Toddler Puzzles

I opened up orders for a recent project and they are flying out the door. This is the first set of 9 that I did with more orders coming in now. A super simple project that is easy to batch out.

Cut out of 1/8" Baltic Birch plywood. Added tabs after a letter popped out and got ruined.

Organized all the letters next to the color that they will be painted.

Post glue up to backing boards

Engraved my signature and year into the back of each by scanning my signature and using Easel to convert the image to linework.

The two finishes I’m doing. Stained with Dark Walnut for the prototype for my daughter and all the others finished with Tung Oil


pretty cool idea!

what do you sell one of these for? What is the overall rectangle size? Do you just cut the letters out with a 1/16" end mill and glue that to another piece of plywood? They look great!

@Winters636 I price these at $20-$30 depending on the length of the name. From a full sheet of 1/8" piece of Baltic Birch ($14ish) I can get approximately 27 completed puzzles. Height is 5" tall, length is dependent on the length of name. Process is the following

  1. Cut out the letters with a 1/32" bit with tabs (approx 14-20 min with recommended settings in Easel)
  2. Cut the letters out of the piece using a utility knife
  3. Sand the backing
  4. Glue the front to a blank backing to the backing
  5. Route an 1/8" roundover onto the face of the backing
  6. Sand everything
  7. Finish the puzzle with tung oil
  8. Paint the letters the requested colors

It is best to batch these out as much as possible because the time in which the X-Carve is cutting the next puzzle is best used sanding and gluing the previous one.


Thanks for the details. I am planning on making some of these for Christmas gifts. Do you just get your 1/8" plywood from your local big box store?

@Winters636 no, I have a local hardwood dealer that I purchase from. Kencraft in Toledo, Ohio. They do online ordering as well.

Last question, do you think you could cut these out with a 1/16" bit or would that leave too much play in between the letters and the backing?

1/16” bit would be too big

I did a video on the puzzles. What you did was awesome.

@PhillipLunsford great video! I noticed it was posted today, was it based on this post or something you had in the works before hand?

@ShaneJamerson. This project was planned for after Thanksgiving but your project and the questions people asked made me move it up on my schedule. Thank you for posting your project. It looks awesome!

I just have to say this as a parent of two toddlers. Most plywood is not safe if chewed on. The same goes for any paint you’d find in a hardware store. I wouldn’t give these to families with children that still put everything in their mouths.
I know… “Things were different when I was a kid and I turned out fine” and some of you probably snack on lead. I’ll let my kids take risks jumping off the couch or climbing a tree, but I see no reason to expose them to unnecessary chemicals when it can be avoided.
There are hardwoods that are very safe and there are paints made for children’s toys.
Sorry for the PSA… Just felt it had to be said.


Look for the “AP” label on art paints, which signifies the paint is an “Approved Product” and certified non-toxic by the Art and Creative Materials Institute. Art paint labeled “CL” for “Caution Label” is not appropriate for young children. Also Real Milk Paint is the safest, also while more expensive, solid pieces of untreated apple, aspen, poplar or ash are much better, just saying


Long time ago when I made a couple of name signs like that with scroll saw, I used food paint for color and shellac for finish. But those were puzzles made to be handled by kids. These seem like signs just to hang on doors or somewhere and not handled by kids.