Introduction: Simple Toy Truck
When my son was born one of the things I knew I wanted to do was to build him some simple wooden toys. So one day I grabbed some scrap walnut and I made this super simple toy truck. It has now been almost 2 years since I originally made this project for my son and he still uses it all the time! To say that this toy was a hit would be an understatement.
Don't forget to check out the video above and if you keep watching until the end you can see my son getting the truck for the first time, and then still playing with it almost 2 years later.
Below are links to tools and materials I used in this article. It is either the exact tool/supply or something very close.
Note: The links in this article are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Step 1: Draw the Design
First I grabbed some scrap wood (in this case some walnut I had left-over from another project, which is about 1" thick). I placed the wheels on the wood in the approximate locations that made sense for the scale of the truck I wanted. I then free hand drew a basic truck shape. You could also draw a car, van or even a duck! Whatever you want to be on wheels.
Step 2: Cut the Design Out
I took my piece over to the scroll saw and cut along the lines. This could easily be done with a bandsaw, or even a jigsaw. If you don't have any of these tools then a coping saw could work as well, it would just take longer.
Step 3: Sand
Now it was time for everyone's favourite part of the project, sanding! Because this project is so small I basically had to hand sand the entire thing. That being said I did use some small drums in my drill press to help with the radius on the "front window" area.
Because this is going to be a toy that will be held a lot, I paid a lot of attention to the edges and made sure they all felt really smooth.
Step 4: Modify the Design
After I was done sanding I looked at the design and didn't feel that the height of the truck looked right with the wheels. I decided that I should cut some of the bottom of the truck off. As I wanted it to be straight I used my handsaw. Of course after all that it needed a bit more sanding.
The important part of this step is to not be afraid to make changes to your design if things don't look quite right.
Step 5: Mark and Drill Holes for Axles
I placed the wheels on the truck where I wanted them, but I quickly realized that I didn't have a pencil small enough to mark the location of the holes. Instead I grabbed the lead from a mechanical pencil and used that instead.
I used my drill press to make the holes. A drill press is really nice because (if properly set up) it can make very straight holes. That being said, if you are careful you can also use a handheld drill.
I suggest using a drill bit one size larger than the size of the dowel. In this case I used a 13/64" drill bit as the dowel was 3/16".
I then cut two pieces dowel that were approximately 3" long. I made them oversized as I will be trimming them to the perfect size in a later step.
Step 6: Add Finish
Before gluing the wheels on I wanted to add finish (as it would otherwise be very difficult to get finish behind the wheels)
I used a mineral oil and beeswax finish. When adding finish to toys you want to make sure it is food safe as there is a good chance it will end up in someone's mouth. Both beeswax and mineral oil are edible, so I knew this would be a good finish to use.
The process is very simple, just wipe it on and then wait a bit and buff it off. This type of finish doesn't last forever, so you may need to re-coat the toy after a year or so of use.
I noticed that when I put the finish on that it would sometimes get caught in the axle holes. I used some of the dowel to push the finish out of the holes.
Step 7: Glue on Wheels
The last step is to glue on the wheels. I first started by taking an axle and putting glue on one end. I then hammered a wheel onto the axle (it was a tight fit). If you are like me and don't have a great workbench, then don't be afraid to use the floor, it is often much harder and can be used as a makeshift "anvil".
I then slipped the axle through the truck. I used a bit of cardboard to act as a spacer and to ensure glue didn't get on the truck. In order to hammer the wheel onto the axle I used a deep socket. This allowed the wheel to slip along the axel and allowed me to keep hammering. I then repeated these steps for the second axle.
Lastly I cut the excess dowel off of the axels using a handsaw.
Step 8: Enjoy!
If you watch the video at the top of the page you can see how happy my son was when we gave him this truck (and I made him a little car too) It has almost been 2 years since I originally gave it to him and he is still playing with the truck, which makes me really happy.
I hope you enjoyed this project as much as I did. If you want to see more from me, feel free to follow me on other social media
If you are inspired by this project to make your own simple toys, please share it here. I love seeing other people's completed projects.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask in the comments below.
Participated in the
Make it Move Contest 2020