You know those adorable wooden rainbow stacker toys that bloggers are displaying in playrooms these days? I really, reeeeeeally want one, but since my kids have outgrown stacker toys, I decided to make a cute little desktop version of my own! While this isn’t a large, sturdy toy that I would share with a two-year-old, it’s an adorable mini rainbow that is sure to brighten anyone’s day!
I wasn’t even sure what to call these little cuties, because they have so many potential functions! You could plant “rainbow seeds” (colorful candy), and these rainbows could “grow” just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! …Or they could be placed around the house as leprechaun bait. They might just be a fun festive craft, a cute little party favor, or some happy mail to cheer up a friend. You could also glue all the pieces together and make a garland or magnet! I will definitely be displaying one on my desk, and will stack and re-stack the layers the next time I’m procrastinating! Let’s get started,
what you need:
• Box cutter
• Cutting mat (not pictured)
• Balsa wood (1/16 x 3 x 36 in) – we found that some pieces are softer than others … select a soft one!
• Metal ruler
• Hot water
• Tiny rubber bands
• Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint Set
Measure out five ½” wide pieces of balsa wood at five different lengths (2 ¼”, 2”, 1 ¾”, 1 ½”, 1 ¼”). Although you will end up with a few scrap pieces, the easiest method is to measure all pieces to ½” x 2 ¼”, and then cut off the edge of each piece to get them down to the five required lengths. Basically, each piece is ¼” shorter than the last.
Fill a bowl with hot tap water, and allow the pieces to soak in it until the water is cool enough to get your hands wet. Once it has cooled off, begin working the shortest piece with your hands. Be patient, and gentle as you gradually mold the piece into an arch. It is easiest to slowly wrap it around your index finger using your other hand, and then as it becomes more flexible, work at wrapping it around your pinky. Once you have rounded out an arch, and it is fairly symmetrical, place it between two heavier objects (we used soda bottles) to maintain its shape.
TIP: Be sure to have a few extra pieces on hand, as you may snap a few in the process. It will get easier with practice and patience! Be sure you choose a softer piece of balsa wood. I found that one piece I purchased was a bit harder than the other, and I had a lot more issues with the pieces snapping during the bending process.
Repeat step 2 with the other four pieces of balsa wood, and place each layer over the previous layer between your two objects. Once you have completed all five arches, stack them close together, and as evenly as possible. Wrap a little rubber band around the two ends of the rainbow to hold it in place, and allow to dry completely (we let it sit overnight).
Once the rainbow is completely dry, remove the rubber bands, and carefully separate the five arches. Gently paint each arch a different color of the rainbow, and allow to dry. Stack the arches back together from smallest to largest. Place the rubber band back on the two ends, and allow it to hold the rainbow together for as long as possible (overnight if you can), and then remove the rubber band.
Now, you have your very own mini rainbow stacker! Happy crafting, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!