Before we ever had kids, I vowed that our living room would never look like Babies R Us on crack. I truly believed (and still do!) that you can chose a few beautiful, well made toys for your babies that won’t be an eyesore in the room.
So I wasn’t going to give in to the bright, loud, and obnoxious play gym phenomenon. There are some truly gorgeous wooden play gyms available, (like this, this, and this) but most were a bit more than I wanted to spend. I had seen the Ikea Leka Play Gym a few times and it was definitely the best bang for the buck as far as wooden play gyms go. It was just a little too primary for my taste.
But it was wooden, which I wanted, a nice clean shape, which I liked, and I just so happened to come across one on the classified section of my mother’s group. I figured I could throw a little paint over the bright colors and it would be exactly what I was looking for.
My husband, who loves color, tried to talk me out of painting it. But I won him over when I reminded him that newborns can only see in black and white, so we would be helping her development by painting it. Or something like that.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of the process. Partly because I wasn’t really sure how it was going to turn out. And partly because it took forever.
I first cut the strings that held the hanging toys together. Then I unscrewed the base pieces from the main piece. So far, so good.
Then I tried, unsuccessfully, for a very long time to remove the spinning plastic toys from either side of the main piece. I asked my husband to do it for me, and after a lot of cursing and prying and sawing, he managed to get them off. (There has to be an easier way!) I had planned on painting these, too, then reattaching them, but the removal process did a bit of damage to them, so into the trash they went.
After I had the entire thing apart, I laid out the pieces and painted some of them black and some of them white using no-voc paints. It took 3-4 coats of paint since the colors were so vibrant, and it was tricky getting both sides evenly painted. Add in the drying time and I was still working on it days later.
Putting it back together was super easy. Once everything was completely dry, I reattached the base pieces to the main piece. then used some natural cotton cord to reattach the hanging toys.
It may have taken me about 10 times longer than I had anticipated, but didn’t it turn out beautifully?