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.
And a DIY wooden play gym seemed like it would be too much work for this pregnant mama.
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 the Ikea baby gym is wood, which I wanted, has a nice clean shape, which I liked, and I just so happened to come across one on the classified section of my local 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 need a lot of contrast, such as 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. This isn’t a project for the faint of heart.
But if you want to make your own DIY wooden play gym, read on for the full DIY tutorial.
You Will Need:
- Ikea Leka play gym
- natural cotton macrame cord
- black and white non toxic, zero VOC paint
- fine grit sand paper
- Start by unscrewing the strings that hold the hanging toys together.
- Unscrew the base pieces from the main piece (not necessary if the play gym hasn’t yet been assembled).
- If desired, remove the spinning plastic toys from either side of the main piece. (I tried, unsuccessfully, for a very long time to remove these. Finally 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. I had planned on painting these and reattaching them, but the removal process did a bit of damage to them, so into the trash they went.)
- Lay out the pieces and paint 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.
- Once everything is painted and dried, reattach the base piece to the main piece using the instructions included with the play gym.
- Using natural cotton macrame cord, reattach the hanging toys. (I used a simple overhand knot, which is very secure)
It may have taken me about 10 times longer than I had anticipated, but didn’t this DIY wooden play gym turn out beautifully?
I especially love that it fits in with the decor of our baby’s nursery (which is just a corner of our bedroom!)
Another Ikea Hack for the win!
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