Handmade Wooden Toys - DIY vs. GENUINE
This is a guest blog from Caris - also known as @little_smiths_play on Instagram. Go check out her awesome feed. Caris constantly surprises us with her inspiring ideas and DO IT YOURSELF hacks. Caris and her husband recently built a Large Stepped Pyramid by themselves. Today she is talking about handmade wooden toys, why she loves DIY but still ends up investing in the original Grimm's Wooden Toys.
Handmade Wooden Toys - DIY vs. GENUINE
“How could you spend 100 AUD on some planks of wood?” my husband asked late one night when I showed him the Grimm's Building Boards from Oskar's Wooden Ark. We had the Grimm's Large Rainbow and I was desperately trying to convince him that we needed the Grimm's Building Boards and Grimm's Semi-Circles to really make it worthwhile. I showed him the ball runs, the epic towers and all the amazing pictures. His instant response:
“No way, I’ll go to Bunnings and make them this weekend”
So we did, and hey, they worked. We have played with them most days since Christmas. We’ve made ball runs, built roads, towers, houses, airports and fire stations. They are gloriously open ended and we love them. Today I wanted to share with you our four main reasons why we still ended up purchasing the genuine Grimm's Building Boards and Semi Circles from Oskar's Wooden Ark.
Why do we still buy the original Grimm's Wooden Toys?
The DIY Building Boards and Semi Circles are slippery. There’s no other way to describe it. They’re very smooth and slippery and this isn’t great for building. Structurally they are fine but when you start building complex structures or you’re trying to replicate ball runs seen on Instagram it can prove really tricky. The best way to show you this is with a video – take a look at how slippery our DIY boards are in comparison to the genuine Grimm's ones. The Grimm's items have a velvety surface because of their unique colour glaze technique, this means they are easier to build with.
Likewise, our dimensions aren’t precise, so our Building Boards and Semi Circles are slightly narrower and thinner than the genuine ones – and although it doesn’t affect use, you do really start to notice it when you build ball runs and big structures. Take a look at the pictures below to see what I mean.
We cut our DIY Building Boards and semi circles by tracing and measuring the size from the rainbow. And because we’re not professionals the plywood has splinters and imperfections, and the Semi Circles aren’t perfectly rounded. We also don’t have a router so the edges are quite sharp and although sanded, the corners are quite pointy. Although none of this affects the use, it’s something we didn’t really consider and makes them not as lovely to handle and use. Take a look at the pictures below to see what I mean.
When you initially look at the items, they seem quite expensive. We’ve since made a DIY Large Stepped Pyramid and this really made us acknowledge that the items are appropriately priced. It cost us about $80 in materials, including the base plate and we probably spent 6 hours making it – this is just the cutting and sanding time and we didn’t even paint it! Now consider that Grimm's make the item, from sustainably sourced wood, each piece is dipped by hand into the non-toxic colour stain, the company pays appropriate wages to their staff, and it’s freighted to the other side of the world. I’d say the price is actually quite appropriate.
So will I try to make other items the DIY way? Probably. Will we end up buying more genuine items? Most certainly.
For us, DIYs are an affordable way to see if we use and appreciate a toy before investing in the genuine item. You can’t really compare them however, as the genuine items are worlds apart in terms of quality - they are simply superior in all senses of the word. They are perfectly sized, finished and colored in a way that no one can replicate at home. When I consider the money I’ve spent on age-specific plastic toys which my son has already outgrown, I now willingly purchase the genuine item with the knowledge that they are open ended items which can be used for all ages for years to come.
And honestly, hubby was cutting the semi-circles with the plywood resting on an armchair on our back patio. He almost cut the arm rest in half and there’s now a mark on it. So at least I know a genuine item won’t also cost me the price of an outdoor setting.
Caris - @little_smiths_play
Oskar's Wooden Ark is stocking Grimm's Wooden Toys
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