caps using your all-purpose glue.
4. Apply super glue to the back of your first bottle cap. Press the bottle cap to the wheel and HOLD for at least 20 seconds, giving each second the full one Mississippi; otherwise, the glue won’t have time to bond. (It’s highly anti-social.)
Glue the rest of the bottle caps into place on the wheels and over the eyes.
5. Grab your hammer and nail. Tap the nail through the last bottle cap, then nail the bottle cap to the turtle’s head, giving him that jaunty cap he’s always wanted.
6. Adhere magnets to the top of the pull toy and the bottom of your bowl or plate.
7. Use your craft paint to decorate your pull toy as desired. I dry brushed my edges and bits of the turtle’s shell with white, then added spots of tangerine. After the paint dried, I circled the spots with my black Zig marker.
8. Cut off the pull string and give your little guy something more festive to wear around the neck, like a ribbon or a felt scarf.
9. Add any remaining embellishments, as desired. I had a random bunny from an “Easter tree” I snagged at Goodwill, so I added the bunny for a tortoise-and-the-hare vibe. (I know, I know. It’s not a tortoise. It’s also not wooden. So much for precision.)
10. Hey, good news. Glue a bit of felt to the wheels to keep the toy from rolling away from you, and you’re done! You can seal the toy (if you like), put the bowl in place, and put this guy to work! What kind of work?
- He can sit on your desk looking cute and holding paper clips, rubber bands, or M-n-Ms.
- He can sit on your craft table looking cute and holding beads, brads, or Bingo tiles. Or M-n-Ms.
- He can even sit on your kitchen island the next time you entertain looking cute and holding salsa or French onion dip. Everyone loves a party turtle!
In the mood to play along in our February contest? Alter a toy and give it a practical purpose (following these contest rules), and feel free to heart it up if you want to make it into a Valentine’s gift! The winner of the contest will receive not only a spot on our home page in March, but also this original 6×6 collage: