A Beautiful DIY Wooden Play Gym | The Ikea Leka Hack

Don't have hundreds of dollars to spend on a beautiful wood play gym for your baby? Make this DIY wooden play gym from an Ikea Leka Play Gym - Love these Ikea Hacks!

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.

Beautiful DIY wooden play gym - Ikea Leka Play Gym Makeover

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.

Beautiful DIY wooden play gym - Ikea Leka Play Gym Hack

You Will Need:

Beautiful DIY wooden play gym - Ikea Leka Play Gym Makeover


  1. Start by unscrewing the strings that hold the hanging toys together.
  2. Unscrew the base pieces from the main piece (not necessary if the play gym hasn’t yet been assembled).
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. Once everything is painted and dried, reattach the base piece to the main piece using the instructions included with the play gym.
  6. 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!

Beautiful DIY wooden play gym - Ikea Leka Play Gym Makeover

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