There are tons of great kids toys aimed at helping young toddlers grow and mature. One of those is wooden balancing stones, which are great for teaching a child about dexterity and fine motor skills.
You can easily buy a set of wooden balancing stones online, but it’s fun to customize your own by making DIY wooden balancing stones. Here’s how.
How to make DIY wooden balancing stones
There are a couple of ways to make wooden balancing stones yourself, depending what tools you have access to. Most people will either use a belt sander or a scroll saw.
The key to making toy wooden balancing stones is to make sure that there are at lease two surfaces parallel to each other. If there isn’t at least one set of sides that are parallel, you’ll never be able to stack anything on top of them.
To make balancing gems, start with a soft wood, like basswood that can be ordered online, that can be cut and sanded easily. Cut your basswood into pieces ranging from about 2″ to 5″ in length. Then you can start to form the stones.
How to make balancing stones with a scroll saw
Remember to always use protective equipment when using a saw of any kind. Be especially careful when using a scroll saw because your hands are always very close to the blade.
When making balancing gems with a scroll saw, push your block through the saw at different angles. With each pass through the saw blade, change the angle to have surfaces cut over different surfaces.
We recommend you start by pushing a flat surface through and cutting off a large chunk. Then, work off that angle you just made to create more.
You want your stones to look as gem-like as possible, so don’t be afraid to cut a lot of angles and a lot of the block off. Simply cutting small amounts won’t look much like a stone or gem.
How to make balancing stones with a belt sander
To use a belt sander to make wooden balancing stones, hold your stone firm in your hand and press into the belt sander with good pressure and have the sander do the flattening for you.
Press at random angles to create the gem look and only stop when satisfied.
Dying wooden balancing stones to look like gems
To make your DIY wooden balancing stones look like authentic gem stones, dye them different colors to replicate actual gems.
There are plenty of colored stains that you can use and stain like you would any other woodworking project. However, you can also dye them with food coloring.
To dye wood with food coloring, mix your preferred quantity of dye drops in with vinegar and shake up in a bag. Then, add your stone to the bag and shake up to cover. Let sit and then remove to dry. End with a coat of shellac to protect them.
Wooden balancing stones are a great way to help your child have open-ended play and teach them fine motor skills. Making your own DIY version of balancing gems is a great way to get customized toys for your kids!